Living in the city usually translates to limited outdoors space, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t grow your own vegetables.

While the idea might sound like a romantic fantasy, growing vegetables is simple, fun and the benefits of home grown produce are endless.

Aside from the obvious:

  • Knowing exactly what you’re eating
  • Enhancing your kitchen with organically grown produce
    and
  • Eating seasonal produce

actively involving the whole family in your patch gives kids a sense of responsibility and ownership of their family garden.

For adults, celebrating the successes and failures of the veggie patch with other gardeners is rewarding and can help bring communities together.

Tip: If you’re short on space or don’t want full watering/digging responsibilities think about sharing a patch with a friend or neighbour.

Things to consider when planning your patch include:

  • Positioning the patch and the seeds/seedlings
  • Size
  • Deciding on which produce to plant

Deciding on where to put your veggie garden should be quite easy. Keep it away from large trees and roots and in area that attracts a lot of sunlight – vegetables won’t grow with no light, so shade should also be avoided.

Don’t over do it. You’re not feeding the masses, so keeping your patch to just over a metre wide will ensure you can easily access most of it without having to trample over your veggies and if you find its not big enough you can always extend it or build another box later.

Positioning your seeds/seedlings from north to south will ensure even light and therefore even growth. Planting your seedlings east to west will cause some plants to be shaded and will stunt their growth.

If you don’t have a good seed/seedling supplier nearby try these online suppliers.

Maintenance

If like me, you’re not time-rich a no dig garden might be best for you.

Planting a no dig garden

If your veggie patch is in a raised box a no dig garden is easy to set up. Once any grass or weeds are removed from the base, lay a layer of cushioning organic material such as soil or straw, then:

  • Lay down a layer of newspaper approximately 2 cms thick
  • Build a border or box using new or recycled materials as in the images above
  • Add a layer of Lucerne hay or other type of hay approximately 10 cms thick
  • Layer some good organic fertiliser or manure to a thickness 3 cms
  • A 15 cms thick layer of loose straw should then be laid followed by another layer of fertilizer and then finished off with a 10 cms thick layer of compost

Now just water the garden thoroughly, but don’t soak it and then start planting. Never walk on your no-dig garden or you’ll compress it.

Success stories 

Inner city Melbourne veggie patch