The edible garden is a detailed composition of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers that can be used in cosmetics, for medicinal purposes and of course culinary purposes. Each and every plant has parts of it that can be used partially or totally. In this garden you can smell, touch, taste, feel and enjoy a working fruit, herb and vegetables garden that changes from season to season.
The aim of the garden is to be as organic as possible with a number of planting schemes demonstrating companion planting to ensure particular plants grow to their best advantage. Growing vegetables in rotation is an important exercise to ensure the vegetables grow in optimum conditions. Animal manures, home-made compost and used mushroom compost are dug through the gardens each season to enrich and revitalise the soil and to provide nutrients for the vegetables.
The fruit trees are used to provide a framework of avenues in a formal pattern in the shape of an asterix with a magnificent weeping elm in the centre of the edible garden. This tree was one of the original trees on the property when it was purchased in 1997 and was moved from its position hard against the house to where it stands now in 2002. The avenues consist of limes, quinces, apples, crab apples and olives. In some of the avenues several varieties of the same genus are planted to enable visitors to compare different characteristics, form and shape.
The fruit from the trees is used for home consumption to make preserves and to sell as fresh produce to our visitors on a seasonal basis.
A surprising number of flowers can be eaten in salads, desserts and other dishes. These flowers are grown between the vegetables and fruit trees and some, such as camomile, are used as companion plants to enhance their growth. Some of our favourites are pansies, nasturtium, calendula and poppies.
The mixtures and combinations of vegetables are grown to show that vegetable gardens can be attractive as well as functional. Some of the vegetables, such as maize, spinach, silver beet and sweetcorn, are given to our chickens as green feed and they provide us with eggs in return. Chicken compost is great for the garden and is recycled back through the compost into the garden beds.
The herbs grown in the edible garden are designed for culinary, medicinal and cosmetic use but to also act as companion plants for the profusion of fruits and vegetables in the gardens.