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Get divine tasting vegetables
Heirloom Vegetables: Some of the Heirloom Tomatoes from Diggers Club (Image Supplied)
In 2016, we saw the very first Heirloom Weekend at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, when thousands of people discovered the delights of growing heirloom vegetables, plants, seeds and produce.
Heirloom vegetables are those which have been bred over many decades because they are tasty, flavoursome, hardy and productive. This contrasts with the hybrid strains of vegetables sold by most supermarkets, which are developed to look (rather than taste) good, transport easily, and store for long periods.
The benefits of heirloom produce have long been known to enthusiastic gardeners, with many people growing only heirloom tomatoes at home. I have also grown heirloom varieties of banana capsicum, and even heirloom zucchinis in three different colours.
The free Heirloom Weekend is a joint venture between the Botanic Gardens Adelaide and the Diggers Club garden shop. It is a fun way for new or experienced gardeners to brush up on their skills, and find out what heirloom seeds and plants are available to plant this year. It's being held on both Saturday and Sunday of the weekend, and focuses not only on plants, but heirloom produce and animal breeds too.
Heirloom Produce at the 2016 Heirloom Weekend (Image: Adelaide Botanic Gardens)
While there are important themes behind using heirloom stock, this weekend has plenty fun things to do too. Free things to do are happening all weekend, and the little ones haven't been forgotten with a range of free activities for kids (playing giant Jenga, bocce, croquet, skittles) on offer.
Watch free cooking demonstrations with the SA Italian Association or come to the free gardening talks. If you're not sure what heirloom fruit and vegetables that you can grow at home, then take a look at the heirloom produce display.
Free Workshops in the Schomburgk Pavilion at the Heirloom Weekend
A choice of three free workshops are being held in the Schomburgk Pavilion on both days, so don't miss out on the chance to learn about
how to preserve heirloom tomatoes and favourite vegetables
gardening tips and tricks with the expert Diggers team
a variety of cooking demonstrations
There's no need to sit down all day at the Heirloom Weekend though. Join a free guided walk with one of the knowledgeable volunteer guides (10.30am, 11.30am and 1pm daily). Delight in the colourful art at the First Creek Wetlands, or marvel at the majesty of the award-winning Bicentennial Conservatory. If you look carefully you may even spot the original Adelaide Lunatic Asylum Morgue, now used as a gardeners' shed.
On Saturday take a Masterclass with Rebecca Sullivan, Costa Georgiadis and Clive Blazey, The Guru's of Preserving and Gardening Skills Masterclass ($89-99). For Sunday the Masterclass is with Sophie Thomson, Clive Blazey and Laura Cassai, Pick, Preserve and Partake in the Autumn Harvest Masterclass ($89-99). Bookings are essential for both.
To find out more about this heavenly weekend for gardeners and foodies, see the Botanic Gardens Adelaide website or the Facebook event page. The Diggers Club Facebook page is also a great source of information.
There's more news coming out every day about the Heirloom Weekend, so check back occasionally for updates.