Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden’s Food Garden

Sometimes referred to as a Community Garden, the Food Garden within the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is not for general community consumption – in terms of eating the produce.  Regardless of notices, some visitors think they can take one or more pieces of fruit and vegetable for their own use (please take photos but don’t take produce). Recently the entire large crop of pears was picked and stolen by a person or persons unknown. What’s that about – that’s a commercial take not a personal need! To take such actions is to deny food to people serviced by the charity Second Bite to which all the Food Garden’s produce is sent. To leave people to go hungry is a tragedy.  Nevertheless, the staff and my fellow volunteers continue to dig, plant, nurture and harvest food to help others. Apart from the value of feeding people via Second Bite, seeing the growth patterns of the edible plants is a brilliant educational tool. Before I volunteered that was how I viewed the Food Garden – it was my guide to what to plant when, to understand when a crop should be picked, and to know when to remove or prune plants.  Better than a book!

Last Thursday’s harvest was another wonderful and enormous collection that will feed many people.  The harvest included dozens of kilos of a variety of ripe red and unripe green tomatoes, a bucket of passionfruit, quinces and more than a few pumpkins from an extraordinary proliferation – the orange ones are the Cinderella pumpkins I talked about and showed in blog posts in 2021 and 2022.  Use my blog’s search engine to find those stories if interested.

The next photo shows more, as yet unpicked, pumpkins. Collectively these provide a useful learning experience – the seeds of last year’s Cinderella pumpkins were germinated by the nursery and a variety of shapes, sizes and colours grew. It is a reminder that the bees, which pollinate, may have already been rustling around in the flowers of other pumpkin types in the neighbourhood, flown to my garden and transferred pollen leading to the new looks, styles and flavours.

Elsewhere the giant pumpkins were massive – just for show not for eating.  These are terrific crowd pleasers.

It was a scatty day weather wise, much of which we worked through in drizzle. The weeds still grow. Fertiliser still needs to be applied. Seedlings need to be planted. Mulch needs to be laid and spread. Plant life continues its relentless cycle. There is never a finish date in gardening. My fellow volunteers, and presumably gardeners the world over, relish those evolutions and changes. We continue to be surprised with joy as stems burst through the soil, flowers unfurl, and fruits ripen.

A couple of garden beds were prepared, mulched and then Kale seedlings planted.

Elsewhere beds were weeded before mulching.

So the productive work of the Food Garden continued.

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