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.

Check the plants we have for sale:

Plants on sale now

What do you do if you want to grow food for y
our family

but you are losing your eyesight?

You don't give up.

 See what we are doing in Erin's garden so she can still work in it.

November: Late spring in the garden

Top jobs for November:

1.  Warming weather brings growth - weeds as well as the plants we nurture. Clear them out before
     they set seed.

2.  Keep an eye out for snails and slugs around young seedlings. Evenings are the best times to

     catch these pests, especially in damp weather.

3.  Many food plants will be producing flower heads (silverbeet, lettuce, parsley, coriander, parsnip,

     carrot). Leave some for beneficial insects which love these flowers, and for seed for future crops.

4.  A few hot days will dry out the soil surprisingly quickly.  Keep vegies, especially young seedlings

     well watered.

5.  Water deeply then mulch thickly to suppress weeds and hold moisture in the soil.

Sow these vegies*:    Asian greens, asparagus, beans, beetroot, broccoli, carrot, 

                                    celeriac, leek, lettuce, mustards, peas, parsnip, pumpkin, radish,                     

                                    silverbeet, spring onions, rockmelon, watermelon, zucchini


Sow these herbs:     chives, coriander, rocket, parsley

Plant:  potatoes, seedlings of tomatoes, capsicums, chillies and eggplant

Harvesting now:  broccoli, coriander, lettuce, kale, parsley, silverbeet, potatoes, mint,

                              rocket, Warrigal greens, lemons, limes, tangelos, rhubarb... and BERRIES! Yum.


* See Success with seeds and seedlings for ideas on how to get best results with your seed sowing.




For more details of early spring jobs see: 

Season by season - Late spring


In season: Backyard critters!

Spring warmth not only brings out the flowers, it brings out the insects. A garden with lush, even

(and maybe especially!) messy plant diversity will be a wonderful habitat for all kinds of insect life.

The brightly coloured bug below is a Metallic Jewel Bug (Scutiphora pedicellata). It is a sap sucker,

and was found among the loganberry canes. Its colours are wonderfully iridescent, and we will cope

with a bit of damage to the berry plants if we can enjoy these little beauties. 


The dragonfly opposite is a Blue-spotted Hawker

(Adversaeschna brevistyla). It is a large dragonfly

with shimmering gold wings - and no, we couldn't

see any blue spots anywhere either!

Dragonflies are master predators, very welcome

in the garden.


Updated  24.11.17

 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!