Meet Bec from Pottsville, Northern NSW, Australia

“I married my husband, my best friend, my garden helper and my biggest supporter going on 16 years ago. I have recently become a mum to an energetic baby boy who gave me the happiest day of my life the day he was born. I’m an advocate of reducing food miles and living a more sustainable lifestyle. Growing our own fruit and veggies, keeping our own green waste on site by composting and creating our own fertilizer with vermicomposting was a good place to start.

I once read that growing your own food is like growing your own money and in a way it’s true. These days we rarely buy veggies at the store, everything we eat we grow. We plan our daily meals around what we are harvesting in the garden that week to get the full benefits of what’s growing.

I’m looking forward to sharing my love of growing food with my son as he gets older. He has just reached the 3 month milestone so I have a little time to wait but eventually I want him to understand and appreciate where food comes from and what it takes to grow the food we eat.

I am lucky to have almost year round growing conditions in my garden. I have a total of 32 raised beds for our veggies and fruit trees which take up all of our backyard these days. We started converting our backyard into a productive food garden about 3 years ago. It started as a typical suburban backyard covered with lawn and Golden palm trees that were in constant need of mowing, fertilizing and trimming with nothing in return. We started with a 1 Meter by 1 Meter wooden bed and absolutely fell in love with growing food. We slowly began removing the grass and palms and in its place our food garden developed. 3 years later and our veggie patch continues to evolve and reward us daily with fresh homegrown fruit and veggies.

I now grow Tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, zucchini, carrots, beetroots, eggplants, capsicums, beans, corn, herbs and of course flowers for my Australian Native Stingless Bee hive. I also grow dwarf or small shrubby fruit trees great for backyards including Blueberries, Mulberries, Nectarines and Citrus.

I have a worm farm that provides me with castings that make a great liquid feed. I have been using Worm cast extract on my veggie garden which helps to organically improve the soil structure along with added homemade compost from my compost bin. All my beds get top dressed with sugar cane mulch which helps to keep soil moist and microbial life happy. My best pest management is doing a quick daily garden walkthrough looking for any signs of pests and either removing by hand or using an organic eco oil spray.

I have been saving a lot of my own seeds over the last few years. There is something special I find about sowing a seed, letting it run its life cycle then being able to grow it again by collecting the seed. I have also been part of a community seed swap which connects other like-minded people and helps to grow a more diverse range of produce in the garden.

My biggest hurdle in my garden is watering. My garden is in full sun all day and I currently water it all by hand so an irrigation system is the next thing on my to do list.

One of the biggest rewards for me from gardening is feeding my soul and doing something I absolutely love. I love sharing my produce with family and friends and seeing their excitement with what I can actually grow in my backyard food garden.

If you are starting a veggie patch just remember to enjoy the journey your new garden will take you on. Celebrate the wins and grow from the fails. Dream big for your garden but start small, always remember that from little things big things grow.”