Gardeners looking after gardeners on Kangaroo Island

The wicking bed vegetable garden built by Kangaroo Island journalist Stan Gorton in spring has flourished over the summer despite the bushfires and water shortages.
The wicking bed vegetable garden built by Kangaroo Island journalist Stan Gorton in spring has flourished over the summer despite the bushfires and water shortages.

Kangaroo Island Garden Club

Gardeners always help other gardeners, they share knowledge, plants, cuttings, seeds, excess fruit and vegetables.

I remember a couple of years ago, when I was preparing for an Open Garden, I even had other gardeners offering to do some weeding for me!

Sophie Thomson, who we've all seen as the SA Presenter on Gardening Australia, rang me recently, offering to help gardeners on Kangaroo Island get their gardens going again after the fires which have destroyed so many vegetable, fruit and ornamental gardens.

She has vivid memories of the Ash Wednesday fires in the Adelaide Hills, where her family had a nursery.

She is keen to come over to do workshops on garden recovery after fire, and then be involved with developing or expanding community gardens to help grow fresh produce for fire affected gardeners, who are not yet in a position to replant or regrow their productive patches due to infrastructure damage.

These community gardens would give people the opportunity to get their hands back into the soil, and as gardeners already know, gardening is great for our physical and mental health and well-being.

So at this stage we are looking to develop a community garden at Parndana on land adjacent to the school with the involvement of the school and the community.

The school and a number of locals we have spoken to are very keen to be involved.

Sophie was involved in garden recovery after the Pinery and Sampson Flat fires, and has shared the following information, which you can find if you go to and click on "newsletters" at the top of the page. It's the "January 2020 Bushfire Edition".

Sophie talks about how the fire affects the soil, how to restore it before replanting.

Rebuilding the garden, with a plan, which can be broken down into small steps, with achievable projects.

There's also a list of links to other useful information. She is a great believer in wicking beds to grow vegetables, as they don't waste water and can be used in situations where tree roots are a problem.

A wicking bed is a closed system and can be built in a raised bed, lined with plastic, or made using a plastic Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC) cut in half.

If your vegetable garden or fruit trees have been affected by fire, and you have lost your ability to grow your own produce, please just email me at or phone 0428 955 598.

Anyone wanting to see wicking beds in use is welcome to visit my garden, Cockatoo Cottage, just contact me first.

Sophie also told me that she has had offers of vegetable seeds donations, and even Willunga Market people offering to grow vegie seedlings for people on KI to help with garden rebuilding! - Anne Morrison - President KI Garden Club

Club meeting

If you're in Kingscote on Tuesday, Feb. 25, you may want to come to the first KI Garden Club meeting of 2020. It is at the Kingscote Golf Club, Burdon Drive (note change of venue), at 1.30pm; visiting speaker Trevor Garard will talk about orchids - he is the president of the Orchid Club of SA, so should know a thing or two about them!

We'll have afternoon tea and a trading table - you don't have to be a member to attend, just bring a gold coin donation. This year the Club will support the NRM Nursery, which will grow local native plants for bushfire recovery.