I first came across VEG (Very Edible Gardens) a few years back when I was researching chicken coops and someone recommended that I take a look at what VEG were creating. Their gardening systems and straight forward approach to building an edible garden was refreshingly simple! Very Edible Gardens is based in Brunswick (VIC) and is run by Adam Grubb and Dan Palmer and their enthusiastic team. They were involved in starting the permablitz network (community days for making over someone’s space to implement a permaculture design), and created VEG as their opportunity to also make a living doing what they loved. I discovered that there is more to VEG than just chicken coops. They offer permaculture design, courses and workshops (including their own permaculture certificate), landscaping and they have a little warehouse that makes the chook houses and kitset veggie beds from sustainable timber.
Adam explains that “Very Edible Gardens exists to create healthy abundant lives, livelihoods, communities and landscapes; which we do largely by designing and creating edible ecosystems. Ultimately we want a city a little like that Simpson’s episode where Homer goes to chocolate land, and you can eat pretty much anything. Only a slightly healthier version, with actual fruit and nut trees and veggies everywhere. The city as an integrated, abundant, edible ecosystem.”
What kind of garden do you have? I live with my wife and a housemate on a 8th of an acre inner city block. Anything that is not house or path is growing something, mostly food plants.
What would we find growing in your garden? An integrated mix of food producing plants (fruit trees, berries, perennial vegetables) mixed with support plants and flowers that bring in beneficial insects and wildlife. Plus some veggie beds. Right now bulbs are blooming and fruit trees are blossoming and it looks especially beautiful.
How would you describe your gardening style? I like the cottage garden aesthetic, but the business caters to quite formal styles too. But I love bringing the food back into the cottage garden. You just replace the ornamental fruit trees with actual ones and the flowers with flowering companion plants. It’s like food growing by stealth.
What’s your favourite fruit or vegetable to grow and why? Bananas. At first it was for the novelty. But bananas ripened in cooler weather, though they take longer, seem to taste better. Inner city Melbourne it turns out is plenty warm enough to grow them in the right spot. We have several varieties and we’ve had around 12 bunches in the last couple of years, plus you can eat the core of the suckers and the flowers.
Favourite gardening tool? Right now I love my new stirrup hoe. It feels a little like doing that trick where you pull a tablecloth out so quickly the crockery remains. The weeds stay right where they were, like they don’t even know they’re dead yet, while their roots are totally severed.
Your favourite type of tomato? The mystery one that grows out of the compost and surprises you.
Garden gnomes: Yes or no? Well I haven’t told many people this but I’m actually partially descended from garden gnomes (although I’m quite tall so you might not know it to look at me). Seriously, you should see my dad. So yes.
You can find out more about Very Edible Gardens by visiting their website: www.veryediblegardens.com