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.
Winter is here!
1. Prune out all the citrus gall wasps. These tiny wasps lay their eggs into the bark of the new
growth on citrus trees. Lemons, limes, grapefruit and Japanese seedless mandarin are
Tangelos are less so; cumquats, Murcott mandarins and Imperial mandarins are not troubled at
all in this garden.
2. Apply copper spray to prevent curly leaf on peaches and nectarines. Kocide or Bordeaux are
good options. Spray in June and again in July. Do it before the pink flower buds have started to
form. After that it is too late.
Sow these vegies: Asian greens, cabbage, lettuce, mustards, rocket, dwarf peas and spring
Sow these herbs: coriander, parsley
Plant: garlic, rhubarb crowns, asparagus crowns
Harvesting now: Dried bean seeds, lettuce, kale, parsley, silverbeet, potatoes, rocket, mint,
limes, Japanese seedless mandarins, oranges, the first grapefruit, persimmons,
rhubarb (winter growing forms)
For more details of winter jobs see:
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!