Leaf, Root & Fruit

I recently sent out to paid subscribers a post about harvesting fresh produce. In response, one of my Substack readers, Bart, recently sent me a great tip on steaming corn husks so you can easily remove the stringy bits (silks). It’s a quick and easy and it has now become […]

Sweetcorn Cooking Hack

There are a few garden pests that evoke passionate responses from gardeners. Avoiding or controlling these pests can become an obsession bordering on mania. Possums and citrus gall wasp immediately come to mind. However, I’ve recently discovered another garden pest that some gardeners fixate on. The much-dreaded harlequin bug (Dindymus […]

How to Control Harlequin Bugs (Dindymus versicolor)   Recently updated !

Duncan Cocking Vegetable Patch What makes a good gardener?
Recently I was chatting with a few friends at a Permies at the Pub meeting in Kyneton. We were discussing recording garden observations and my rather extreme approach to recording everything I see. The conversation went something like this: Kerryn: “Duncan, how do you find the time to record all […]

Five Habits of Good Gardeners   Recently updated !

Growing Strawberries Guide Melbourne
Strawberry plants are relatively small compared to other berries, but they certainly punch above their weight in terms of productivity. Strawberries generally have two main productivity patches. One in early summer and one in autumn. Essentially, they produce just before and just after the summer Blueberry glut. One strawberry plant […]

How to Grow Strawberries

rental gardening guide Melbourne vegetable patch in a pallet planter 6
Many gardeners see renting as a barrier to maximising productive gardening in their rental space. However, you can easily generate abundance of home-grown food in a rental property. I spent years hopping from one rental property to the next, prior to our move to our forever home in Kyneton. I […]

Edible Gardening for Renters   Recently updated !

Belgian Fence Espalier Frame Work 2
Fruit Tree Espaliers are living works of art. What is an Espalier? “Espalier” refers to special practices for training fruiting trees onto trellises. Espaliers save space and are beautiful works of art. There are many styles and designs of espalier that can be grown against a wall, a building or […]

How to Set-Up and Maintain Espaliers   Recently updated !

Fruit Tree Pruning Kyneton 2
Why do we Prune Fruit Trees? The reasons we often choose to prune fruit trees are: To keep the trees smaller to enable netting To keep the trees smaller to pick the fruit Because we think they need pruning to improve yield fruit (they don’t!) Because we are told that […]

Guide to Pruning Fruit Trees   Recently updated !

Growing your own food has many benefits. The food tastes better and is more nutrient dense. Growing food connects you to nature and is very rewarding. Gardening has physical and mental health benefits. Recent Coronavirus (Covid-19) panic buying and empty supermarket shelves have now given us another reason to grow […]

The Leaf, Root & Fruit guide to Covid-19 Panic Induced ...   Recently updated !

Hoverflies are great beneficila insects 6
My blog post on pest predator dynamics highlighted the importance of treating your garden as an ecosystem. I also discussed “good bugs” and “bad bugs” to show the importance of beneficial insects in the garden. Here I identify some great strategies for attracting beneficial insects or “good bugs” into the […]

Garden Ecosystems Part Two: Attracting Beneficial Insects into the Garden   Recently updated !

Soil conditioners for vegetable gardens Melbourne 9
My “grow trials” are proving very popular with local gardeners. In the past, I have trialled different potting mixes and also different chemical and liquid fertilisers. This summer I have trialled some different soil conditioners available to all of our gardeners. I focussed on options that are relatively easy to […]

Plant Soil Conditioner Trial   Recently updated !

Edible Garden Veggie Garden Healthy Produce Tastes Better 26
Spring is the busiest time of the year for working in the garden:          The days are increasing in length           Daytime temperatures are increasing          The soil is starting to warm up          Melbourne’s rainfall is typically plentiful All of this means that plants (including weeds) will thrive and […]

Spring Planting Guide for Melbourne   Recently updated !

Tomato Growing Guide Melbourne
There are tomato varieties of many different shapes, sizes and colours avaiable to the home gardener in Melbourne To me, nothing says Melbourne summer like the smell of tomato plants as you brush past them in the garden. The smell of tomato leaves (and basil) as I water the garden […]

How to Grow Great Tomatoes in Melbourne   Recently updated !

Photoperiodism bolting plants Melbourne 8
It is quite common for leafy greens such as silverbeet and rocket to flower and set seed in spring. It’s called bolting and is caused by a phenomenon called photoperiodism. Around late October and early November, I start receiving a lot of inquiries related to coriander, silverbeet and parsley. Usually […]

Day Length and Plants (Photoperiodism)   Recently updated !

