Question about your order? See our COVID 19 Update here. Online orders are currently only open to members only. Orders are taking up to 3 weeks to despatch based on current reduced-workplace COVID restrictions.

Question about your order? See our COVID 19 Update here. Online orders are currently only open to members only. Orders are taking up to 3 weeks to despatch based on current reduced-workplace COVID restrictions.

All in a day’s work

The Heronswood kitchen garden produces an enormous 3,000kg of organic produce each year. How do we know? Because everything is meticulously weighed and measured.

Above: Kitchen Gardener Janine Stent

Growing seasonal produce for the Heronswood kitchen is much more involved than the growing regime of most gardens due to the strict criteria required for organic certification. All produce must be traceable from start to finish, from the lot number of the seed sown, through to the ingredients added to the soil. Fortunately, that’s all par for the course for our kitchen gardener Janine Stent, who has been managing this garden for the last two years.

Formerly a chef, Janine understands the needs of the kitchen and grows accordingly to provide around 80% of the produce required by Heronswood kitchen throughout the year. Working closely with restaurant manager, Lee Frost, and chef, Trish Roberts, menus are designed around the produce available, and suggestions made for seasonal variation the following year.

Last year the garden produced more than 3,000kg of produce from 70 different varieties; that’s the weight of a limousine! This year, the stats are set to soar with 46 varieties of tomatoes currently on trial alone, growing for taste tests, quality control purposes and ongoing trials and research, not to mention, the myriad dishes utilising this seasonal kitchen garden crop.

It’s no surprise that tomatoes are one of our highest grossing crops with 338kg harvested last year, but this is only warrants third placing after cucumbers at 382kg and, of course, zucchinis at almost 600kg. Other high harvest vegies included lettuce, carrot, beetroot and spring onions.

Edible flowers are also part of the tally with over 13kg of edible flowers harvested each year, and as Janine says “that’s a lot of petals!” Primarily used for decoration, edible flowers also form part of the companion planting principles associated with the garden and its crop rotation.

What about pumpkins? These were mainly grown at the Diggers trial garden, so did not form part of the Kitchen Garden tally.

While the garden has the added pressure of supplying a commercial kitchen with quality organic produce, as well as all the organic reporting required by Australian Certified Organics, the garden also faces many of the common problems encountered by all vegie gardeners, from changing growing conditions (neighbouring trees growing and casting larger shadows), a steep sloping site, pests, weeds, water and time.

The garden also produces some of the eggs required by the restaurant, although this is not the primary role of our hard-working chickens. They are part of our active composting cycle and gardening team.

One of the key lessons from the garden is to grow what you need for the kitchen. Space is a valuable resource in all gardens, regardless of size, so only grow what you will use or preserve, unless trialling something different for improved flavour, yield or to extend your season. How much produce do you harvest each year?

ORGANIC RECORD KEEPING ESSENTIALS

As part of the Kitchen Garden’s organic certification, Janine must report on the following:

♦ Bed rotation
♦ Soil improvements and additions as well as their application rates
♦ Any treatment of plants aside from watering (e.g. fertilisers and organic sprays)
♦ Rainfall
♦ Compost – temperature at turning and ratio of components
♦Traceability of all produce from seed to harvest (e.g. lot number, dates for sowing/transplanting/harvesting, weights, etc)

♦ Every purchase made for the garden with receipts

A note on pests: An organic pest spray was only used once during this growing period, and this was in the greenhouse, not the garden beds. No other sprays were required due to the biodiversity of the garden including the insect hotel, crop rotation techniques, companion planting and associated gardening activities.

More

“I want to get people out into the garden”

Georgina Reid visits Michael Bates’ striking Sydney garden

“This garden solves all its problems with plants”

Georgina Reid visits Ian McMaugh’s jungle courtyard in the urban subtropics

A brief reflection

Stephen Forbes (a Diggers Director) shares his experience as the former Director of the Botanic Gardens of South Australia

An oasis of green in the bush

Clive Blazey introduces this secluded getaway, not far from Daylesford and Ballarat

Biddulph Grange: one of the wonders of the Victorian age

Heronswood gardener and Botanica tour leader, Julie Willis, visits a masterpiece rescued by the National Trust UK

Botanica Spring Garden (Japan)

Clive Blazey visits Japan for the Botanica Spring Garden tour

Botanical Ark (Daintree, Australia)

Clive Blazey visits Alan and Susan Carle's beautiful garden in the Queensland rainforest

Castel Ruggero (Chianti, Italy)

Margaux's family create perfect harmony, “A living personification of my mother and father”

Choosing perennial flowers for the

wilder parts of the garden

Cloudehill (Olinda, Australia)

Owner and garden creator Jeremy Francis takes us through the four seasons at Cloudehill

Collecting Amazon Lilies in the wild

Andrew Carrick tells the story of re-establishing lilies in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens

Create a summer flowering perennial border

Julie Willis creates Heronswood’s summer perennial border and explains its subtleties.

