Clare (pictured) and Keith have turned a basic apartment backyard into a vegie-filled garden that supplies them with fresh produce throughout the year.
Kirsten Bresciani Keith Harwood and Clare Arden have learnt a lot about vegie gardening since they first moved into their apartment in inner-city Melbourne. A lot of hard work and some six years later, their garden looks quite lush and abundant — and you’d never guess it belonged to an apartment!
“We are in crop for most of the year with something and with our smaller space, we’ve gotten a lot better at growing what we need, so we don’t have gluts as much as we used to,” Keith explains. “We now understand that you don’t plant four zucchini, you plant one and then you plant another one six weeks later and that will do you for summer.”
Their two main tips if you are getting started are:
Start small, with just a two square metre bed and start with some easy winners, things like lettuce, silverbeet and snow peas. If you’re in summer dwarf beans are a good one to start with. Only grow broccoli or bok choy if you can protect them from caterpillars and snails. Leafy greens and basic herbs are also good starter plants.
Be prepared to learn from trial and error, rather than following any stringent guidebook. You’ll have your own unique microclimates and conditions at your place. So observe and make decisions based on what you have.
Pick up our latest issue to read more about how Keith and Clare have created a garden that means they are self-sufficent for many months of the year. Head to Organic Gardener for more details on how to get a copy.
First published: May 2020
Garden Design, Backyard, urban farming, urban gardening, backyard gardens, gardening in a small space, Issue 117 — May/June 2020, How to…