World Kitchen Garden Day was started by Kitchen Gardeners International.
Miraculously 18 people turned up to go on the walk I had organised to celebrate World Kitchen Garden Day 2012. Already the ground was saturated, everywhere you looked, in this part of Tasmania. Then it rained solidly all night.
At 7am I woke to silence…. “Hooray” I thought “The rain has passed and the day is going to be fine.” However, by 7.15 the sky was black, the wind once again burst through the trees and, seconds later, rain lashed the windows. I looked at the weather forecast…. snow above 200m, 60km/hour winds, max. of 11 degrees. Sigh…. such is winter in Tasmania.
It was still only 4 degrees at 9am and the pattern of rain and wind, then sunshine was persisting. I went on with my plans; finishing off a sign, having a good breakfast and packing my camera. I looked out my kitchen window and a rainbow appeared right over Burton’s Reserve, where the walk was to begin. A good omen!
The walk began at 11am so I was at the pre-arranged spot, sign (now covered in plastic) in hand….. waiting in brilliant sunshine! In previous years, there had been at least 20 people gathering around me as soon as I arrived, (Last year it was 60!!) Slowly, a few bright and happy souls joined in and we set off for stop 1: the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden at St. James School, just off the main street of Cygnet. By the time we got there, our numbers totalled 18. I was happy.
Chloe and Helen have been making a cob oven, seating and cooking area for the school. Their vast experience in such things, worldwide, is astounding. The clay for this project comes from a teacher’s property, just a few kms away. When the shelter is finished they will lime wash the cob construction and it will then be weather proof and ready to use. I can’t wait!
When the rain came over again, Marcus showed us inside the propagation shed of the kitchen garden, through the new poly tunnel and into the kitchen, where the students cook and eat what they have grown.
Marcus oversees the programme as well as teaching secondary school agriculture and landscaping, amongst other subjects.
At the library garden, Carol has made beautiful little signs for each of the plants so that people know which plants are edible, where they originate and how to use them. We encourage passers-by to nibble them and, by the looks of their small stature, I think either people or something are doing a fair bit of nibbling!
Next stop, Bruce and Kerry’s ….. Bruce had been down helping at the Scout Monster Garage Sale and just popped back home to show us around his very pretty property. As well as the food gardens he has several chooks and 3 friendly alpacas. What a place Cygnet is, where alpacas can live in a back yard, just a 1 minute walk from the shops!
A short stroll up past the oval is Carole and Keith’s picture postcard house and garden. One thing I learned from both Bruce and Keith is that citrus, when sheltered from frost by a shade cloth roof until well established, can cope very well in this frosty hollow. Of course, the shade cloth is removed during summer.
I am very envious of Keith’s little potting and growing shed, partly covered in laserlight…. and the blossom of the fruit trees, together with the view were just glorious….. but, inside, a real treat was waiting…..
This magnificent wood and electric oven is something I drool over every time I visit Carole. She must think I am totally loopy because I head over to it and touch it so often. The convenience of having some of it electric is such a good idea. It is a massive piece of Australian cast iron ingenuity but when I search on the internet, I cannot find mention of it. Called a Homestead Cooker, it could grace the homes of all Tasmanians.
Carole had heated soup and made cakes. I took some of my home made sourdough and it was nice to take off our jackets and scarves for a while and recharge the batteries.
Last stop was my place where I introduced people to a few plants they had not eaten before, such as broccoli raab, French sorrel and wild sorrel (which everyone thinks is a weed) as well as broad bean tips, miners’ lettuce and ornamental kale.
It had been a really lovely day and I am so grateful to everyone who showed us their projects and gardens. A special thank you goes to the enthusiastic couple who came over the snowy peaks from Hobart to tread the roads and lanes of Cygnet on this cold winter’s day.
You will find more photos of our walk here.