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.

Black Sapote (chocolate pudding fruit) thrives in subtropical climates

There is a common misconception that vegies that do well down south simply won’t grow up north.

Kevin Redd begs to differ.
After moving to Tasmania in 2002 from Santa Cruz, California, Kevin was able to put down roots … literally, growing a myriad of traditional cool vegies for the table.

Married to a chef, together they established a community garden out the back of their restaurant, encouraging locals and visitors to eat seasonally and grow their own food. Work took Kevin from one end of Australia to the other, and he was suddenly faced with the daunting task of creating a garden, with no real information relevant to his new subtropical area.

That’s when he decided that trial and error would be his guide. A scientist, Kevin is no stranger to experimentation, referring to his garden on the Sunshine Coast as more of a Noah’s Ark of plants than a traditional garden.

“I found that in general, if I flip the sowing times by six months, I can grow most of the vegies I used to in Tasmania,” says Kevin.

“There are some plants that don’t do well, but in these cases, there is another variety that is similar that thrives in this climate. Although I do miss broad beans!”

Kevin is busy sowing tomato seeds ready for planting in autumn, growing not only the cherry tomatoes popular in northern gardens, but also the large full-bodied tomatoes traditionally grown down south.

“Autumn is the golden time for sowing and growing here,” he says. “The weather is mild and the soil is still warm. It’s the best time to plant citrus, fruit trees, perennial vegies as well as your annuals like tomatoes, beans, sweet basil and kale.”

Moving around the world from Pennsylvania to California, Alaska and then Tasmania, Kevin has experienced many climates and growing conditions, relating Pennsylvanian summers to Queensland growing conditions, although he admits the winters were indeed very different.

“When I was living in Alaska I used to get a few months off at a time and I loved to visit Asia. I was in awe of their food and ingredients, many of which I now grow, like galangal, turmeric, lemongrass, chillies and Makrut limes.”

 A Diggers member for over 10 years and passionate about plants and food, Kevin’s business, Sustainable Cuisine, offers catering and landscaping, as well as unusual plants and garden advice for the local area.

“We love catering parties with food that keeps people guessing. At the Christmas party we had a few fruits that had everyone asking … what is that? It’s great to be able to get others excited about unusual foods, especially those that they can grow themselves.”


“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

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.

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

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

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Kevin Redd

A former, restauranteur and current educator, caterer and self-professed plant geek!

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