Edible gardening

Our 2020 garden makeover

This is a guest post by Farmhouse Exchange community members Mel and Jono.

The backyards of Melbourne suburbs were humming with activity in 2020, as we all tried to stay busy through not one, but two rounds of “iso“.

Fortunately, we had already started our journey of love and investment in home grown food, so we were able to immediately get to work building up our backyard produce. 

We had a great time doing it and have already started harvesting more of our own food to bring into our kitchen. So I wanted to share my journey and pictures with the Farmhouse Exchange community as a way of creating a space where we can encourage each other on the food journey. 

We would love to hear from you in how you have gone recently setting up your own food garden! Leave a comment with your own pics so we can reply. 

Our inspiration trip started with a couple of wicking beds…

What does your garden look like? If you live in a suburban area in Melbourne, you probably have a moderate-sized backyard similar to ours. But have you ever thought about growing your own food garden? 

Three years ago, we met our friend Max Godber, who introduced us to our local community garden and eventually inspired our journey to a sustainable style of living. Last summer, we started with a few wicking beds, where we grew herbs such as mint and parsley  as well as vegetables such as  fennel and zucchinis. We soon found out there is no meal more delicious than the one prepared from self-grown fruits and vegetables!

In early 2020 we got our pergola done!

Then in early 2020, Jono designed our pergola and sourced the materials from our local sawmill, which was then constructed by Ben from BD Buildz. We kept it simple so that we could stain it a colour that blends with the rest of the landscaping. It was hard work but worth the extra effort! To finish off, we installed the festoon lights for a cozy look.

We then got lots more self-sufficient with our food

We had limited access to farmers markets for much of last year, but used it as motivation to help us reduce how much food we bought. We focused on brassicas – cold hardy vegetables that thrive during autumn and winter.

Having so much time on our hands during isolation, we experimented with ferments such as:

  • kimchi,
  • sauerkraut
  • kombucha
  • and sourdough bread.

If you are looking to get started with ferments, we highly recommend reading ‘Wild Fermentation’ by Sandor Ellix Katz. 

A few of our own tips before starting a sustainable garden 

Gardening in a smart and eco-friendly way was really important to us. It’s about giving back to mother nature by using organic growing methods with less chemicals and greener alternatives. 

Here are some of the tips we have learnt from our own experimentation:

  • Grow vegetables that you really enjoy to avoid wastage 
  • Compost your kitchen scraps, saving money on fertiliser by creating a nutrient cycle from garden to kitchen, back to garden
  • Consider using wicking beds as they are easily maintained, use very little water and don’t take up much space. 
  • Say no to chemicals by using organic methods to control your weeds and pests.
  • Remember to mulch! It’s a great way to add nutrients,  and prevents the soil from drying out, as well as suppressing weeds. 
  • Visit your local community garden to meet farmers or local green thumbs and ask them about what grows well in your region 
  • Choose companion plants that protect your crops from predators and pests and attract bees. 

We use cookies and similar technologies to analyse traffic to our content and recognise your repeat visits and interests. I'm OK with this. Read the privacy policy