There’s little better than cooking with vegetables and herbs picked straight from your garden, and with the growing focus on food miles and eating as healthy and sustainably as possible, growing your own veggies makes a lot of sense. It can, however, prove challenging if you live on a small block, and particularly difficult if you are renting.
I live in an inner-Melbourne suburb in a private rental share-house. I’m lucky that our landlord is happy for us to make alterations to the garden (within reason!), however not all landlords are that easygoing. A good solution is planter boxes as they are temporary structures which you can even take with you if you move house. They are also useful if you live in an area with bad soil, or if bending down to tend to veggies is too much for your back. They can be made out of almost anything, and there are some great tutorials online. The best part is you can make them to whatever size you like, so can even be made small enough to grow some herbs on a tiny apartment balcony!
Whilst we’re lucky enough to be able to plant straight into the soil, we are still rather short on space! Our house faces north, and our back courtyard is mainly paved with some raised beds around one edge which are already home to a lemon tree and an apricot tree, and don’t receive much sunlight.
This left the front yard as our best option. Growing veggies may not result in the prettiest entrance to a house, and we may have lost a few tomatoes to passers by, but neither of those things fazed us too much. Being north facing it gets the best sunlight, and there’s enough space for us to grow a few bits and pieces, including some herbs in pots in both the front and backyard. Whilst we may not be able to grow enough to feed us all, it’s so nice to be able to add fresh veggies and herbs into whatever I am cooking.
It is still a work in progress, and first required the removal of all the (dead) plants and weeds that were in the soil and bringing in some new soil to improve the quality. Then the fun could begin!
This is back when we first started in September last year.
And this is what it currently looks like after the long hot summer Melbourne has had:
It’s wonderful picking our own home grown veggies!
I’m also very lucky that one of my housemates is very good at this kind of thing as I don’t appear to have inherited a green thumb from my mum, who has amazing veggies patches. So he takes charge of the veggies and I happily play sidekick!
Do you grow anything at home? Any tips for a novice like me?!