Our Productive Garden
The vegetable garden was created in 2015. We opted to build raised garden beds as they enable better water retention and drainage. They also have the benefit of creating warmer soil earlier in the season and thereby extending the growing season. It also means we don’t have to bend down as far! We tend to the garden on a weekly basis using organic principles and do not use pesticides or artificial fertilizers in our gardens. All our plants are germinated from seed and are predominantly heirloom varieties. The raised beds are fully enclosed in protection netting.
We have a total of 12 raised beds, 7 are dedicated to rotating seasonal vegetable and fruit crops and the other 5 are our permanent berries. We have 2 strawberry patches and at the back we have our other berries which are supported utilising a wire trellis system. We grow raspberries, boysenberries, silvanberries, loganberries, tayberries, jostaberries and marionberries. On the east perimeter of the productive garden we grow blueberries and red, white and black currants. On the other perimeters we utilise the wire fence to grow some fruit trees in espalier form. These are lemon, lime, nectarine, peach, apricots, feijoa and apples. It’s amazing how much fruit these espalier trees produce.
Next door to our productive garden is where our girls live, 6 heritage breed chickens. Our girls named Marta, Maria, Louisa, Brigitta, Liesl and Gretl keep us in supply of beautiful fresh eggs. They spend their days out in the orchard and olive grove eating all the bugs. What a life! In front of our feathered girls reside our furry girls, our mini lawnmowers our guinea pigs named Licorice, Addie, Milky Way and Crunchie. They are placed each day in the roaming tractor and keep our weeds at bay in our larger paddock ensuring no need for pesticides. They eat a lot!
Next door to our vegetable garden is our potato and asparagus patch and kiwi and table grape vines. This leads on to our extensive orchard which houses multiple varieties of fruit. The orchard is a mixture of heritage apples, apricots, pears, plums, peaches and nectarines. We also have a very productive fig tree which resides in front of the water tank with the avocado tree, with the heat radiating from the metal of the water tank keeping them warm in the winter months.
West of the orchard we have our apple cider tree row. We have been making apple cider for many years now with great success. These apple varieties hale from England and are very different to an eating variety.
At the Southernmost part of our property is our olive grove. We harvest each year an abundance of olives, a small amount we marinate but the bulk are sent to a local olive oil producer down the road for pressing. The extracted oil is used in our cooking experiences.
Next to our apple cider tree row is our glasshouse. Here we raise our seedlings in advance of the season so we can plant out as soon as the soil warms. We also use the glasshouse to grow heat loving vegetables such as eggplants, capsicums, chilies and of course melons which also need a long growing season. It also houses our banana tree and dragon fruit plant.
Further west is our newest and longer-term project, our vineyard. Our vines, shiraz, pinot noir and chardonnay, were planted in 2018. We expect a full harvest in 2022. In the meantime we have been honing our winemaking skills! All our cooking experiences feature our own wines.
Overall our garden isn’t huge, around an acre dedicated to food production however it produces more than enough for our small family, to use in our cooking experience, share with family and friends and to preserve for the winter months.