November 2021 View Online

Dear Fellow Gardener

Welcome to the MONTH 2020 newsletter from Sophie's Patch in the Adelaide Hills, SA. Each month I share what has been happening in and around my patch of garden in the Adelaide Hills, as well as some of my adventures further afield.  I hope you enjoy reading it. Sophie Thomson.

Ok so this is the November newsletter from Sophie’s Patch and it's going out on the last day of October, as next week we will be too busy with Spring Open Garden. 

In this Newsletter


This week has been eventful with a firm date being released by our SA Premier Steven Marshall for the start of the road out after the pandemic hit the world almost 2 years ago. South Australia has been very fortunate in how it has reinvented and progressed during this time and unsurprisingly I feel that the changes for me are exemplified by my garden, and the way in which people turned to theirs for solace and a new understanding of the benefits of gardening.
Dare I say it…. I can’t remember my garden looking better for an open garden and as I write this, I think of the pleasure it gives people when they visit…. be it for Open Gardens, special events or garden tours, and it makes it all worth it.  I also feel thankful that having developed this patch over 10 years into a highly productive, sustainable garden, I was able to donate produce to those in need during a difficult time last year.  I have also loved the opportunity to work with experts who have guided me in growing Sophie's Patch over the years as they share their knowledge at our educational events. 

Less than a week to our Spring Open Garden November 6-8

As always, I am looking forward to Spring Open Garden over the 3 days of November 6-8.  This year I feel the weather gods particularly have conspired with me to pay homage to our environment in the Adelaide Hills to bring out the best in Sophie's Patch. However, nothing beats my feelings of joy when meeting and seeing people of all ages and levels of gardening enjoying my garden smiling happily as they explore every nook and cranny.
Looking forward to seeing you.  Covid regulations require ticketed entry and you can prebook tickets to make entrance quicker at and all info and pictures of what you can expect are available at
Book Tickets Now

Don't miss out on booking your savoury food or cakes!!


Spring Harvest Power Bowl (Savoury)

If you would like to enjoy a delicious Spring Harvest Power Bowl you must pre book by this Wednesday. Chef Heather Hristovski and her team of international students have created a savoury meal with Roasted Spring Vegetables, ancient seeds and grains, fresh mesclun, creamy fetta and falafel which combine to be pretty, delicious, and healthy!    This lunch includes long ferment sourdough by Basket Range Baker, and gluten free crackers for people who are gluten intolerant.  This must be booked in advance as we are unlikely to have any spare on the day.  $19

Sweet Tasting Box

This box includes three pieces of different cake made with Sophie's Patch produce.  Each is unique and delicious and it can be hard to choose a favourite.  One box is enough for one, or can be shared with a friend. $12. I recommend that you book this in advance as we normally sell out.

Learn, Shop, Play at the Open Garden

swan plant
  • Specialists and Experts - to answer questions and share enthusiasm and knowledge.
  • Nurseries and Garden Art  with beautiful plants and art for sale.
  • Free kids activities on Saturday and Sunday
  • Coffee from the Coffee Van, and Tea/filter coffee from the 'Cafe' near the house
  • Unlimited photo opportunities.
More details about parking, address, not to bring dogs, what to bring, our compostable rubbish, refunds and Covid requirements are on the website.

Around the Patch

The garden is really looking stunning. Usually by now the hills and paddocks around us are starting to dry out, however this year with good rains everything is still green and the growth in my garden also looks stunning. We have also had a much milder winter than normal, with fewer and milder frosts, resulting in less frost damage than we would usually see.  

In the Vegie Patch

The bees, birds and other beneficial insects are everywhere, and my night-time wanders also reveal lots of frogs, particularly Eastern banjos or pobble bonks. Frogs and snails that is, so I usually spend time outside snail stomping, as while I do have a flock of ducks which certainly helps, with two acres of garden, there are a lot of snails. 
The main vegie garden is looking full and abundant with winter crops; however, the windstorms of the last few days have put an end to some of my stunning rainbow chards, many of which were taller than me. Nothing goes to waste though so we have eaten it, given lots away, and also shared with our flock. I usually don’t plant our warm season crops till early November, typically after our Spring Open Garden, when the risk of frost is over, and the soil is finally warm enough.
Currently the soil here in my part of the Adelaide Hills has just hit 16 degrees which is the temperature tomatoes can start to go in, however I would need to cover them if there is a frost. While it does seem milder and the risk of frost less likely, the reality is that I won’t actually have time to get the planting done till after open garden anyway. My vertical vegies which look so good each autumn for our Easter Open Garden like growing in really warm soil, so don’t get planted out till the soil is at around 18 degrees or more which can be as late as early December and still give me great harvests. Some years I have even sowed them in the week between Christmas and New year with great results. 

