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.

October - late spring.

Time to plant just about all those summer vegies.

Go to:

Season by season - late spring for details and suggestions.

Harvesting now:  chilies, lemons, limes, broccoli, kale, silverbeet, parsley, mustards,

, mandarins, tangelos, grapefruit, parsnip, carrots, salad greens including miners' lettuce.


 Tuesday's harvest

Tuesday's dinner:

  • steamed new potatoes with dill, parsley
  • and mint - and a dab of butter
  • lightly steamed broccoli with grated cheese
  • carrots with homegrown coriander seed
        and butter


This month's favourite:   Kale

Just one of the latest in a string

of fad foods?

Well, not really. Kale has been around for

squillions of years. It's just not been a common

food plant till recently in Australia.

It's a kind of loose leafed cabbage. It is

nutritious, like all the brassicas (broccoli,

cabbage, radish, rocket, mustards etc).

And it is pretty easy to grow if you choose the

right variety for your climate.

The one shown here is Tuscan Black Kale or

Cavolo Nero. It does well in Melbourne.

Well, not really. Kale has been around for

squillions of years. It's just not been a common

food plant in Australia till recently.

It's a kind of loose leafed cabbage. It is

nutritious, like all the brassicas (broccoli,

cabbage, radish, rocket, mustards etc).

Its beautiful, crinkled, blue-green leaves make

quite a statement in the garden and it goes on

and on producing leaves month after month,

growing taller as it does.

Harvest the leaves you need as you need them

and leave the plant to grow on.

At this time of the year flower buds will appear.

You can let these mature and form seeds for

your next crops.

However, if you have other brassicas growing

they are likely to cross pollinate with your kale.

You could find yourself with kadishes, kallage,

kalcoli or kastards. You may be lucky and find

yourself with a brilliant new hybrid, but most

likely it will be best fed to the caterpillars or the


So, you could instead pick the flower buds and

eat them. Steam them lightly, pop them into stir

fries or soups. Treat them like broccoli. They

are delicious!

 How to use kale leaves:

  • in salads
  • in soups and stir fries
  • in quiches and frittatas
  • nibble on them as you garden
  • as a side dish, saute with olive oil and

Kale is rich in vitamins A, B-6, C, D and K as

well as iron, potassium, magnesium, and

calcium. It is a high fibre food.

All things in moderation! Too much kale,

especially raw can be hard to digest.

 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!



Updated 25.9.15