Best Raspberry Varieties for Melbourne Victoria 14
Raspberries are a great addition to any edible garden. They are easy to grow and can be highly productive. Raspberries are best trained up a trellis so they can make great use of vertical spaces. For those of you worried about prickles… you can even get thorn-less varieties! Best of […]

How to Grow Raspberries   Recently updated !

How to grow sweet potatoes Melbourne 49
Sweet potatoes are a subtropical crop that grows very well in Melbourne. I’ve grown them for years now and have had some fantastic results. I’ve even grown sweet potatoes in Kyneton which has a cool-temperate climate and a much shorter growing season. Here’s what I’ve learnt about growing sweet potatoes. […]

How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in Melbourne   Recently updated !

Which Bunnings Fertilizer is Best? 44
This summer we conducted an experiment to test the performance of a range of potting mixes. While setting that experiment up, we expanded it to investigate a range of “off-the-shelf” fertilizers (mostly certified organic ones). For those of us limited to major hardware chains and local nurseries, these are often […]

Which Commercial Fertilizer is Best?

Harbour Town Docklands Apple Crate Herb and Veggie Patch Melbourne
Lately we’ve been spending some time at the Harbour Town precinct at Docklands where there’s some big changes in the pipeline. Residents, shoppers and visitors to the centre have all been excited by the arrival of our temporary pop-up-patches. The apple-crate pop up patches have been placed throughout the centre […]

Harbour Town, Docklands Pop-Up-Patch

Which Potting Mix is Best? Melbourne 107
When people try to grow plants in containers, one of the most common pitfalls that I see, is the use of poor quality soil, or potting mix. Last summer we conducted a small experiment to demonstrate the importance of soil in growing great veggies. We produced some very interesting results […]

Which Potting Mix is Best?

How to control earwigs in Melbourne Gardens 18
Earwigs are the great decomposers of the garden. Sometimes though, they decompose things that we don’t want them to… like our seedlings! Earwigs are common unwanted visitors to most gardens in Melbourne. They can be quite prevalent in October, which is coincidentally, the time that many of us are looking […]

How to control earwigs in the garden

Urban Farming and Edible Garde Maintenance Hawthorn Melbourne
Leaf, Root & Fruit are again on the lookout for a like-minded individual, who is ready to join our team in inspiring and supporting our community of growers. This is a fantastic opportunity for an enthusiastic team player, keen to share the excitement in encouraging the development of sustainable, edible […]

We’re Hiring Again!

Soil Experiment Melbourne Soil Types Bunnings Potting Mix 9
Ask someone to draw a tree and often you’ll get something looking a bit like this. But that’s only half of the picture. Usually, more than half of a plant exists underground. Yet, as gardeners we often neglect this fact and ignore the most important aspect of gardening… the soil! […]

Experiment: The Importance of Soil

European Wasp Melbourne 8
Last week I posted about controlling the damage caused by White Cabbage Moths in the garden. Since then, I’ve gone from removing ten to twenty caterpillars a day from the garden, to now only finding one or two. However, this rapid decrease in numbers has not been entirely due to […]

European Wasp…. Friend or Foe?

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2016
On Wednesday Leaf, Root & Fruit only worked a half day and spent the afternoon visiting the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. As always, the Achievable Gardens were the highlight. Students from Melbourne Polytechnic, Swinburne, Holmesglen and University of Melbourne were challenged  to create  small, stylish and functional gardens. […]

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2016

Urban Farming and Edible Garde Maintenance Hawthorn Melbourne
UPDATE 13/03/16: We were sent an impressive array of applications that included videos, photos and plenty of interesting (and some very amusing) answers to our three questions. It’s fantastic to see that so many people are enthusiastic, supportive and keen to be a part of what we do. We had […]

Urban Farmer Required!

