Whenever Dr Diane Bogaers of Geo Vet in Busselton, WA, needs fruit and vegies, she just steps outside into her edible garden.
“About two-and-a-half years ago, we moved into a house on an acre of land at Busselton, three hours south of Perth. There were a few citrus trees and a small vegie garden but we wanted a completely edible garden.
“We now grow avocados, apples, pears, plums, apricots and mulberries. We grow all the different types of little berries such as raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, youngberries and marionberries. We have three passionfruit vines and all the citrus. Our vegie garden has dozens of different types of vegetables.
“I have two young children and they love the garden and the produce. They’ll go out and pick carrots and capsicums, give them a wash and eat them right off the plant. If I’m cooking dinner, I’ll send them out for whatever I need and stick it straight in the pot. We also have a few chickens so the kids will collect the eggs and they might dig up a sweet potato or two. It’s like having my own little farmhands.
“The quality of our homegrown produce is far superior to anything you can buy in the shops. The flavours are much more intense. My daughter, who’s six, won’t eat capsicums that come from anywhere other than our garden. She’ll just taste it and go, ‘That’s not one of ours’. She’s used to eating them straight off the plant.
“My three-year-old son loves working with me in the garden. He has his own set of gardening tools and we have a lovely time together. It’s not hard work at all; it’s more of a fun thing for me and the kids.
“There are a lot of other people in the area who also grow their own stuff. If I have an abundance of something, such as passionfruit, I can put it on a local website and we swap it for something else. I might swap excess passionfruit for tomatoes or strawberries. We also give a lot of stuff away to friends. When our fruit is in season, I make jam.
“One of my favourite eating plants is the Jerusalem artichoke. They’re quite rare in Australia and taste fantastic when roasted. The kids’ favourite produce is fresh berries on ice-cream.
“I love the look of our edible garden, particularly the avocado trees that are evergreen and just beautiful. We spent a long time looking for this property and now the trees are getting bigger and are going to produce more and more fruit. We’re never moving from this place.”