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.
Mid Winter Blues?
Keep warm with winter jobs in the garden!
(Plan for next year: buy some winter perfume.
Daphne, wintersweet and luculia flower in winter making
gardening a real treat.)
Top jobs for July:
1. Keep working on the citrus galls. They need to be removed by August so as to prevent the tiny
wasps hatching successfully and reinfecting your trees and your neighbours' trees. Gall wasps
lay their eggs into the bark of the new growth on citrus trees. Lemons, limes, grapefruit and
Japanese seedless mandarin are particularly susceptible.
Cut out each gall then ensure the growing wasps within are killed: submerge prunings in water
for several weeks; microwave or bake the galls. Shredding in the mulcher then composting in a
hot heap should do the trick too.
2. Apply copper spray to prevent curly leaf on peaches and nectarines. Kocide or Bordeaux are
good options. The first spray should be in June with a repeat in July, but if you didn't get to it in
June, don't worry: do two fortnightly sprays now, preferably before the pink flower buds have
started to form. After that it is too late.
Sow these vegies: Asian greens, broad beans, cabbage, lettuce, mustards, rocket, turnips,
onions, including spring onions, peas.
Plant: rhubarb crowns, asparagus crowns
Harvesting now: Dried bean seeds, beetroot, broccoli, lettuce, kale, parsley, silverbeet, potatoes,
rocket, mint, limes, lemons, Emperor mandarins, oranges, the first tangelos,
grapefruit, kiwis, rhubarb (winter growing forms), chokos, perennial chillies
For more details of winter jobs see:
And so is this juvenile King parrot!
Birds stealing the fruit is a sign it's time to
Kiwis store well inside and ripen nicely. Store
some in the fridge to extend the ripening time.
... and beetroot, chokos, citrus. Yum!
Winter is a time of plenty.
Borsch - beetroot soup makes a warming winter meal, and fresh beetroot salads are always wonderful.
Chokos can be added to any soups, curries or casseroles, or steam them with a mix of other vegies,
add a splash of white wine, some tasty cheese and freshly ground black pepper.
Lemon and lime cordial can be made up with boiling rather than cold water to make a delicious hot
lemon drink - especially good if the cold virus strikes. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice for a
real citrussy freshness.
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!