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 15 April the Food Garden Group visited Jo's garden at Geilston Bay

The visit to Jo’s garden at Geilston Bay marked the end of the Food Garden Group’s seventh season. This season has been the rainiest out of those seven years.

Never yet has a food garden visit been cancelled (fingers crossed), and so, this time too things went ahead, in spite of the fact that early on Sunday morning rain pelted down and things seemed set for all-day rain.

Lo and behold! The rain stopped at 10.15, blue sky appeared, the sun came out, and the weather was suddenly not too bad at all, until the end of the visit, when it started raining again.

We have many ‘hardened all-weather people’ in our group, and Jo’s new super-sized deck that now overlooks her garden, filled up with a good crowd.

Jo explained that the deck was built over the sunniest part of her food garden. That had made her a bit sad, but with some of the tons of soil dug out to make way for the structure, she constructed new garden beds, and they actually produced quite well in their first food garden season.

Jo led us down to the ‘river flat’ where most of her garden is, and we discussed the challenges her block, on a steep slope to a creek, with bush opposite, has given her over the years.

These challenges included building activities up-stream that led to her garden going under water when a lot more water started coming down the creek. Also, the trees on the opposite bank have become taller and tall over time, leading to less sunshine in her garden. The local wildlife is also a constant pest. Plenty of suggestions were made, which Jo is going to consider.
On the plus-side, the deck is a beautifully sunny spot and a great addition to the house, and her block is sheltered from the worst winds that so many other gardens in and around Hobart are exposed to.

The photo above shows Jo’s netted vegie garden from the end of the deck above, and the photo below shows the same from the creek bank:

Here Jo shows us a young fig tree that she put in a mesh cage to make sure it will be spared by the very persistent wildlife.

The produce table had many really nice goodies, and the contributions to morning tea were delicious.

Many thanks to Jo for hosting this last visit of the season, and a big thank you too to everyone who came and made this visit a very enjoyable and informative event.

On Sunday 25 March the Food Garden Group visited Tania's garden at West Hobart
No one should complain about good rains in March, but it was a pity that early drizzle on the morning of our food garden visit turned into steady rain just when our food garden visit was about to start.

However, thanks to the fact that Tania has a wonderful large studio room with French doors that open onto the garden, we could still see her great garden, and venture out at times when the downpour was not so heavy.

Tania lives in a densely-built area of West Hobart, but because the main part of her house was built around 1840, and other bits were added later in character with this, her garden has a very nice ‘cottage garden feel’.

The design of Tania’s garden showed us that when you give a small garden a good layout, retaining walls, nice paths and paving, and raised beds, you can make it productive and at the same time aesthetically pleasing. 

Here (photo below) Tania welcomed us and talked about her garden. While holding in her hands a line marker with string that her father used to use, she reminisced about how he made her interested in gardening at a young age.

From there on everyone had a great time, because when a group of us meet, a lively conversation about anything to do with food gardening simply starts, and, with a cuppa and something nice for morning tea in hand, conversations continue from there on unabated until it is time to go home. 

A well-provisioned morning tea table had something yummy for everyone. Thanks, people, for your contributions!

Thanks everyone too for your contributions to the produce table, and last but not least, many thanks to Tania for hosting this successful visit under less than perfect circumstances.

On Sunday 25 February the Food Garden Group visited Ross and Elizabeth's garden at Lindisfarne 

The first thing everyone noticed on arrival was the warm wood fire in the impressive outdoor sandstone fire place. Although is was February, the day was overcast and not very warm, so the gesture and the warmth of the fire were very much appreciated.

Ross and Elizabeth welcomed the crowd, and immediately a wide variety of food garden subjects came up: the fruit fly threat, a new remedy against codling moth, Ross’s collection of rare tomato varieties, and on it went.

Ross and Elizabeth explained that they had spent far less time on the garden this season than normal because they had been busy adding a balcony to their home.  Well, the garden looked great, in spite of  this.

As you can see, it is a large garden by suburban standards, with a hothouse, and a chook run at the bottom of the block.

The chooks will probably ‘harvest’ the low-hanging fruit of this peach tree, but that will leave a nice amount of fruit for Ross and Elizabeth. The tree, in the middle of the chook run is obviously quite happy there and fruit if protected from birds because it is completely caged in.

The grapes were a different story this season. Ross explained that ‘when you think it is time to cover the ripening grapes with a net, you should have done it a fortnight ago’. This season nearly all his grapes were taken by birds.  All I found was two sorry 'leftovers' (see photo).

Another row of grapes produced plenty one season, and then never a single grape again in following years.  The beauty of food garden visits is that problems get solved!  Because Ross told us this, he will now be contacted by a friend of one of the people who were there, someone who knows a fair bit about grapes, to find out how this problem can be remedied.

Ross & Elizabeth's pear tree had an abundant crop, in spite of being much affected by cherry slugs.

Other interesting crops were ……

Purple Pole Beans
rare completely black 'Red Black' tomatoes
'Peter Cundall' pumpkins
The produce table was laden with goodies (plants, fruit, produce, seeds, materials).
Morning tea, well, the photo says it all, and that is after some of the plates had already been emptied.

I learn a lot at every food garden visit, and today was no exception. Ross felt that a lot of things had gone wrong in their garden this season, but that can make things more interesting.  It certainly sparked some good discussions this time.

We have a great Food Gardeners Tasmania Facebook page, but meeting fellow food gardeners face to face in a garden is so much more rewarding.

Many thanks to Ross and Elizabeth for hosting a very successful food garden visit, and thanks to everyone for their enthusiasm, friendship, knowledge, and what they brought for the produce and morning tea tables.

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!