A while ago we lived in Melbourne for a bit. During that time we lived in a few houses including one in Brunswick West – a rambling, old, falling down (seriously) house with relatively cheap rent and a decent sized garden, a rarity in Melbourne town.
When we moved in the backyard looked like this, green lawn with a few mature fruit trees (yay) and some good sheds.
We promptly started converting the lawn into something more productive and moved in chickens, veggie gardens, bees, compost bins and a campfire spot – we love campfires. Within a few short months we were getting all our veggies from here (except carrots) honey, eggs and some fruit.
A couple of shameless posers
A basic chook tractor means we could keep the chooks happy with fresh greens (without getting into the veggie garden) as well as help keep the lawn down.
Our fox proof straw house and chook house, all made from pallets and found materials.
Having bees in an urban garden is the best thing ever, there is always something flowering in the neighbourhood and they provide invaluable pollination for the crops.
We harvested just over 20 litres from one hive, our harvesting process was a bit messy, but it did the job.
While our garden was fairly small (around 60 square metres) we had surplus everything so preserved produce through drying and chutnifying.
The garden became a wonderful place to be in and sleep in.
Around 7 months later we decided to pack up and move to Tasmania, so we said a sad farewell to the now pumping garden. We loved this wonderful space, so productive and a true oasis from the big smoke we were working, living and playing in.
But what happened to the garden? We passed it onto our good friends, Sam and Kat, who continued (then and now) taking it to the next level, Anton’s just back from visiting them and took some photos of what it looks like now…
It is FULL of life – edible, medicinal and ornamental plants all live side by side as do the chickens, bunnies, cats, dogs, bees and worms. The rabbit poo goes straight into the worm farm which they apparently LOVE, the kiwi vine they planted is thriving and the bees, well…. Sam and Kat are part of what’s called a ‘bee share’ where someone else keeps their bee hives in their garden, maintains them and then shares the honey harvest with them – what a sweet deal (pun intended).
Rabbits and chooks playing peacefully.
White sussex ladies
Urban gardens are an under-utilised resource. We can do so much with them, feed ourselves with them. Hand in hand with our rural farmers, we can actually create real, local, strong food systems. I truly believe this is the way of the future in terms of developing a sustainable and abundant food culture.
Having started A LOT of gardens in rental houses over the years, it warms the heart to see gardens you start take on new life and continue to bring sustenance, joy and colour to the world. So even if you don’t own your own home and are renting you can still grow some of your own food and enjoy the deep satisfaction that comes from doing so.
*Your blogger is Hannah Moloney, co-director of Good Life Permaculture and lover of all things fun and garden-esk.