WIC Gardening Update - 14 November 2012

Posted 11 years, 7 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hi and As-Salaam-Alaikum

Today is World Diabetes Day. Over 208,000 New Zealanders have diabetes, with 50 more people diagnosed every day: it is an epidemic! A person has diabetes when they have too much glucose (sugar) in the blood. This happens because the body cannot make enough insulin, a chemical that helps the body turn glucose into energy. 

Your blood glucose levels are directly affected by the kind and amount of carbohydrate (starchy foods and sugar) you eat.  A healthy diet (with plenty of vegetables!) and physical activity like gardening are the key for both preventing Type 2 diabetes and managing Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

Please say hello if you are at the Diabetes Awareness Week Free Family Fun Walk and Picnic on Friday 16 November from 4:30 pm at Innes Common, Hamilton Lake - I know some of you are going! Walk around the lake and enjoy the free BBQ, information and entertainment.  There will be some information about WIC and the Grandview Community Garden in the information tent, if you want some fliers to pass onto your friends. 

The event is being organised by K'aute Pasifika Services and Diabetes NZ.  Find out about other local Diabetes Awareness Week events on the Diabetes NZ Waikato Branch web site.

Free Kumara Seedlings!

In August we held a WIC workshop on kumara propagation, planting tubers in a container in a warm place (eg tunnel house) to create sprouts with roots.  They are now ready to have the sprouts removed and planted out!

If you would like some seedlings, visit the Diabetes Family Fun Walk and Picnic (see above) information tent!  I will have copies of the kumara growing handout available too.   

Join Hamilton TimeBank

There were over 150 people at the Low Cost Living Expo last week, with quite a few interested in joining the Hamilton TimeBank including some of you.  Timebanking can be a great way to give or get gardening help.

If you would like to join, go to one of these orientation sessions:

Tonight, Wednesday 14 November, 6 pm - Waikato Environment Centre, 25 Ward Street, Hamilton City.

Tuesday 20 November 12:30 pm - Western Community Centre, 46 Hyde Ave, Nawton, Hamilton

Friday 30 November 12:30 pm, Te Whare o Te Ata Fairfield Community House, 60a Sare Crescent, Fairfield, Hamilton.

For more information contact Cheryl or Ruth on 834 2249 or hamtimebank@gmail.com

Reminder: Building a Shade House

At this free WIC workshop learn hands-on how to build a shade house.   If there is time you can learn more by helping to finish tunnel house.  A shade house makes a cool, sheltered area that stays moist longer. It is a good place to grow:

  • seedlings in trays and pots when the weather is hot
  • plants that like cooler weather 
  • plants that like shade. 

When: Saturday 17 November 2012, 9 am - 5 pm (remember to be sun smart!)

Where: Grandview Community Garden. Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road - look for the WIC flag. Park your bike by the shed, or take bus route 8 (Frankton), or park on Grandview Road.    

Any questions? Contact Clare (ph 021 0387623), the WIC Community Garden Mentors.

Reminder: Sowing Beans and Bringing Good Insects to the Garden

Learn how to bring beneficial (helpful) insects into the garden, and sow dwarf beans.

When: Tuesday 20 Nov 2012, 9 am to10.30 am (remember to be sun smart!)

Where: Grandview Community Garden. Entrance to the garden is through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Road - look for the WIC flag. Park your bike by the shed, or take bus route 8 (Frankton), or park on Grandview Road.    

Any questions? Contact Clare (ph 021 0387623).

The Te Kuiti White Ribbon Art & Garden Ramble

Te Kuiti is Te Kuiti is a small Waikato town 80 km south of Hamilton.  Visit about 20 gardens in the Te Kuiti area on their White Ribbon Art & Garden Ramble and get inspired!  It is being held over the weekend of 24-25 November.  

Tickets cost $25 - all the money will go to charity.  You can buy the tickets from the Te Kuiti iSite on the day, or book over the phone. Some transport is available from Te Kuiti. Contact iSite for more information ph (07) 878-8077. 

Tree Crops Association Event

Visit a garden featuring not only veges but fruit and nut trees. The property hosts a walnut growing trial, to find a variety which does well despite walnut blight - a disease common in the Waikato.  Walnuts are very large trees.  Some are grown in public parks.