Cruden Farm (Langwarrin, Australia)

John Christie tells us why trees are an integral part of the gardens at Cruden Farm

Designing landscapes

Landscape designer Keith Edwards explains how he designs

Gardening can change the world

Georgina Reid wonders why we don’t value the natural world

Gardening is about progression

“Gardening is a progression beyond the innocent cultivation of obvious plants” clive blazey

Gardening with Biologicals

Stephen Forbes explains the importance of what we can’t see in our gardens

Gardens By The Bay (Singapore)

Clive Blazey introduces the wonders of Singapore's Gardens by the Bay

Growing 200 fruit trees in your backyard

Marcelle Swanson visits inner-city fruit grower and author Louis Glowinski

Heronswood (Australia)

Is Heronswood one of the world's finest gardens?

Meet Australia's citrus gurus - The Tolleys from Renmark

Clive Blazey discovers a garden where citrus, dates, mangoes, peaches and apples thrive

Moira’s Garden (Gaza)

Andrew Laidlaw describes how the first Global Garden of Peace is taking shape in Gaza

Ninfa (Lazio, Italy)

Clive Blazey visits the 'world's most romantic garden', the inspirational Ninfa in Italy

Q&A with Heronswood's Gardeners

Get to know Heronswood's talented gardeners

Sissinghurst gardens is given the kiss of life

Tommy Garnett, our finest garden writer, describes the redemption of Sissinghurst

Szálás (Subotica, Serbia)

Ines Balint shares a special garden connection and love of food with her family in Serbia

The grandfather of citriculture

Marcelle Swanson talks to world-renowned citrus expert Ian Tolley about his life's opus ‘Commonsense Citrus’

Three up and coming gardeners

Tony Fawcett explains why an outstanding gardener should be on every farmer’s list of go-to gurus

Tim Entwisle's Top 10 Favourite Plants

The Director of Melbourne's Botanic Gardens shares his botany of desire!

Two hundred years of hard gardening experience

Clive Blazey talks with Will Ashburner and Frank Broersen

Vegie gardening from Alaska to the Sunshine Coast

Kevin Redd doesn’t follow the rules, choosing to experiment with the vegies he loves, no matter what his climate.

Warrior for environmental change

Marcelle Swanson asks Joost Bakker about his philosophies for a sustainable future

Waste is a human Invention... there is no waste in nature

Clive explains how our waste is a symptom of an unsustainable lifestyle

Wildflower Meadow

One of our biggest aims at Diggers is to ensure that gardeners succeed.

Wisley (Surrey, UK)

Lisa Remato visits the inspiring RHS garden at Wisley
Back To Top
Member Exclusives
STRAWBERRY 'CHANDLER' POTTED
STRAWBERRY 'CHANDLER' POTTED
PLANTS: PSTCHP
The most delicious of all the large fruited strawberries. Huge berries up to 60g are produced in profusion in summer. Easy to grow in most climates, these have to be the chef's choice. 82/100 in our taste tests.
Member $6.95
Checking stock, please wait..
MULTIFLORA PINK ROSE CLUB SPECIAL 10
MULTIFLORA PINK ROSE CLUB SPECIAL 10
PLANTS: RMULP10
A profusion of apple blossom pink flowers in Spring smother this vigorous self supporting rose. This fast growing thicket becomes an ideal farm fence or informal hedge. 10 plants.
Member $59.90
Checking stock, please wait..
2yr membership +FREE vegie seeds
2yr membership +FREE vegie seeds
Membership: MNE2VS
Grow the best tasting vegies with free Tomato 'Tigerella, Beetroot 'Bulls Blood, Silverbeet 'Fordhook' and Spring Onion 'Red' seeds (one packet of each, valued at $21).
Member $79.00
Non-Member $79.00
Checking stock, please wait..