Welcome to

the backyard vegetable!

Why not have a go at growing your own fresh food?

It's easier than you think!  

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.

Contact us

Note: planting and harvest times are based

on conditions in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.

Check the plants we have for sale:

Plants on sale now

July: Winter in the garden

Top jobs for July:

1.  Treat peach and nectarine trees with copper spray to prevent curly leaf.

2.  Tidy up the berry plants and prune grapevines.

3.  Check for galls on your citrus trees. Remove them all and ensure the developing wasps are killed
     by soaking galls in water for several months or by heating in the oven or microwave.

4.  Watch out for those snails and slugs in the cool damp weather!

5.  Plant bare-rooted fruit tree and berries for your home grown fruit supply.

Sow these vegies:    Asian greens, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, peas, mustards,   

                                   spring onions, turnips


Sow these herbs:     coriander, rocket

Plant:   garlic, rhubarb crowns, asparagus crowns

Harvesting now:  broccoli, coriander, lettuce, kale, parsley, silverbeet, potatoes, mint,

                              rocket, Warrigal greens, miners' lettuce, mandarins, lemons, limes,

                              grapefruit, pomegranates, persimmons, rhubarb, chokoes, chiilies


At the end of July tomato seeds can be sown in a greenhouse or cloche. Pot up seedlings into

bottomless pots (see Success with seeds and seedlings), and keep them under cover until the

weather warms up.




For more details of winter jobs see: 

Season by season - Winter


Winter is a good time to grow brassica crops - kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower etc.

During the cool weather you won't have the white cabbage butterflies, whose

promiscuity results in multitudes of hungry brassica-eating caterpillars.

Plant seedlings into deep, rich soil in a sunny spot and keep well fed with fish emulsion.

It's also a good time for Asian greens, coriander and lettuce

which are quick to go to seed in hot weather.

And in winter some of the best perfumed plants such as daphne, luculia

and wintersweet are flowering which make working in the garden such a treat.

We're loving:   Winter cooking

This goes with that goes with...

Pumpkin, kale, rosemary, thyme, mushrooms,

onion, garlic, olive oil, freshly ground black

pepper, pine nuts, good bread - try this way of

combining these wonderful winter foods.

Chop 500g of mushrooms into chunks. Blend 1/4

cup of good olive oil with garlic, black pepper

and a few sprigs each of rosemary, thyme.

Pour over mushrooms and marinate for an hour -

or longer. Spread onto a baking tray, cover and

bake at 190C for an hour.

Use the microwave to par-cook 2-3 cupfuls of

pumpkin chopped into 2cm cubes and sloshed

with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Spread on a

second baking tray with a chopped onion and

bake, uncovered,
until they are browned (30

minutes or so).

Chop a bunch of kale leaves, removing the stiff

ribs first.

When the pumpkin and mushrooms are cooked,

toss them together with the kale on the baking

Sprinkle generously with pine nuts and bake

uncovered a further 15 minutes, tossing once to

ensure the kale is all wilted.

Spread 2-3 cups of bite-sized chunks of good

bread - perhaps a sour dough loaf -
on another

tray and bake for 10-15 minutes until crunchy on

the outside but still soft inside

Spoon vegetables onto plates and toss with the

bread chunks. Add a drizzle of good balsamic

vinegar and a sprinkle of coarsely ground salt.


 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


Updated  7.7.17

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!