Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop

A fruit tree pruning workshop  is being held  at Ivanhoe Community Food Garden.

Date & Time:     
·       Saturday 6th July
·       9:30am-10am:   cleaning our tools
·       10am-12pm:       fruit tree pruning

The workshop will be taken by Alida McKern, a founding member of the garden.  Alida has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Horticulture and a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture.  This is an opportunity to learn some pruning techniques and contribute to the healthy development of our young fruit trees.

We’ll start by sharpening and cleaning our secateurs:  Bring your secateurs along, and if you have the following, please bring them:  a sharpening stone, steel wool, methylated spirits and a clean rag for wiping up. 

Gold coin donations are welcome – there will be a tin on the table. Contributions will go towards developing our new raspberry patch.
BYO morning tea.
Wet weather contingency: cancellation only if it is raining heavily at starting time.
Best regards – till we meet on Sat 6th July
Please email RSVPs to
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Food Forest Tour: Looking at Permaculture Principles

In the second part of our permaculture series, Angie O’Connor will be giving a guided tour around our food forest on May 11, showing and explaining Permaculture principles at work.

The first session held on April 20 was a detailed discussion on the principles of permaculture and we ran out of time to give participants a tour of the food forest.

As a result Angie is returning on May 11 to show participants how permaculture has been used in the Ivanhoe Community Food Garden’s food forest.

Angie has a Grad. Dip. in  Horticulture and a Certificate in Permaculture Design as well as lots of experience in growing food forests.

The afternoon will conclude with afternoon tea and time for questions.

A gold coin donation would be appreciated.

Please RSVP to

Time: 2:00 – 3:30 PM

Venue: Ivanhoe Community Food Garden, Rear of 10 Tate Street, Ivanhoe, Victoria. Access via driveway between No. 10 and 12.

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Permaculture Workshop

The Ivanhoe Community Food Garden is hosting a permaculture workshop in the garden on Saturday April 20 from 2 – 4 pm.  Angie O’Connor will explain the principles of permaculture and give a guided tour around our food forest to show and explain permaculture principles at work.

Angie has a Grad. Dip. in Horticulture, a certificate in Permaculture Design and lots of experience growing food forests.

The afternoon will conclude with afternoon tea and time for questions.  Entry by gold coin donation.  Please RSVP your attendance to

The garden is located at the rear of No. 10 Tate Street in Ivanhoe, Melbourne, and access is via a driveway between No. 10 and 12.

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Propagating from cuttings made simple

Robin shares her expertise with workshop participants

Last Saturday, Robin from Sustainable Macleod volunteered her time and shared her expertise on propagating at the garden.  Enthusiastic gardeners gathered around the table to learn how to successfully propagate from cuttings.  The hands-on workshop was very informative as Robin demonstrated how to propagate from cuttings and participants followed every step as they snipped, rolled, potted and watered.

Robin used scented geraniums for the workshop as their large stems make them easy to propagate.

Types of Cuttings

There are four types of cuttings:

  1. Herbaceous – a green cutting used for propagating herbs and some fruits
  2. Soft wood – point where branch turns from brown to green
  3. Semi-hardwood
  4. Hardwood

Preparation of Propagation Medium

Perlite and verniculite mixed in bucket and wet with water

A good propagation medium provides adequate moisture, good aeration and drainage.

We used a 1:1 ratio of perlite (to provide good aeration and drainage) and verniculite (to hold moisture) and wet with water.  Pots were filled with the mixture to within 4 cm of the top.

Note: Perlite and vernicultie are synthetic.  Other options include a mixture of washed river sand and peat moss or potting mix.

How to Propagate

Preparing the Cutting

Cutting with trimmed leaves

  1. Using secateurs, take terminal cuttings of about 12 – 15 cm with 3-4 nodes and stem cuttings (what is left of stem once you have taken the terminal cutting) of at least 4 nodes.  Cut the stem on an angle and a couple of mm below the bottom node.
  2. Remove branches from nodes at least 2/3 way up cutting, leaving the terminal leaves.
  3. Reduce the size of the terminal leaves by cutting off the ends.  This is important because you want the plant to put its energy into developing roots.  You also need some leaf so the plant can absorb some moisture while the roots are still developing.
  4. Also nip out any buds or flowers.

Using hormone rooting powder

  1. Wet tip of cutting in water and shake excess off.
  2. Put rooting powder in a container or on a piece of cardboard and roll tip of cutting in the powder to go just slightly above the bottom node (this is where the roots will grow from).

