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.
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:
The Backyard Vegetable has advanced seedlings for the current season's planting available
- 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)
- Fine, lacy-leafed purple mustard
- Miners' lettuce
- Salvia varieties
- Lambs' ears (Stachys)
- Teuchrium sp.
- Bush marigold (Tagetes lemmonii)
- Heritage bell chilli
- Brown Turkey fig
- Warrigal greens
- Sun rose (hardy edible ground cover)
- 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.
We're loving: Bottled Tomatoes!
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. The
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
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!