There will be an end of year pot-luck-lunch (bring a plate of food to share).  Bring your own eating utensils (cup, plate, knife, fork, etc) and a chair if you need one.    All welcome.

Where: 839 McClure St (can also park on Collinson Street), Pirongia.  Pirongia is about 32 km south west of Hamilton.  Look out for the 'Tree Crops Event' signs.

When: Saturday 24 November starting at 10 am, finishing early afternoon. 

Need more information? Contact Don ph (09) 843-9007.

Sow now...

Keep sowing lettuce, silverbeet, parsley, pak choi broccoli etc for a continuous supply.  In the warmer weather these greens grow fast. 

Harvest now...

Diamond (China) tells me that this is the season for cooking and eating bamboo shoots (sprouts).  They should always be eaten cookedRemember that you can ask the City Council  to tell you where you can harvest bamboo and bamboo sprouts (this may vary throughout the year): contact John Mills, Operations Manager, Parks & Open Spaces, ph 838 6625.  Bamboo grows like a weed here in NZ, many Councils have a problem with it.  

Mark Mortimer, from the NZ Bamboo Society tells me that the following varieties are sprouting now:

If you can, tell the Council the botanical name (Latin name) of the variety of bamboo you are looking for.  Do not take bamboo from Council land without getting permission from the City Council first! 

You are not allowed to take bamboo or any other plant material from Hamilton Gardens in Cobham Drive or the Taitua Arboretum.

There is a video here showing how they harvest and use bamboo shoots in Japan.  They are best eaten fresh.

Eating in a group

We all need to eat, but cultural traditions around eating vary a lot. For example, what are your 'cultural rules' (etiquette or manners) around sharing food when you are in a group?  According to Farida Sultana, before 'tucking in' (slang for eating) or drinking, "Iranians would say to everyone around them 'Be farmaie'", offering others what they were eating/drinking.  The usual response was "'Kheaile mamnoon, tarofe namikoneh', 'Thank you, please do not stick to formalities'; 'Shoma be farmied', 'Go ahead, take your food.'"  (Source: Purple Dandelion, 2011.) 

In my mostly-Pacific Island work place, it is very common to not just offer, but to actually share food. (Our staff plot at the community garden has been providing yummy fresh veg for shared lunches recently!)  Many of my colleagues will also apologise if they have to leave you eating by yourself. 

In many NZ workplaces, individuals eat their own food: there is no expectation of sharing or offering to share it.  The exception is pre-organised morning teas or lunches, usually for special occasions, where staff might be told to 'bring a plate,' (ie a plate of food to share).  Morning and afternoon teas in NZ tend to be mostly sugary food, which is hard for diabetics or people who have been told to lose weight.

Portion sizes have increased too, which is not helping our health. If everyone brings a plate, there is usually too much food and people end up eating more than is healthy, even if the eating is spread over the day.  (In NZ slang, eating too much is sometimes called 'being a guts' or 'pigging out'.)  Small portions mean that people can try several tasty treats without eating too much.

Some workplaces reduce amount of food, the annual costs of food and the cooking workload by having a rotating roster where only (say) two people bring food for any one event. 

Some workplaces have a group morning tea when it is a staff member's birthday.  Some will get the person who is having the birthday to bring a plate (eg a cake), again sharing the workload, reducing the costs and making for healthier portion sizes. 

Most NZ workplaces take a fairly informal and democratic approach to when and how food will be provided for the group. Many also forget to let new employees know what the norms are around food in that particular workplace - it is ok to ask!  If you have been an employee for a while, and would like to see a change in the way food is provided for special occasions, you could try talking about it at a staff meeting. 

Providing food or drink for a group is sometimes called 'a shout' (slang), eg 'Ahmid shouted morning tea for his team, to celebrate finishing the project'.  A 'roof shout' is provided for people involved in a building project when the roof goes on the building, usually provided by the building owner.

We had a yummy Diabetes Awareness Week morning tea this week, which had lots of different fruit cut up into small pieces as well as wholegrain crackers and humus based dips.  Vegetable 'sticks' of cut cucumber, carrots, celery or whole baby vegetables like radishes, turnips and carrots also go well with a dip.

Enjoy your garden!

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