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.



Most of the summer vegies are well and truly finished now. The weeds, on the other hand are

relishing the cooler weather and the recent rain! Removing these before they flower and set

seed is definitely a job for now. (Unless you're happy to have them. 'The Backyard Vegetable'

prefers soil nutrients and water to go to the plants that will wind up on the dinner plate...)

Don't waste those weeds though. Give them to the chooks if you have chooks; if they're not

flowering, lay them down as mulch or compost them; if they have gone to seed, soak them in

water for a month or two then compost or dig into the soil. The liquid, while smelly makes a

good plant tonic - dilute it and water your plants with it.

Still time to refresh the vegie beds that have grown summer crops: a top up with layers of

dampened manure and straw
will provide nutrients and organic matter for the next lot of crops.

A green manure crop will also help rejuvenate the soil. Try dun peas, oats, broad beans or a

combination of these. Cut them down just before flowers form and leave them lying on the

garden bed as mulch.

Sow these vegies:    Asian greens, broad beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, leeks,      

                                   lettuce, mustards, rocket, winter radish varieties, turnips and spring onions.


Sow these herbs:     coriander, parsley

Plant:     garlic, rhubarb crowns

Harvesting now: Late sown beans, lettuce, kale, parsley, silverbeet, potatoes, rocket, mint,

                             limes, Japanese seedless mandarins, persimmons, pomegranates, rhubarb



For more details of autumn jobs see: 

Season by season - Autumn


Plant sale!

The Backyard Vegetable has advanced seedlings for the current season's planting available for sale

- and almost ready to eat!  Also plants that will provide a feast for the bees and a feast for the eyes.

  • Kale (Russian Red, Tuscan Black)
  • Chard (silverbeet and a lovely silverbeet-beetroot cross with red stems and veins)
  • Lettuce (loose leaf varieties)
  • Parsley
  • Fine, lacy-leafed purple mustard
  • Miners' lettuce



  • marjoram
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • mint
  • sage


Bee favourites:

  • Salvia varieties
  • Lambs' ears (Stachys)
  • Teuchrium sp.
  • Bush marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)
  • Borage
  • Calendula



  • Heritage bell chilli
  • Brown Turkey fig
  • Warrigal greens
  • Sun rose (hardy edible ground cover)
  • Loganberries
  • Cape gooseberry

Most plants are grown either in bottomless 2L milk bottle pots or newspaper pots for easy planting with

minimal root disturbance. Cost $2 or $3.

Larger plants are in pots - 150mm or larger. Cost $5.

Contact the backyard vegetable

We're loving:  Bottled Tomatoes!

Nearly missed the bulk-buying tomato

season this year, but thankfully a grower in

the Dandenongs still had boxes of

unsprayed tomatoes, and delicious ones


They're not the usual Roma variety: their

juiciness means there is more liquid in the

bottles, but they are so much tastier.

bottler ate rather a lot in the process.


 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 16.5.16

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!