REA Group Edible Garden Wicking Beds
REA Group Limited is a multinational, digital advertising company, specialising in property. They’ve come a long way since starting out 20 years ago in a garage in Doncaster, in the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne REA Group operates Australia’s leading residential and commercial property websites, realestate.com.au and realcommercial.com.au. They have diversified […]

REA Group and their Office-based Edible Garden

Gardiner Preschool Glen Iris
Gardiner Preschool in Glen Iris has a long history of growing their vegetables. The children are valued as decision makers and caretakers of the vegetable gardens. They decide and vote on what to plant. Strawberries, tomatoes, beans, peas, pumpkins, corn, beetroot, lettuce and potatoes are all favourites. The Gardiner Pre-schoolers […]

Gardiner Preschool Community Herb Garden

The Patch. Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Tasmanian Community Food Garden. 2
Over the Easter long weekend, Caryn and I travelled to Hobart. During our stay, we visited the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. There are edible garden sections commonly known as “The Patch,” that I was keen to visit. Officially these gardens are titled The Tasmanian Community Food Garden. The gardens are […]

The Patch: Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens

CH James Edible Courtyard Garden
CH James Cafe, is a new cafe that launched in Station Street, Fairfield in December 2014. CH James Cafe is modern but features a “nod to yesteryear” with its compelling story of local Charles Henry James, who was prominent in the northern suburbs, in the halcyon period of Melbourne’s development. Charles […]

CH James Cafe and our Edible Courtyard Garden

Grow it local grower's feast in Melbourne as part of the Sustainable living festival
On Sunday night, I was fortunate enough to join 49 other growers at The Melbourne Growers’ Feast, at the Testing Grounds in Southbank. The event was organised by Grow It Local as part of the Sustainable Living Festival. The Grow it Local Melbourne campaign began in January, when they distributed […]

Grow It Local, Melbourne Growers’ Feast

Here’s my autumn planting guide for warm-temperate based vegetable patches (such as Melbourne). With the onset of autumn, your planting options change. I actually prefer growing vegetables over winter to growing during summer. Winter veggies require less care and attention. With the cool, wet Melbourne climate, winter vegetables practically grow […]

Autumn Planting Guide For Melbourne

Powdery white spots on your zucchini leaves are a sure sign of powdery mildew infestation. Here’s what to do about it. This is the vegetable disease that I am asked about the most. Many vegetable plants are prone to powdery mildew. It is quite common for cucumbers, pumpkins and other […]

How to Treat Powdery Mildew

Coles Junior Landcare Garden Grant
The Coles Junior Landcare Garden Grants Program is offering funding of up to $1,000 to kindergartens, schools and youth groups to help create gardens in their grounds and communities. There are approximately 250 grants awarded per year across Australia. Leaf, Root & Fruit are encouraging all primary schools, secondary schools, kindergartens, […]

Coles Junior Landcare Garden Grants Program

One of my favourite summertime recipes is Basil Pesto Pasta. There’s nothing better than harvesting your own basil and turning it into a delicious pesto. You can do so much with basil pesto, but my favourite is Basil Pesto Pasta. Here’s a guide on how to turn your excess basil […]

Duncan’s Basil Pesto Pasta Recipe

Good bugs and bad bugs in the garden
Recently, I wrote a blog post on the large number of whitefly currently plaguing gardens across Melbourne. While their numbers are still quite high, I’ve noticed a huge increase in predatory insects over the last fortnight. We’ve had plenty of ladybugs, spiders, praying mantis, hover flies and lacewings in our […]

Whitefly Predators

Are you finding that every time you move in the garden you’re being greeted with a cloud of little white or green insects rising up from your precious plants? Don’t be worried, you’re not the only gardener with this problem. Gardens across Melbourne are currently teeming with whitefly. Whitefly are […]

Whitefly control methods

Our parsely pesto was so tasty, and such a vibrant green
With all the warm, sunny, spring weather lately, you might have noticed that your herbs have started growing a lot more vigorously. If you don’t cut them back regularly during this flush of growth, they’re going to go to seed. Going to seed spells the beginning of the end for […]

Parsley Pesto Recipe

White oil is among the safest and most effective organic ways of controlling many sap sucking and leaf chewing pests in the garden. Gardeners have been using white oils for centuries, so they’ve been thoroughly tested. The best thing about white oil is that you can make it yourself! White […]

How to Make White Oil

Rose Creek Estate in East Keilor held their annual Open Day on the last Sunday in August. Leaf, Root & Fruit took the opportunity to visit this impressive family garden. Without the queue of visitors, the house on the corner of Craig Street would look just like any other in […]

Rose Creek Estate Open Day 2014

Win a $100 Diggers Club Voucher with our free Zucchini Tromboncino Seeds 40
Zucchini Tromboncino is a heirloom vegetable common throughout Italy. Valued for its abundant, tasty harvests. It was developed in Liguria, in northern Italy. The fruit has a very pale green skin and can have varied faint white stripes like some zucchini varieties as well.  The really nice thing about this […]

