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.
Check the plants we have for sale:
November: late spring in the garden
Top jobs for November:
some wood ash or potassium sulphate to provide potassium for healthy fruiting.
3. Spread mulch over garden beds now while the soil is still moist.
4. Butterflies are out and about. Watch out for the green caterpillars of the cabbage white on the
brassicas - cabbages, broccoli, kale etc. Enjoy all the other butterflies though!
Cabbage white butterfly caterpillars can ruin cabbages, broccoli etc in the warmer months.
Slugs and snails can demolish small seedlings overnight.
Sow these vegies: Asian greens, beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, leeks,
mustards, parsnip, silverbeet, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, zucchini.
Sow these herbs: coriander, dill, parsley, rocket, fennel
Plant: Potatoes. Seedlings of summer vegies such as tomatoes, eggplant and chilli can be
planted out into the garden.
Harvesting now: beetroot, broccoli, lettuce, kale, parsley, silverbeet, potatoes, mint,
rocket, limes, lemons, tangelos, rhubarb), perennial chillies
For more details of late 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 starting to go to seed. Leave
some to provide for future crops, and keep
harvesting the leaves.
What to do with it all?
Use it in soups, cook it up with sauteed onion
and garlic, add it to pasta sauces.
Here's another good way to use it:
2 cups cooked brown rice
large bunch silverbeet, blanched and chopped
1 onion, chopped
a slosh of olive oil
1.25 cups grated cheese
1 tblsp each chopped dill, marjoram, mint
black pepper to taste
Mix all ingredients, saving 1/2 cup of grated
cheese. Spoon into a greased pie or lasagne
dish, press down and sprinkle with reserved
cheese. Bake for 40 minutes until firm and
Serve with a tomato sauce made from 1
chopped onion, sauteed in olive oil, garlic,
800g can of tomatoes, or equivalent fresh
tomatoes, a teaspoon of honey and half a
teaspoon of harissa paste.
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!