Planting your cutting

  1. Use a chopstick to make a hole in the propagation mix.
  2. Push cutting into the hole, no further than just above the second bottom node.
  3. Water plant

Looking after your plant

  1. Your plant will need a humid environment so the leaves can absorb moisture while the roots are still developing.  Place you plant in a greenhouse or create your own mini greenhouse using two chopsticks, a plastic bag and a rubber band and keep the pot on a windowsill
  2. Water daily so plant doesn’t dry out and keep leaves moist.

In four to six weeks your cutting will have developed roots and be ready for planting into a bigger pot with potting mix.

Some of our “babies” perched in front of the wood heap

Scented Leaf Geraniums (Pelargoniums) – Background Information

There are many varieties of scented leaf geraniums, e.g. nutmeg, peppermint, cinnamon, old spice, rose, lemon, orange, lime and apple.  These plants are native to South Africa and are grown for their leaves rather than the flowers.  They grow well in pots, including teracotta, and cope well with a single decent watering once a week in summer.

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Workshop: Propagating from cuttings

Robin will be running a workshop at the garden on 27th October from 2 pm. The hands-on session will run for about 1 hour followed by afternoon tea provided by Ivanhoe Community Food Garden members. Participants should bring secateurs and a small pot so they can take their propagated cutting home.

We ask for a gold coin donation to cover costs.

Robin has extensive gardening experience and has run a herb nursery in Tasmania.

Everyone is welcome.  Please email to reserve your place.

Directions to the garden: We are located at the rear of 10 Tate Street, Ivanhoe, Victoria.  Access is via a driveway between no’s 10 and 12 Tate Street.

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Spring sprucing the garden

Sunday we had our first spring 2012 working bee.

Weeding the food forest and applying sequential layers of cardboard, compost mulch and lucerne was a huge task undertaken by Lois, Sha, Sarah, Leanne, Kerry and myself – go girl power!  We were very keen to do the job properly to keep the weeds under control. When the bed was first constructed, newspaper was used in place of cardboard in some sections and as a consequence weeds have continued to return.  Fingers crossed the cardboard will do the job this time!

Planting more fruit trees along the tennis courts was another big job.  The fruit trees were donated by members who had received them for their participation in the fruit tree pruning workshop in July.  Ann and Matt planted a peach, pomegranate, olive, fig and apricot.  We will all be rewarded by the fruits of your labour!

By 4 PM the pressure from kids to down tools and have afternoon tea was overwhelming.  A yummy feast of banana cake, oat biscuits and lemon cake was demolished by all.


Look forward to seeing you all at the next work bee in October.

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Fruit tree pruning for success

Last Saturday we hosted our first fruit tree pruning workshop in conjunction with Transition Banyule.  More than 30 people gathered to learn pruning techniques from Robert Stringer, a local resident with a lot of experience gained from managing his 7-year-old edible garden in Heidelberg.

As part of Transition Banyule’s Urban Orchard project, the garden received a variety of fruit trees last spring.  Robert showed workshop participants how to prune the trees to maximise healthy fruit production.

The main tips shared during the workshop were:

  1. Remove inner branches to achieve a vase shape.
  2. Cut away from buds to encourage branching and assist water to drain away from the pruning site.
  3. Splay supple upright branches.  This can be done using a stocking, twine and a weight such as a brick.  The branches will need to remain tied for almost a year.
  4. Protect pruning wounds with a product such as Grafting Mastic BZ.
  5. Collect all prunings and put into compost.  Prunings left on the ground can be a source of disease.

Robert pruned all the fruit trees in the garden.  Some of us were a little concerned about how much new growth was removed but as Robert said, at this stage (with the trees only one to two years old), it is important to focus on the future shape of the tree.


At the end of the workshop all participants received a fruit tree courtesy of Banyule Council’s Councillor Craig Langdon and Bulleen Art and Garden.  The trees will add to the Urban Orchard being established by Transition Banyule and included an olive, pomegranate, mulberry, apricots, peaches, oranges, lime, figs, plums and apples.

A delightful surprise was a visit from Cr Craig Langdon who joined us for a pleasant afternoon tea in the garden.


The day was also a great opportunity to showcase the garden to the community and attract some new members.

Thank you to everyone who was involved and we look forward to seeing you at our next community garden event.

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