My To Do list...

We have been busy in the kitchen, and in the garden, preparing for open garden next weekend,  We have been making sure we have enough cake as there would be nothing worse than running out of cake, and I have also been busy making elderflower cordial. Usually by now the elderflower hedge below the vegie patch would have been in flower for weeks, but as it is running late this year I have only just been able to start making cordial now. 
Out in the garden, there is much still to do. Many of the tasks on our ‘to do’ list aren’t related to having our garden open, they are the usual jobs that need to be done at this time of year anyway…… like mulching with pea straw or woody mulch, setting up and redoing the irrigation in the overflow vegie patch now that the beds have been raised, planting a hedge against the paddock where I got overzealous and pruned the existing plants so hard that some died!? ….. and the list goes on. There are also the messy dumping areas that need to be tidied!!!  

reGrowth Garden Recovery

group talk
For most of Australia, the Black Summer bushfires are a distant memory and since March 2020 COVID has become our main focus. However, for those living in bushfire affected regions of Australia, and those personally affected by the fires, losing their homes, gardens, farms or businesses, they are reminded of the fires every single day. It's why I remain committed to help these communities recover and have been spending time working with them.

Over the last two weeks I have delivered four workshops to the communities of Harrogate and Brukunga in the Adelaide Hills and have also been part of the Lobethal Gardening Festival. Workshop topics included starting your patch from scratch, vegie growing, dealing with garden pest and diseases and a wicking bed workshop. At Lobethal my focus was on the importance of gardening and connecting to nature for our personal and community health and wellbeing. 

Sheet Mulching Grafted Fruit Trees for KI

One of the big jobs around Sophie’s Patch that has only just been finished is sheet mulching the 200+ fruit trees I am growing on for fire affected gardeners on KI for delivery next winter 2022. These were grafted by Wez Redden following our grafting workshop back in July and while I did get them planted on time, and fenced off to protect them from my curious and often destructive flock of geese, I hadn’t got around to mulching them to reduce the competition from weeds, nor set up a watering system for them so I have been watering by hand with a hose. 
Sophie Thomson and Governor General David Hurley
I also continue to work to support the Kangaroo Island Community and will be back there next week spending time in Kingscote and Parndana. I am excited to be attending the Parndana Show and opening it officially, as well as helping with judging and doing a Gardening Q & A session. To be honest, for the opening of the show I am really just filling in for the His Excellency, General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), as he couldn’t make it from interstate with current COVID border restrictions. He has spent a lot of time supporting Kangaroo Island and the fire affected residents on the western half of the Island and I had the opportunity to meet him when he popped in to see us building the Parndana Community Garden back in March 2020. We had a great conversation about wicking beds and at some stage I recall he said he needed some for his garden!? 

Out and About

Over the next month I will be out and about in communities around South Australia.

Kangaroo Island – 12th – 15th November – the specifics of my program of garden talks and workshops is being finalised at the moment, but you can catch me at the Parndana Show on the 13th November, in Kingscote on Friday night 12th, Sunday afternoon 14th and Monday morning 15th at the Kangaroo island Community Centre. Stay tuned to my social media for exact talk times and topics.

Brukunga Community Afternoon Event - Saturday 27th November from 2-4pm at Brukunga Hall for a Free Afternoon of family activities including Face Painting, Native Animals, Free tea, coffee, milkshakes and cake, and at 2pm I will be talking about Gardening for Wellbeing. CFS and Red Cross will be there with information and to chat and answer questions. To register for this free event visit

I'll also be on Eyre Peninsula at Cowell, Cleve and Kimba from the 4th to 6th December. Details of the program in each town will be shared on my social media as soon as it's confirmed. 

Coming Up 

Stay tuned to my calendar for other events closer to the time.

Group Tours

We have had a number of garden tours recently, and as I often write, I think these are one of the best ways to see our place as I take the group on a personally guided tour of my patch followed by morning tea or coffee with our delicious cakes made from our home grown produce. So, if you can get a group of 30 or more people together, contact us via . 

Give Away

This newsletter I'm giving away two more tickets for two to our Spring Open Garden.  Because of the short time frame they will be drawn Monday and need to be accepted Monday before we offer them to another reader, so keep an eye on your emails!
Happy gardening!



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