In january of 2011, Our family of five (now 6) lived off garden produce from our suburban front yard for one week, and we didn't loose any weight...unfortunately. It was an experience that changed the way we thought about food and the value of a suburban garden. Since then we have extended our sustainable food production beyond our suburban front yard, and into our local community and neighbourhood, beginning a community orchard and local food swap. One front yard just isn't enough!
Our very first vegetable patch only consisted of lettuce, carrots, shallots, spinach and garlic. Since then, we have continued to add to our list of fruit and vegetables, so that nowadays, we grow and harvest a wide range of lovely home grown food.
We now grow most of our veggies in no dig row beds directly into the ground, rotating our veggies according to their families each season. Each year we plant all the old favourites, like tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, basil, beans, spuds and zucchini's, and plenty of greens, like kale, rocket and pak choi, to the more exotic, such as tamarillo's strawberry, pineapple and Hawaiian guavas, bananas, quince, cape gooseberries, yacon, Jerusalem Artichoke, loganberries, and macadamia nuts. We are lucky to have a range of citrus trees and an established grape vine, and of course a passion fruit vine on the chook pen. Our apple and pear trees have started fruiting in recent years, and soon we hope to be picking fruit from our Kiwi fruit vines, have a bee hive, and be a step closer to being as sufficient as possible on a suburban block.
We live in a temperate climate, and have chosen veggies that would best suit our local climate and conditions. Some say that Springwood in the Blue Mountains has the most temperate climate in Australia, meaning we can grow an extraordinary range of foods here. We have successfully grown apples AND bananas in the same season, which is not usually possible in most climates, which makes us pretty lucky!
If you are just starting veggie gardening and live in a similar climate, here is a chart that we use for planting our veggies. See what works for you, and keep a diary over the season. A great website that is helpful in finding what to grow when in your climate is www.gardenate.com.au We have found it a very useful guide.
below is our own planting guide for our climate. We have colour coded each crop according to its family, to help with crop rotation. the coloured months indicate when we can plant from seed. Hope you find it useful.