The New Zealand Edible Garden Show - Everything Tasty About Gardens, is the latest event to be added to The Hawke's Bay A & P Society's event calendar at the Hawke's Bay Showgrounds in Hastings.

Business Development Manager Hilary Riches said the February show is based on a proven template in the United Kingdom and targeted at lifestyle block holders and people who are proud of their gardens, seeking to get closer to a healthy lifestyle.

It will have four key components: food, garden, barnyard animals and landscape design, she said.

"It will be modelled something similar to the Ellerslie Flower and Chelsea Flower Show but is very much about the edible garden," she said.


"It will combine education, information, entertainment and sales - a family fun day out."

The food component will be about effective cooking of backyard food.

"This is about relishes and sauces, not about cooking steak. We'll have preserving, cheese making, guest celebrity chefs, competitions, trade shows and product demonstrations.

"The garden show will have an expert's theatre, helping those who are not sure what to grow in their garden and kids' potting sheds. Animals will be about poultry, pig breeding, milking goats and miniature cattle.

"The landscape design element will be all about beautiful garden. We will give them an area very much like the Ellerslie Flower Show where they will set up their garden and have it judged. We will have an education centre for visiting schools - a lot of schools have gardens now. It's all very exciting."

One of the exhibitors is Havelock North edible garden advocate Janet Luke, who feeds her family primarily from their half-acre garden.

"A lot of people view their gardens as ornamental places - a pretty, flowery place with lots of lawn space, but you can make it a really productive place with lots of vegetable gardens, micro livestock and fruit trees," she said.

"It is amazing what you can do in a small space. We're really lucky in Hastings because the council is pro-sustainable living and allows livestock in town. I like to pretend I'm a little farmer but I live in the middle of Havelock."


She farms rabbits for meat and pelts, chickens for eggs, Japanese quails for meat and eggs, bees for honey and has two milking goats.

"I never need to buy milk, it's great."

She said goats are great escape artists and had to be tethered. At night, they are popped into their own goathouse.

A neighbouring school lets her graze a gully.

She said meat was not a problem. "Rabbits breed like rabbits. With one buck and two females, you can basically eat rabbit meat once a week."

The rabbits are fed scraps, grass, weeds and rabbit pellets.

She taught herself how to butcher them.

"It's amazing what you can learn on YouTube."

She has not yet decided the exact form of her Edible Garden display at February's show.

"I'd really love to set up an example garden there, with a mini permaculture garden with all the ideas you can use in a small urban space but to become more self sufficient. Things like the chickens, bantams and the small vegetable garden, fruit trees on dwarf root stocks so they grow quite small - those sorts of ideas."

She said while her home garden was not the prettiest, it was very functional.

"It is set up along permaculture ideas, which means it is very low maintenance. I get my chickens to do all my gardening for me. They live in a chicken tractor that is the same shape as my vegetable garden beds.

"So once I harvest, the chickens go on to that garden bed for three or four weeks and they eat all the weeds and all the broccoli that has gone to seed and manure it. Then I move them off and I plant directly into it.

"If you garden like this, it is never going to be pristine and perfect looking but it will be very low maintenance.

"If you have kids or are working, that it is what you want. You don't want to be a slave to the spade all the time."