A few of our projects 

Mark's Garden

Mark has a large suburban property with a lot of work needed in order to create

the productive permaculture garden that he is aiming for.

With too many jobs on the 'to do' list it is easy to get distracted and not actually complete anything.

The Backyard Vegetable's role has been to help Mark prioritise

projects and focus on the important ones.

The vegetable garden has been a key priority. We started with temporary beds so as to confirm that the

plan was functional, and then Mark installed pre-fabricated raised beds.

These were filled with garden prunings at the base - a kind of modified 'hugelkulture' - and then

topped with soil from the temporary beds, manure and straw.

The picture below shows newly planted vegetables in the first completed beds.

Summer growth and productivity since has been prolific, providing food for many meals.

The next step is the orchard: birds currently take most for the fruit on Mark's young trees.

A netted enclosure is essential, and plans are underway...

Tanya's garden

Tanya had three raised garden beds built for the purpose of growing vegetables, however

the soil nutrients had become depleted and the garden beds neglected.

She was keen to get the beds working again so as to have a ready supply of leafy greens

for green smoothies as well as favourites like tomatoes and peas.

Tanya also wanted to be able to go away for short breaks and not have to worry

about having someone water her plants for her.

Two of the beds were converted to wicking beds: the height was increased from 400mm to 600mm,

and the reservoir was created using 'Water Ups', pre-formed plastic modules that fit in the base

of the bed once it has been given a watertight liner.

The soil was revitalised by removing most of it then layering it with manure and pea straw.

In the wicking beds potting mix and chunky coir were added to ensure good 'wicking' capability.

Original height raised bed planted with kale,

parsley, lettuce, mustard, miners' lettuce,

silverbeet and watercress.

Wicking bed with cabbages and broccoli at

the back, lettuce seedlings, and strawberries

at the front. To help the plants along in the

cold of winter greenhouse plastic has been

draped over the hoops.

Erin's garden

Erin's vegetable garden has grown from weed patch to a productive food garden

with weekly gardening 'lessons' as part of the family's home school program.

Now it needs to cater for a gardener who is losing her sight.

See how it is evolving here.

August 2014      

The first day's work: clearing the weeds.

The garden beds had been built and filled with high quality soil, but enthusiasm and confidence waned so the weeds took over.

How satisfying when the first bed was cleared!

The piles of weeds needn't go to waste - they will break down in the compost bin.


October 2014      

All the beds are clear of weeds - well more or less. There will still be seeds and it will take some time before all the couch grass has been dealt with.

Pea straw has been spread to mulch three of the newly cleared beds and a piece of weld mesh is serving as a climbing frame for a row of young snow peas.

Potatoes have been planted under the straw in the back left bed.

The front bed has no mulch. Even is the gentle spring weather it became apparent that this soil was much drier than that in the beds with the straw.


December 2014    

The peas are nearly finished, the potatoes are providing meals, beans are making their way up two more weld mesh climbing frames, broccoli and cabbage are looking good.

The far bed is planted out with self sown tomatoes from the compost, silverbeet and parsley are producing seed in the second back bed.

Along the fence zucchinis and cucumbers are growing in a no-dig style bed of manure and straw.

By January this garden is producing abundantly: cherry tomatoes, beans, zucchinis and cucumbers. The snow peas often didn't make it to the kitchen. Kale has been regularly picked for green smoothies, and the beds have been bright with zinnias, calendulas and gladioli.

Plans are afoot for a berry and hop bed, and seeds have been collected for coriander, silverbeet, parsley and lettuce for future plantings.

See Erin's blog, 'Garden School':  www.Clarabelcollege.org  

Laura's garden 

This is a small backyard, though larger than most units have.

Facing north, it is a hot spot in summer.

Broad beans are already growing in the raised bed along the north fence.

Laura wants to grow food for herself and her family.

Two raised beds have been constructed using ecowood - arsenic free treated pine.

The beds have been filled with layers of lucerne, manure and straw and sit atop the scoria.

Lightweight frames have been added to support bird netting, and wire mesh frame has been attached to the fence for climbing beans.

Tomatoes, silverbeet, beans and zucchinis have been planted.

Four polystyrene boxes have been set up as wicking or self-watering gardens.

These are for herbs and salad greens that need constant moisture to do well.

Polypipe hoops will support terylene curtaining to keep white butterflies at bay and to provide some protection form the hot summer sun.

Milk crates with ecowood posts as cross beams make a cheap and functional stand.

Here is the whole set up.

This garden suffered during the summer of 2013/14 because of the extended periods of hot, hot weather.

Tomatoes and beans don't set fruit in extreme heat.

We hope for a gentler summer his year!