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Feed your soil and enjoy the harvest

Community Manager
Community Manager



Experienced Horticulturist Cath loves sharing her deep knowledge and passion for gardening. Her most important advice is to “feed your soil, not your plants”.


“This is one of the most important tips that I could share,” says Cath from her beautiful property on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. “A thriving garden comes from healthy soil and plants access nutrients from the soil. So healthy soil equals healthy plants.”


After running a successful landscape gardening business, Cath established Soil to Supper four years ago to educate people and help them gain the skills they need to grow, harvest and cook their own food. She offers personalised workshops with advice and action plans.


“I wanted to share my knowledge to inspire others to enjoy gardening, connect with nature and enjoy fresh food,” Cath explains. “I noticed a gap in the areas of connecting gardening with cooking and wanted to share ideas with people to grow and cook their own food.”

Cath has an infectious passion for gardening.Cath has an infectious passion for gardening.


Passion for gardening


Testimonials from budding gardeners attest to Cath’s infectious and inspirational passion for gardening. When asked what she loves about gardening, Cath replies: “lots of things!”


“I love fresh air, picking flowers and things to snack on, listening to birds, watching bugs and just immersing myself in nature,” she says. “I also love dirt, so getting my hands dirty is loads of fun for me!”


Cath first worked as a dressmaker after studying fashion technology, then managed two retail clothing stores before studying horticulture. But while it is clear that Cath is a woman of many talents, it’s remarkable she now spends much of her time public speaking given that just the thought of it used to cause her panic attacks.


“One of my goals was to be able to speak conformably in front of groups of people to inspire them,” Cath says. “I didn’t know what that would be, but it was just one of my life goals. Now I love speaking in front of groups of all sizes, and sometimes people can’t shut me up! It just shows that you can achieve anything you put your mind to.”


As a teenager, Cath was inspired to enjoy plants and get into gardening by her step-father. “He was, and still is, an avid gardener and inspired me to enjoy plants and start growing. At 84 he’s still growing food, flowers and bonsai.” Cath and husband Paul are passing on the same love of gardening to their boys Edison and Archey.


Gardening as therapy


Gardening can be incredibly therapeutic, Cath says. “I have used gardening as my therapy over the years, and found myself heading to the garden to help me through difficult times in my life and to be able to immerse myself and even lose myself in nature.”  


Cath is pleased to have noticed a significant increase in people’s interest in growing organic food. “In recent years there’s been a huge shift in the wellbeing/wellness industry, with people caring for their health.


"I think people are driven by the increase in illness and disease we are experiencing and many people know that healthy food helps to fuel a healthy body. Also many people are growing fresh food as it’s getting more expensive at the supermarket.”


The most common excuse that Cath hears as to why people don’t grow their own food is a lack of time. My view is that’s just a limiting belief that together we first work through,” Cath says.


“Many people think gardening or growing food takes so much time. I like to guide people through steps to make everything quick, easy and cost effective, so they have the confidence to try something, even if it’s a pot of herbs.


"I lead a busy life with running my business, caring for family, living on small acreage and growing my own food and I now schedule time, just about 30 minutes, every couple of days to keep on top of things. That’s all it takes!”


Cath says there are many other gardening myths that she commonly encounters. “Organic gardening is too hard, everything gets eaten by grubs. Gardening is expensive. Supermarket food is cheaper and better. Organic food is not better for you. Chemicals work the best… There’s loads more! Oh and you need to be a horticulturist to garden properly!”


Garden design


Living on a three-and-a-half acre property, Cath says the design for the garden was influenced by the French potager (vegetable or kitchen) garden.


“I have garden areas with perennial herbs growing amongst flowering shrubs. I’ve planted about 15 fruit trees, which have pumpkins rambling throughout the area. My kitchen garden is my favourite space as it’s filled with food, flowers, birds, my chooks and nice seating areas to relax. This is my garden therapy space as it has all the elements that I enjoy.”

Cath says you don't need to invest a lot of time to have a thriving garden.Cath says you don't need to invest a lot of time to have a thriving garden.


A former marathon runner, Cath tends to spend two or three hours working on her own garden each week. Most of my crops are planted and we are now enjoying the harvest.


"At the change of growing season, I spend more hours topping up my raised gardens, improving the soil, planting new crops and doing a good pruning if needed. I get excited at the change of season and love to get new seasonal crops growing.”


When asked her favourite plants to grow, Cath says Parsley is her “number one fave”. It’s packed with Vitamin C, more than citrus fruit, it’s easy to grow and has so many uses. I eat it every day.


