Clear skies after recent rain and a sell-out crowd made the weekend’s Edible Gardens Festival a huge success as almost 800 people turned out to learn more about gardening and food growing.

Eight diverse gardens across the Margaret River region were open to the community, with the gardeners giving guided tours and passing on tips for fruit and vegetable growing, building soil health, reducing waste through composting and worm farms, saving water and a huge range of other gardening and sustainability-related topics.

Sell-outs crowds of more than 350 people a day attended the open gardens on Saturday and Sunday. Another 120-plus people attended a series of in-depth afternoon workshops held at Fair Harvest Permaculture as part of the festival. And then festival-goers, volunteers and supporters got together to cap the weekend with a sundowner and “Gardener Q&A” at Gathered Organics, with live music from The Nomadics.

Festival organisers and local green thumbs Trevor Paddenburg and Valerie Vallee said the feedback was amazing, with people of all ages and all walks of life coming from locally, across the South-West and from Perth and further afield in WA for the not-for-profit annual event.

“Once again we were just blown away by the number of people who are really keen to learn more about soil, food growing and sustainability,” says Trev. “We just loved seeing how many amazing community connections were forged between our awesome gardeners, our fabulous team of volunteers, and everyone who attended. We’re still on a high after the weekend and I think most people who came to see the gardens are too!”

The organisers say the event will be back next year with a whole new swag of diverse gardens to tour, plus some exciting new additions to the festival program.

“We’re so grateful for the support from our gardeners and volunteers, as well as support from the Shire of Augusta Margaret River, Margaret River Regional Environment Centre and businesses including Margaret River Mitre 10, Yates’ organic range, South West Tree Services, Soil Dynamics, Shogun Tools, Shelter Brewing Co, Stella Bella Wines, Fair Harvest Permaculture, Gathered Organics, the Margaret River Busselton Tourism Association, Productive Ecology and Plumo Market Garden,” says Val.

“Don’t forget that you can get 20 per cent off all plants at Margaret River Mitre 10 this week until May 19 just by showing your festival ticket.

“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. Whether you’re already growing your own food or want to make a start, we hope the festival gave everyone the 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.”

On Saturday, gardens included Bill and Wendy Castleden’s plot which supplies fruit and veg for the whole family and local community groups; Scott and Mary Wood’s incredible DIY productive patch in Cowaramup; Sabine and Tony Lane’s low maintenance, high yield garden at Burnside; and the Cowaramup Community Garden’s wicking bed food garden.

On Sunday, there were 21 amazing edible gardens on display at Cluster 1B at the Witchcliffe Ecovillage; nutritionist-turned-food producer Amy Dyson and her partner Gareth Morgan’s quarter-acre leased garden plot at Witchcliffe; Gary and Lisa Browne’s 40-bed veggie patch, espalier orchard and garlic market garden; plus Karridale’s Glenarty Road farm market garden.

“Thanks so much to everyone who attended or supported this event. Sorry if you missed out on tickets – but get in early next year when we’ll be back with all new productive gardens and even more inspiration,” says Trev.