Spring into action for a summer harvest

A box of fresh vegetables

Top tips for growing summer vegies

It’s crunch time in the garden, and our spring gardening webinars will help you prepare for a season of plenty.

“Spring is all about regeneration,” says Richard Rowe, Learning and Training Coordinator for Sustainable Gardening Australia, which is preparing to run a series of spring-themed gardening webinars for Boroondara residents. 

“There’s more daylight and warmer weather and for vegie growers it’s time to prepare and plan for that big summer harvest.”

Richard says many Melburnians have taken up gardening during the pandemic – as an opportunity to get out into the fresh air, “and as a kind of therapy” when confined to home turf. With many nurseries offering home delivery or click-and-collect, it’s been a lockdown-proof activity too. 

These are Richard’s tips for successful summer vegies:

  • You don’t need a big backyard – with just a square metre of land or some big containers or pots you can grow all sorts of vegetables.
  • Plenty of sun, water and food, such as a good seaweed solution, are the key requirements for healthy vegies.
  • Spring is about getting your soil right with lots of nutrient-rich compost.
  • As you move towards summer, mulch your plants to keep moisture in and regulate the soil temperature.
  • As vegies grow, keep an eye out for bugs and pests, “so they don’t enjoy your harvest before you do”.
  • Keep companion planting in mind, even in small spaces. Pop a few sunny marigolds in with a potted tomato, or nasturtiums among the zucchinis to keep nasties away.
  • Get tomato plants in the ground as October warms and you might get home-grown tomatoes in time for Christmas salads.
  • Plan for Melbourne’s summer extremes – this might mean hanging shade cloth or an old cotton sheet to protect from hot afternoon sun.

Join us for our series of spring gardening webinars, including:

  • Active Ageing through Gardening (20 October)
  • Preparing for a Summer Veggie Crop (27 October)
  • Balconies for Biodiversity (3 November)
  • Integrated Pest Management (17 November).

Bookings are essential. To find out more or make a booking, visit our Sustainable living workshops and events page. Or you can phone (03) 9278 4444.

Bringing bees to your place

Honey bees and native bees play a critical role in our environment. Here’s how to attract them to your backyard.

  1. Provide habitat. Bee hotels are a great way to provide shelter and a place to breed for our precious native bees. Find out how to make a bee hotel.
  2. Provide a food source. Planting a diversity of flowering plants, including native shrubs and trees, will provide food for a variety of pollinators. Making your own ‘bee bombs’ is a fun family activity.
  3. Ensure water is available, especially in summer. Watering your garden in the morning will leave pools of water for your pollinating friends.
  4. Avoid using chemicals and products that may harm pollinators and other wildlife.  
  5. Don’t forget honeybees. Keeping a honeybee hive gives you yummy local honey too. For a list of honeybee keeping books in our libraries, email [email protected]

Learn how to make a bee hotel or bee bombs in the Buzz and Dig video series on our Sustainable living workshops and events page

A bee

Busy in the backyard

There’s lots going on in Boroondara backyards this spring. 

One for the birds

Play citizen scientist in your own backyard by observing and counting your feathered neighbours for the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. From 18 to 24 October, simply spend 20 minutes outside and record the birds you see around you, to help conservation organisation BirdLife Australia protect our native birds. You can use any open outdoor space to take part – if COVID restrictions allow, set yourself up at a local park, beach, school or playground and get counting. And if you don’t know a willie wagtail from a galah don’t worry, the handy BirdLife app will help you identify what you’re looking at.

To find out more, visit the Birdlife Australia website

Bundle your green waste

Been busy with the pruning saw? You can recycle additional spring garden prunings by booking a bundled green waste collection. Each eligible residential property can book one collection for October, which can be used to recycle up to 2 cubic metres of bundled, tied green garden waste. Secure it with non-plastic string or twine and stack it neatly to guarantee pick-up.

Bookings close at 2pm on Friday 22 October. Collections will take place from Monday 4 October to Friday 29 October. To book, visit our Book a bundled green waste collection page. Or you can phone (03) 9278 4444.

Check your netting

Putting netting over your household fruit trees and vegetable gardens can protect them from being eaten by birds and other creatures, however it can also injure or kill local wildlife by entangling them. New Victorian Government regulations require that any netting used to protect household fruit trees, vegetables or other fruiting plants must have a mesh size, when at full stretch, of no greater than 5mm x 5mm.

Find out more at the Agriculture Victoria website

Clean sweep

Planning to round up your grass clippings, leaves and spring blossoms with a leaf blower? Keep the environment and those with seasonal allergies in mind and dispose of green waste in your FOGO bin or compost, rather than blowing it onto streets where it can clog drains.

A small bird