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.
October: late spring in the garden
Top jobs for October:
so eat them now unless saving for seed.
3. Start spreading mulch over garden beds now while the soil is still moist.
Slugs and snails can demolish small seedlings overnight.
Sow these vegies: Asian greens, beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, leeks,
mustards, rocket, parsnip, peas, silverbeet, tomatoes, cucumbers, melons,
Seeds of summer vegies will germinate more quickly if sown under under
glass or in a cloche to keep them warm.
Plant: Potatoes. Seedlings of summer vegies such as tomatoes can be grown on in pots in a
greenhouse or cloche before planting out into the garden in November.
Harvesting now: beetroot, broccoli, lettuce, kale, parsley, silverbeet, potatoes,
rocket, mint, limes, lemons, oranges, tangelos,
grapefruit, rhubarb (winter growing forms), perennial chillies
For more details of early spring jobs see:
Diversity in the garden is important for attracting beneficial insects. We sell a
range of ornamental plants and herbs which not only add to this diversity, but
add colour and beauty to your patch.
We're loving: Silverbeet
Silverbeet is flourishing in the garden now.
What to do with it all?
Use it in soups, cook it up with sauteed onion
and garlic, add it to pasta sauces.
Do try this at home:
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1/4 cup brandy
6-8 large silverbeet leaves, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
zest of an orange
chili and black pepper to taste
Soak raisins in brandy.
Saute onion in oil, add garlic, silverbeet, zest,
chili and pepper. Cook, covered until leaves
are wilted and stems softened, adding a little
vegie stock if needed.
Add raisins and pine nuts and serve. This is
good with pasta or roast lamb.
The 'silverbeet' pictured here is a fortuitous
cross between silverbeet and beetroot. It
self-sows in the garden in various shades of
red, often with a delightful beetroot flavour in
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!