“I love fresh greens, so always have lettuce, silverbeet, kale, rocket and Asian greens growing. Herbs are fabulous for cooking many dishes, so I always have them growing.


"Also fruits that I can put into my boys lunchboxes, for example passionfruit, oranges, yacon (Peruvian ground apple) and also seasonal foods like cucumber and cherry tomatoes are great for kids.


“Also I grow loads of support plants to use in my garden, like Comfrey, Pigeon Pea, Arrowroot and Lemongrass. These help to improve the soil and save time and money.”


Cath says she was drawn to the Workshop community as a way to inspire others to consider growing fresh food. “I love to share my skills, knowledge and experience with others, and enjoy having opportunities to inspire others.”

8 Replies
Making a Splash

Hi Cath,


I'm planning on putting in a nice big vertical garden in my backyard when my house is finished being built. Do you have any suggestions for some starter veggies for a complete novice to plant?


Having an Impact



Thanks for sharing your story.


I would love any tips for a gardening beginner, particularly on getting into growing vegies. Perhaps I should do some sort of course? Or is there a great book you could recommend? 



Making a Splash



Perhaps you could do a monthly or quarterly post here on Workshop with what we should be planting at this time of year. 

Making a Splash

Hi Cath, thank you so much for sharing your story. You certainly are a lady of many talents and living in that glorious part of the world no wonder gardening is one of them. You certainly gave me a 'light-bulb moment' with your suggestion - Feed your soil not your plants. How logical and sensible ! I am definately looking at my new 'garden to be' with new eyes and have already started to improve the soil by adding compost,etc..  I am trying to find lemongrass locally but have had no luck- only offers of seeds. Any suggestions??  I look forward to your future contributions on Workshop. Cheers

Community Manager
Community Manager



I see you have launched a weekly podcast. Congratulations. Feel free to share details about how people can listen and submit questions.



Just Starting Out

 Hi Cath,


I'm trying to plan a Japanese Garden in our new house.  Do you have any suggestions for types of plants to grow?  We are living in Tassie and sometimes it gets a little cold.  I was going to try some succulents, but am unsure if they will survive the rainfall.  And I'm very unsure of other plants which would work well in a Japanese Garden.  Suggestions greatly appreciated.  Thanks

Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi @Supermummy,


Many thanks for joining in the discussion. I will tag @CathM for you so she is notified of your question. Other Workshop members who are horticulturalists might also like to assist, including @Adam_W@Branchy249 and @DonnaE.


Let me also extend a very warm welcome to the Workshop community. It's fantastic to have you join us. Perhaps you could hit the Start a discussion button and create a new post in the gardening board with photos of your new house and garden so we can see what you are working with and you can document your Japanese garden transformation. I'm sure our community members would enjoy following your journey and provide a lot of advice and inspiration along the way.


Please let me know if you need a hand getting the most from the site.





Cultivating a Following

Hi @Jason @Supermummy @maknilsin @AHoy @RenoQueen @Trying


I'm just reading all your lovely comments (sorry I'm so behind with repleis!) Thanks for connecting with me!!


@maknilsin a vertical garden is fabulous for growing in small spaces. Try starting with herbs and leafy greens as they seam to do best in small growing spaces. Asian greens, like Bok Choy, would grow really well along with small herbs like parsley, chives and also rocket! I have a podcast episode on this topic. Listen in here -


@AHoy I have a few podcast episodes on getting started and planning your garden, and also have a great course '5 Steps to become a Savvy Gardener' in my Soil to Supper Membership Community. Here's a few links that may guide you to growing success!!


@RenoQueen I'd be happy to post here each season with a few tips on what to do and grow! I've actually written articles for what to do in each month of the year, so you may also find those helpful. Start here for April... and just search for each month after that!


@Trying have a look at for lemongrass seeds. Also add Comfrey to your soil to build up health! I've published quite a bit on the soil health topic as I'm a big fan of dirt! You may find this article helpful... plus I have a few podcast episodes on soil, so have a look through here...


@Supermummy a japanese garden is so exciting!! I'd suggest planting conifers and blossom trees as they are very 'japanese-style' and also suit your cliamte. Look for low growing ground covers and also mid height shrubs to add interest at all levels. Rocks are also an important part of japanese/zen gardens, so use 2 or 3 various rock colours and sizes. Maybe look on Pinterest for a few ideas!


Again, sorry for the very late reply to you all. I've enjoyed a busy start to the year with my online community and also expanding my horticultural therapy programs...and a few big events added into the mix!


Please post any questions you have or comments, and also please keep me updated on how you're growing. I'd love to stay in touch!


Have a fabulous day,

Cath :smile: 


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