How to Grow Zucchini Tromboncino

We may think we are nurturing our garden - Jenny Uglow
There have been some really inspiring gardening quotes and sayings from over the years. We regularly share quotes such as these on our Facebook Page. Here’s a compilation of some of our favourite ones for you to enjoy. Do you have a great gardening quote that we’ve missed out on? […]

Gardening Quotes and Sayings

It’s citrus time! Lemon, Orange, Lime, Mandarin and Cumquat trees all over Melbourne are heavily laden with ripe fruit. We’ve got heaps of lemons on our tree that need using. Last week we asked our Facebook Fans for some recipes to help use up our glut of lemons. Here’s what […]

Lemon Recipes

This post is a little old now… please head over to our spring planting guide for a much more comprehensive wrap up of all the veggies you can plant in spring and how to go about it! Spring Planting Guide It’s August already… doesn’t time fly! In gardens all across […]

What to plant in August

The cauliflowers at Leaf, Root & Fruit Headquarters are nearly ready to be picked. Back at the start of Autumn, we were a bit enthusiastic when we sowed our cauliflower seeds. Now we have more cauliflower heads than we really need. Fortunately, all this wintery weather and Cauliflower and Leek […]

Cauliflower and Leek Soup

Growing Giant Pumpkins in Melbourne 16
The biggest pumpkins come from the variety called ‘ATLANTIC GIANT’. The current world record for an Atlantic Giant pumpkin is held by Beni Meier from Switzerland, with a 2,323 pound Pumpkin, which is a whopping 1054 kg! The current Australian Record is held by Dale Oliver, with an impressive 743kg […]

Growing Giant Pumpkins in Melbourne

Fruit Tree Pruning Kyneton 47
Fruit trees don’t need to be pruned to produce fruit. However, if they do need pruning, then selecting an optimal time will ensure the tree remains healthy, productive and resilient. Neglecting to prune your fruit trees won’t stop production of fruit. However, it can help to establish a strong framework […]

When to Prune Fruit Trees

Recently Duncan and Caryn from Leaf, Root & Fruit took some down-time and had a quick holiday traveling to the UK and Europe. Here’s a few horticultural highlights from the trip: Hanover School Towpath Garden Regent’s Canal, London, England   The pupils, staff and parents of Hanover School created a […]

Leaf, Root & Fruit’s recent tour of Europe

These newspaper pots are so easy to make. There’s no messing around with staples or sticky tape. They’re great for the environment because you’re re-using old newspaper. Best of all though, you’re not using pots made out of plastic. Once your seedlings are ready for transplanting, you can plant the […]

Making newspaper pots

Next time that you are cooking with eggs, don’t throw the eggshells away. Did you know that eggshells are a great gardening resource? Let the eggshells dry out for a day and then you can crush them up and sprinkle them as a barrier around seedlings. Slugs and snails hate […]

Using Eggshells in the Garden

Thanks to a fellow gardener, Laura for providing us with this delicious quiche recipe. She prepared the quiche using Winter greens she’d grown herself in half wine barrels and pots. You can substitute the Baby Kale, Sorrel and Silver Beet for any other leafy greens. Great comfort food for a […]

Winter Veggie Quiche Recipe

Aphids hate the cold. At the moment, with the unusually warm weather they are thriving in protected micro-climates in gardens all over Melbourne. Today, when I was out pottering in the garden, I noticed that all of my parsley and coriander plants were covered in aphids. The plants have been […]

Attack of the Aphids!

Strawberry runners on a apllet planter box 8
This blog post is specifically about planting strawberry runners. Why not check out our guide on How to Grow Strawberries as well? Strawberries can “reproduce” either through seeds or from runners. Strawberry runners are horizontal stems that run above the ground and produce new “baby” clone plants at the end […]

How to Plant Strawberry Runners

Gardening With Soul is a documentary split into four parts, Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. It follows the daily life of Sister Loyola Galvin as she oversees the gardens and grounds of the Home of Compassion in Wellington, New Zealand. It’s as far removed from a Hollywood blockbuster as you […]

Movie Review: Gardening With Soul

It’s Peanut Sunday here at LRF Head Quarters in Hawthorn East! Earlier in the year we planted out an experimental crop of peanuts and today we harvested them. As you can see, our crop was a huge success. It was so exciting to uproot the withering plants and finding masses […]

Peanut Sunday

Autumn planting guide onion
Our garlic is leaping up out of the ground at the moment and it’s not too late to get yours in. As long as you’ve got a sunny spot for it, growing garlic is very easy. It loves moist (but not waterlogged), friable soil with plenty of organic matter and […]