Winter in the Kitchen Garden

The cooler weather has brought stunning seasonal changes to Riverdale's Kitchen Garden.  The garden and the grounds are swathed in the fiery hues of Autumn.  The crisp mornings, warm days and intermittent light rains still encourage the last of the cherry tomatoes and an abundance of herbs - mint, lemon balm, fennel and rosemary to name but a few.  The pumpkins are ripening nicely and along with the amaranth flowers, display a stunning contrast to the deeper colours of the earth. 

Pumpkin & Amaranth

What plant is that?

Quiz time! Can you guess what vegetable plant the flowers belong to? 

Sometimes we forget that vegetable plants are like any other flowering plant - they too have a full life cycle with flowers! Often we do not witness the flowering stage, which is a stunning colourful addition to the garden. 

Have fun guessing the plants from A - F and only then read the answers below. You may learn something and be surprised!



(A = Zucchini, B = Coriander, C = Artichoke, D = Chives, E = Brown Onion, F = Fennel) 

Yoga Retreat Weekend

Over last weekend from the 11th to the 13th of November, sixteen people enjoyed a weekend Yoga Retreat run by Annie Belcher. 

It consisted of yoga classes in the mornings and evenings with delicious and healthy food prepared by chef Paolo Tancredi Arlotta, a former Vue de Monde chef!

The Space provided the perfect place to practice yoga, listening to the birds chirping and wind blowing with a view out into the bush.

In our free time we enjoyed the gardens, went walking along the Lilydale-Warburton trail and swam in the Yarra River to cool off and refresh.

In addition to that, there was a Bushfoods talk and garden walk on Saturday run by Anika.

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Planting time!

As spring’s sun starts to set onto the land the plants are sparkling, bathing in delight. The colourful flowers are showing their heads; leaning into the sun, open wide for pollination. Our bees are buzzing about all excited, creating a soft hum in the gardens. The chickens are laying eggs regularly now and some are even getting clucky and extending their stay in the nest boxes.

We are picking the last of winter’s harvest of oranges, lemons, silver beet and spinach and making room for summer’s selection. The last few weeks have consisted of lots of planting of vegies such as zucchini, cucumber, beetroot, carrot, celeriac, cabbage, lettuce, basil, eggplant, peas, broad beans and much more! They will be ready for harvesting in a couple of months to share with you!

Let us know if you want to be part of our organic vegetable box weekly delivery by commenting below, or getting in touch here.

How big can a zucchini get?

Have you ever noticed that all zucchini’s that you buy at the supermarket are always the same size? I began to think that zucchini’s naturally grow to this size and then stop! However, when you grow them yourself, it’s surprising how large they can get! They don’t stop growing! We have found some astonishingly large zucchini’s growing at our kitchen garden at Riverdale, up to 40cm long! They seem to grow to these large sizes in only a few days! People have always been surprised when we show them our large zucchini’s. It feels as if we are the only people that grow such large ones!

However, recently, I was travelling in the northern Himalayas of India in Ladakh. They live in a moonland desert of mountains covered in rocks without any greenery. The limited water comes from glaciers that they cleverly irrigate into their vegetable gardens. Every household grows their own organic vegetables to sustain themselves, as there is limited food available otherwise. In the main town, women lay out their vegetables on the pavements for sale. To my great delight I saw large zucchinis for sale, just like ours!

It’s amazing how we can find similarities with people and connect on basic things like growing vegetables when we live worlds apart in completely different environments!