Past Visits

We are a group of Tasmanians who like to grow what we eat and share skills, surplus produce, seeds, seedlings and  plants.  We meet at informal monthly food-garden visits and welcome both experts and novices.  Membership is open to anyone living in Tasmania and is free of charge.  To join please send an email to mentioning the town or suburb where you live.

On Sunday 21 January the Food Garden Group visited Margaret and Sweis's garden at Lenah Valley -  

With views over the valley below, tall trees bordering the property down the steep slope, meandering paths, and a nice mix of productive and ornamental plants, this was a great garden to visit.

Here Margaret (on the right) welcomed us and explained that, although they have lived here for 37 years, gardening has really become a major hobby when she and husband Sweis retired a few years ago.  Sweis then took up the challenge of turning a steep slope with difficult clay into a very pleasant array of paths and terraced raised beds, and Margaret made it into a great combo of ornamental and productive. 

The photo above shows the hothouse in the background, and makes it clear how steep the garden is. 

Margaret and Sweis learned the hard way that what is not screened off or netted will be eaten, either by birds, rats, possums, or their dog, so screening off is now standard practice all around the garden.

Shade cloth is put on the hothouse in summer to keep temperatures down. 

Gutters on both sides of the hothouse roof catch rain and this is collected in tanks.  Bird netting covers the entrance, so nothing gets in when the doors are open.

Sweis showed us their LinkTap automated watering system.  It can be programmed via mobile phone or computer, even if you are not at home.  LinkTap will be discussed in more detail on the Food Garden Group blog in coming months.

A good example of companion planting: Borage and Marigolds with a tomato plant, in a raised bed, with more flowering plants in the background.

Fruit trees, including plums, cherry, apple, pear, and apricots, were scattered around the garden.

Thank you, Margaret and Sweis, for hosting this very pleasant and informative food garden visit.  We all had a great time.

Margaret made some very nice ginger beer for the occasion.  She gave me the recipe, so it can be shared with anyone who would like to have a go at making it.  If you are interested, please request it via

These food garden visits are a great way to learn because the collective knowledge of the group is so amazing.  I got answers to questions I did not even know I had!

Morning tea was delicious.  It is worth coming just for that.  Thank you, everyone!
Lots of people shared lots of things on the produce table.  Terrific!

On Sunday 3 December the Food Garden Group visited Anne's garden at Margate - 

Food garden visits are never cancelled, but in the seven years that our visits have now taken place Sunday 3 December 2017 gave us by far the worst weather conditions ever.  Our hosts at Margate measured 76 millimetres of rain in their rain gauge on the day.  It never stopped pelting down for the entire time.

The photo below is what we saw from Anne's kitchen when we arrived.

In spite of the atrocious conditions eight hardy members turned up and, thanks to Anne's hospitality in her kitchen and dining area, we had a great time, as always.

A few brave souls with brollies ventured outside with Anne in the never ending rain, but really this garden deserves a visit in dry conditions, when people can gain inspiration from the productive and interesting garden Anne has created.

With this in mind I hope to organise a second visit to this garden some time next season.

Many thanks to those who came and made this a great morning, in spite of the weather.
Many thanks to Anne, children Hannah and Edward, and husband (Michael?) for their hospitality on this worst day of the year.  

On Sunday 12 November the Food Garden Group visited Rosalie's garden at Sandfly - 

When I arrived at Rosalie's property it was foggy and drizzling and all you could see was trees, a house, and a garden in the mist.  But then within ten minutes the day transformed itself into a nice warm day with blue skies, and suddenly we saw a wonderful property on top of a hill with great views over surrounding hills and bush.

In the photo above Rosalie (on the left with hat) welcomes us and discusses what she did to convert her rocky bush soil into a garden since she moved here a decade ago.

Hard to believe really, but this is Rosalie's thriving fruit and berry area .... under gum trees.  Rosalie is not allowed to remove trees without permission (the property is part of a conservation zone).  This area is on a slope where runoff from the hill makes the soil slightly more moist.  With compost and worm castings added the fruit trees and berry bushes are doing surprisingly well.

Here is Rosalie's completely netted extensive food garden.  Here she plants/sows small quantities of many vegetable varieties, using the no-dig method.  Rosalie is vegetarian and this caged garden provides her with all the vegetables she needs.

Rosalie likes to use recycled materials wherever possible and her hothouse (photo below) is a good example of how with minimal costs a lot can be achieved.  And things don't always have to be perfect.  Take this hothouse for instance.  There are no windows that can be opened, but with the door always open and holes in various spots ventilation is not a problem and it is very effective!

Isn't it wonderful when you have so much space on your land that you can make things as large as you like them to be. Below is Rosalie's vast chook run and chook house, giving the chooks ample space to roam in.

Rosalie was happy to share her experiences and people were keen to learn.  In the photo below she discusses how she manages a worm farm in an old bath tub.

Contributions to the produce table and morning tea were many and varied (eg. Ross's four boxes of heirloom tomato seedlings - wow!) and everyone had a great time.

Last time we visited a suburban food garden.  This time a food garden in the middle of the bush.  The next visit will be to a productive garden on a flat block on the edge of a country town.  Every garden is different, and there is always something to learn.

Many thanks, Rosalie, for sharing your expertise, your time and your effort.  We all appreciated it!
And thanks everyone who came for their generous contributions to produce table and morning tea!

On Sunday 15 October the Food Garden Group visited Aimee's garden at New Town:

Just over a year ago Aimee's garden looked like this:

In the photo below you see in the top corner the same roofing separator as the photo above shows.  The difference is amazing, and the result of a drastic re-design of the garden, from one that had a lot of high-maintenance veggie beds to one where herbs and flowers are much more prominent.

Only the top end of the garden (photo below) still has conventional veggie beds, but here too (edible) herbs and flowers are now much more dominant.  We found many rhubarb bushes because partner Greg needs a lot of rhubarb for his veggie boxes business.  There are plenty of Wormwood bushes as well.  They come in handy in the chook house where they keep mites away.

In the photo below Aimee (white shirt) and partner Greg (in the left top corner) welcomed us.  Aimee explained how she was forced to re-think her food garden when she found that her busy life made it impossible to sustain a more conventional food garden.

But the chooks are still there and Aimee very enthusiastically answered all the questions that our members who have chooks asked her.  Aimee does not just collect eggs.  She also has begun raising chickens at the request of her daughter.

Here we see inside Aimee's very cute hexagonal hothouse:

For most of the year there is a bee hive in the garden and Aimee and Greg collect a lot of honey.

In the photo Aimee holds up a frame full with honey and they generously shared pieces of honeycomb with us.  People were very interested in hearing about bee-keeping, and it brought some of us closer to deciding to do the same in our garden.

People brought a wonderful selection of plants, produce and seeds for the produce table, and morning tea was also delicious.

These food garden visits are such a wonderful melting pot of images, smells, impressions, questions, information and ideas.  They are a great way to learn and to get inspired, and meet with a great group of food gardeners.

Many thanks to Aimee and Greg for hosting this very interesting visit, and thanks everyone who came for their enthusiasm, produce and contributions to morning tea.  Next month we will gladly do it all again, in an entirely different food garden setting.