Meet the team
Frances – the Earthwise Gardener
Some of my happiest childhood memories are of holidays on a family farm tucked away in a river valley west of Sydney. I’d head out with my basket to harvest sun-warmed tomatoes for us to eat on toast for breakfast. The fresh eggs were a bigger challenge as they had to be snuck out from under an indignant hen. Toast was made over the coals with a long fork; getting it browned without it falling off and burning was a challenge but it tasted completely different to any toast I’ve had since. There was homemade plum jam to spread on it, topped with the thick Jersey cream skimmed off the billy of milk. Back home with parents who simply didn’t garden, I attempted my first around the age of 10. It was pretty disappointing. The thin Hawkesbury sandstone soil was uncooperative and I raised blisters digging up the rocky ground. My first crops resembled bonsai versions of the tomatoes, corn and watermelons I was trying to grow. One part of the garden produced abundantly, with a great sprawling pumpkin vine. It grew out of the compost heap and it taught me that a garden begins with the soil.