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 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 stopper 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.

On Sunday 24 September the Food Garden Group visited Loes's garden at Conningham:

Dark clouds followed by rain on the way to Loes's garden made me think we might only have a small number of people at the first food garden visit of the season.  But then the weather did what it has done so often on mornings of food garden visits: the rain stopped, the skies cleared and more than forty people turned up.  Wow!
Here Loes (on the right) welcomes us
Our group had visited Loes's garden a few years ago, but she is an energetic person who always come up with a new idea, and many things had changed.

A very effective new veggie garden cage

The veggie garden enclosure does not look new, but it certainly wasn't here last time we visited.

Inside the veggie cage
Adjacent to the house (and benefiting from its brick wall for heat) is a hothouse 'under construction' made with recycled windows.  Loes can't wait for that to be finished.

Throughout the garden are many fruit trees (apples, pears, stone fruit and lemons).  Some of them had been pruned severely because the had suffered from disease last season.

Around the tree in the photo Loes put four plumbing pipes in the lawn (a helpful foot in the photo points to one of them).  When netting is needed to protect fruit, Loes puts four star pickets in the holes and connects them via fat irrigation pipes, so she has a good structure for the net.  I was surprised how far the holes need to be away from the tree.

The photo above shows a young espaliered Comice pear.

Jan R (red jumper on the right) explained the basics of propagating.

And Max K (middle of photo) showed how to graft a tomato onto another tomato.

I hope to use Jan and Max's expertise to create a blog post on the subject in the next few weeks.

Also in the two photos above there are wooden walls in the right corner of the galvanised iron shed.  This is 'the Hilton' Loes created for her chooks.  Below is a photo of the exit from the shed into their run.  You can also see the layer of wood shavings she has on the floor.

In spite of it being very early in the season there was an amazing variety and quantity on the produce table, and the many and varied contributions for morning tea were also yummy.

Thank you, everyone who came and contributed.  All of us together made this into a very nice and informative morning.   And a special thanks to Loes, Pauline and Dirk, who were perfect hosts!