the backyard vegetable!
Why not have a go at growing your own fresh food?
We work with you to give you the skills to get
started with your own vegie patch.
Ongoing support, on line or in person, is
available to help you become self sufficient in
managing your patch season by season.
Note: planting and harvest times are based
on conditions in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.
Cold winter days:
Too wet to get outside and keep warm by tending the garden?
What better time to snuggle up with a hot cuppa and a good book!
Learn how to grow garlic with Penny Woodward's new book, or be
inspired by the stories of Melbourne's inner city community gardeners.
See these and other books reviewed. (Books)
Does your garden look dull and bare in winter? It needn't.
Check out some of the plants that will brighten your winter days:
Go to: Season by season: Winter
peas, radish, Asian greens, rocket, spring onions, turnips.
Plant in August: rhubarb and asparagus crowns, yacon
For more details, see: Season by season: Early Spring
Harvesting now: chilies, cumquats, lemons, broccoli, kale, silverbeet, parsley, mustards,
salad greens including miners' lettuce, mandarins, tangelos, oranges and
the last of the persimmons and cumquats.
Note: We have vegetable seedlings and plants for bees ready for sale: For sale
This month's favourite: Citrus
Cumquats are nearly finished for the season,
but tangelos are starting to ripen up. They're
still very tart, and squeezed with oranges,
make delicious juice.
They can also be used in baking. Try these:
1.5 cups SRF
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/4 cup powdered milk
1/2 teaspn bicarb soda
1-2 handfuls sultanas or currants
6 cumquats, roughly chopped, seeds removed
1 tangelo, roughly chopped, seeds removed
1 large egg
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 - 1/2 cup water
Turn oven to 190C; grease a muffin pan.
Sift dry ingredients; puree citrus fruit, egg, oil
Mix puree into dry ingredients and sultanas,
adding a little more water if too stiff.
Spoon mix into muffin tray. Bake for 15
minutes or until muffins spring back when
the backyard vegetable is now on facebook!
Why grow your own vegies??
Home grown vegetables are fresh, involve minimal food miles and,
compared to commercially grown food, use less water and fewer pesticides.
For taste, nothing beats home grown produce.
Freshly picked vegetables and herbs have higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants.
Even a small vegetable patch in a backyard can be highly productive.
(With good conditions one tomato plant can produce up to 10kg of fruit over many weeks.)
Options for small spaces like balconies are possible,
as are small raised beds, if that is what you need.
We often recommend a no-dig garden as a good way to start a food garden:
- it is easy to set up on an unused patch of lawn or garden
- it is easy to convert back to lawn whenever you want to
- it is easy to add to if you want to grow more
- it is suitable for rental properties
- it is a good way to involve children in food gardening
The photos on this website are from an ordinary back (and front) yard in the
eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
During the year of 2012 this yard produced more than 590kg of food, with a
value of almost $1800 (prices based on conventional produce from our local
greengrocer. Organic prices would be at least double that.)
For 2013 the garden has produced over 430kg of food, plus nearly 19 dozen
eggs, with a total value of more than $1900.
Despite having an intensively gardened property, our average mains water
use is 90 - 95 litres per person per day because we use rainwater and grey water,
and because the soil is very rich in organic matter.
The gardener juggles family responsibilities and work as well, so producing
these amounts of food is clearly not a full time occupation.
Our backyards are valuable!