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.
November - late spring.
Finish planting the summer vegies.
Harvesting now: lemons, limes, kale, silverbeet, parsley, dill, bronze fennel,
Murcott mandarins, tangelos, grapefruit, potatoes, salad greens,
snap peas, and the last of the broad beans.
Away for five weeks: welcome to our jungle!
At this time of year many plants have gone to
seed, including the kales, mustards, coriander,
Some plants will be left for the seed to mature.
The bees and beneficial insects like hover flies
love the flowers.
After several days' work, the other plants have
mostly been pulled out. The chooks have a
new carpet of greens to play in, the fruit trees
have a thick layer of green mulch, the weed bin
is chock-a-block, already starting to rot, and
there is a big pile ready to put through the
What used to be a pathway is now buried under
overgrown, gone-to-seed lettuce, milk thistle,
lamb's ears and heart's ease.
Elsewhere self-sown parsley, parsnip, celeriac,
nasturtiums and silverbeet have filled vegie
beds and walkways.
We're loving: Broad beans
picked, home grown broad beans really are
Lightly saute in good olive oil ore butter, with
some freshly ground black pepper or some
garlic or freshly picked leek.
At the last minute add some fresh snap peas,
and eat immediately: yum!
Add them to salads or make a dip or spread
by pureeing the beans with garlic, parmesan
cheese and a little olive oil.
If your beans have got away and grown too
large, double pod them by blanching in boiling
water for a minute then plunging into cold
water. Then slit the skin with a fingernail and
slip it off.
Save the pods with the most beans inside for
next year's seed.
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!