I invite you to visit also my literary blog: Journeys in Creative Writing where I post original fiction including short stories, poetry and 'Paternity', a full length mystery novel.

Monday, 17 November 2008

The Joys of a Hip High Veggie Garden

You can't beat a backyard veggie garden when it comes to providing nutritious food for the family and saving money at the same time.

I have a tiny traditional height garden but I'm still able to produce sufficient veggies to save myself dollars every week.

One of my favourite parts of the day is when I wander into the garden in the evening to pluck beans, salad or herbs to add zing to my evening meal.

More and more people around the seaside towns of the Northern Rivers region of NSW are doing the same thing. I think the whole world should catch this beneficial disease!

In the past two years there has been increasing interest in the hip high veggie gardens displayed at the local garden centre owned by my daughter and son-in-law John (pictured at top).

Bloggie friends have been asking me about the gardens since I included this pic in a post a couple of weeks ago.

They not only grow great food but elderly people and even those confined to wheel chairs can still tend their own home gardens with one of these beauties.

Just imagine - no more bad backs and no more bending over to weed.

Today I'll explain how to get one going for yourself.

Lynne and John tell me that although they have had great success with their Aussie corrugated iron versions, it's fine to build your own with old railway sleepers or concrete for instance.

John suggests half filling the hip high beds with around a cubic metre of drainage gravel, topped with good quality organic garden soil.

He recommends separating these two layers with permeable shade cloth to prevent the soil sinking into the gravel but allowing the passage of moisture.

After that lace the top with plenty of organic composted manures and all round fertiliser.

Then it's a matter of choosing a variety of vegetable seedlings and you're away!

This little setup can keep you in veggies for years if you top up the compost and fertilisers now and then and rotate the types of plants in each spot.

These days horticulturists realise that most plants love living closely cheek by jowl, and that this prevents the growth of weeds as well. Gone are the days of ordered rows ...

You'll be surprised how much can be grown in a small space. And there's no need to stop at veggies.

Plant a fruit tree instead of an ornamental shrub and you'll win every time!

Are people growing more food in their gardens where you live? Have you ever had a veggie garden?

And by the way if you enjoy a rip roaring yarn with a fair sprinkling of Australiana - have a look at Journeys in Creative Writing my literary blog. I'm serialising my novel called Paternity and it's free viewing!


  1. What a great post and pictures and information! Thank you! I've been thinking about putting something together next spring so I can grow some veggies and this gives me some new ideas. Hope you've had a good day!

  2. Hi Sylvia
    Pleased the info was useful.
    We're so lucky here so far as growing is concerned - we can put in plants any time of the year and, in fact, winter is the best time for veggies because there are no little bities around.
    Hope the cold doesn't get into your toes.

  3. I am so glad you wrote more about this way of gardening. I sent the last post to my son to read and will forward this one as well. I think I will try something like this in the spring, too. I like the idea of not having to bend over all the time. I used to grow a huge garden years ago when I lived on the farm. Then, I would freeze and can all the produce from it.

  4. I think we will all be going back to some of the old ways again Judy. They were plain sense.
    Why should our families have beans captive in plastic and left on the shelf for days before we can get to them?
    Local is cheaper and better.
    Less petrol (oil)and other energy used as well.

  5. I love this idea of a vegie garden being at hip height. Gosh that would be so good for Des really. I am printing this out so he can see the photo with John in it - I agree its something we all should be doing and there gives me no greater satisfaction - its like living off the land. Now all I have to do is give up meat. Thanks June.

  6. Lilly you really are nuts! Where did you get your sense of humour?
    So far as meat is concerned - there's always a chook yard. Tell that to Des!

  7. June,

    Those peppers had me itching to pluck them, wash them, and then do a great filling with spicy potatoes, and make a great gravy for the whole thing to rest in......

    In Mumbai, they have more concrete than trees. Thankfully, in our smaller cities people are still fond of growing seasonal veggies and tropical fruit. And it is a fact that freshly plucked and cooked veggies make such excellent stuff, you hardly need to season them with spices; their natural flavor and juices suffice.


  8. Very good post. I like the clear how-to information.

  9. This is exactly what I need to do! I will try it this spring when I plant my veggies. Thanks June!

  10. A great idea for people with aching backs and knees! And the luscious photos had my mouth watering....but a garden, any garden, is a pipedream in congested Mumbai, as Suranga (Ugich konitari) has already commented.

  11. Suranga
    Do you have a balcony? With your climate you would be able to grow peppers (and other things) in a pot. Just use good soil, sprinkle with fertiliser occasionally and don't forget the pot shouldn't dry out. A bit more difficult, but still very worth it to have fresh food.
    Your recipe sounds yummy. Good luck!

  12. Sucharita
    More concrete than trees is sad. The Gold Coast a little further north in Queensland is threatening to be the same in some places.
    I wonder if you have a little spot in the sun where you could have a pot as well? Or several? It's quite possible to produce food that way.

  13. Thanks for visiting Tropigal ...
    I suppose there's plenty of reasonably fresh food within cooee (as we say) from your home in Florida?

  14. Hi Jeannie
    I'm sure you'll enjoy your spring veggie garden. I hope you're nowhere near those horrible Californian fires?
    And how's Dixie?
    She may enjoy being read to - I've just posted the second episode of my Australian mystery novel on my other blog Journeys in Creative Writing ...
    Haven't got back to family history yet - you can imnagine why!

  15. Hey June :) It's veggie patch season here too. Loving it. Just heading over to your other're keeping me busy!

  16. I'll happily help you fill up your spare time Braja. Let me know what you thought of the first two episodes of the novel ...I'm afraid the less desirable parts of Oz rear their heads occasionally, but that's fiction.

    You're in a more open part of India in Begal? Poor Suranga and Sucharita in Mombai have no room for veggie patches ...

    I just looked on YouTube and found a wonderful video of the main street of Mayapur. I see there is room for veggie gardens ... How colourful it is.
    Do you live far from this area Braja?

    And do you get a chance to come back to your home/family at all? You must get homesick sometimes ... I send you a sprig of wattle ... can you see it?

  17. I will enjoy your Blog and especially your garden during the cold of Winter here in the Great White North :)

  18. I Ponder - thanks for coming in from the Canadian cold - welcome.
    Enjoy the sub-tropical plants ..
    You might also enjoy curling up with a novel - try mine now being serialised on Journeys in Creative Writing. Lots of Aussie heat! No porn in sight, I add.


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