Tickets are on sale from today to the Margaret River region’s Edible Gardens Festival, coming May 11&12 and featuring open gardens, workshops and a free community sundowner.

The annual gardening and sustainability festival has sold out in the past three years, so organisers Trevor Paddenburg and Valerie Vallee are urging people to get in quick to secure their spot and avoid disappointment. See the Edible Gardens Festival website for tickets and info.

“With only a week until Valentine’s Day, we reckon a ticket to one or both days of the Edible Gardens Festival would make the perfect present for green thumbs,” said Ms Vallee. “We’ve also donated 10 free tickets to the Margaret River Community Pantry to make learning more about food-growing and gardening more accessible to its patrons.”

Margaret River Mitre 10 is again supporting the event, boosting last year’s 10 per cent discount to a fantastic 20 per cent off all fruit trees, potted plants and seedlings for ticket-holders in the seven days following the festival.

For the first time, there will be Saturday and Sunday day tickets priced at $15 each, with four different open edible gardens each day from 9am-1pm. That’ll be followed by small-group, 90-minute workshops ticketed separately in the afternoons on topics including mastering composting, wicking beds and other waterwise tips, advanced soil management, and garden tool maintenance – hosted by expert teachers at Fair Harvest Permaculture, which is also the official campground for the event and will be serving food and drinks at the café.

To cap the weekend off, festival-goers who get in early can reserve a ticket to the free community sundowner where there are plans for an expert gardener Q&A panel, live music, raffle, door prizes, hot food and drinks. “After a big weekend of inspiration and learning, the sundowner is a fabulous chance to come together, connect and share your passion for growing and sustainability,” said Ms Vallee.

Already confirmed on the program is nutritionist-turned-food producer Amy Dyson’s leased garden plot, where she indulges her passion for growing brassicas, bitter greens and heirloom vegetables, with expert advice on improving sandy soil, battling weevils and using a polytunnel to boost productivity. Meanwhile, the Witchcliffe Ecovillage featured in last year’s festival and a different collection of more than a dozen Ecovillage gardens will be on the 2024 program, making it a one-stop-shop to see a broad range of approaches and techniques to edible gardening.

Also featuring is Karridale couple Gary and Lisa Browne’s pumping veggie patch, newly planted orchard and market garden where they grow some of the best garlic in the South-West (festivalgoers can hear their top garlic-growing tips and tricks). And there will be a behind-the-scenes tour of the Glenarty Road farm market garden, where head gardener Martine Suprenant grows enough food every week for more than 500 restaurant meals thanks to meticulous succession planting. “We’re really excited for the festival and can’t wait share our garden and growing tips with everyone who comes to visit,” said Martine.

Mr Paddenburg said the event wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of local groups and businesses including the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Margaret River Regional Environment Centre, Fair Harvest Permaculture, Margaret River Mitre 10, Yates Australia’s organic range, South West Tree Services, Shogun Tools, Shelter Brewing Co and Stella Bella Wines.

“It’s a real privilege to play a role in connecting community and empowering people with knowledge and inspiration to get their hands dirty, grow their own food and have fun in the process,” Mr Paddenburg said. “Whether you’re already growing your own food or want to make a start, the festival is the perfect chance to get up close and personal with experienced green thumbs and tap into an immense bank of local, place-based knowledge to help you on your food-growing journey.”