Reap the rewards

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We’re all too often focused on the financial benefits of owning a home. Some of the most satisfying and enjoyable things are more humble.

Nesting is something that makes your house feel more homely. This happens mostly inside this time of year in our cooler months. We spend less time making use of the garden and backyard. But there is still plenty to do to make the most of your home and garden.

Plant vegies and herbs. Growing your own food can be very rewarding (and sometimes thrifty). If you haven’t tried it before, now is as good a time as any.

The softer sun can allow us to spend more time gardening without getting too hot or burnt. It also allows us to plant some wholesome vegies that are less suited to other times of the year.

What to plant now


Great for salads and for roasting

Havest: 8-10 weeks

Tips: Soak seeds overnight before planing

Broad beans

Perfect as a sidedish

Harvest: 14-16 weeks

Tips: Well draining soil is important, watch for fungal growth


A nice lunch-box snack

Harvest: 10 weeks, but before flowering

Tips: Ensure soil is deep enough for them


I find this is an awesome peanut butter delivery system

Harvest: 12-14 weeks

Tips: Give 70% of its growth in the last 30% of its life


My grandfather loved this as a snack/side-dish sliced thinly with salt

Harvest: 50-65 days

Tips: Watch out for fungal disease and aphids


Grows quickly

Harvest: A few weeks

Tips: Water well and pick leaves as needed

Pak Choy/Bok Choy

Pick at anytime, young and mature it’s great.

Harvest: A few weeks

Tips: Harvest immediately if flowers appear

How to get started

My first attempt was a raised garden bed. This is probably the easiest solution. The benefit is that you don’t need to dig up your garden and you’ve got the right soil and control over the depth. In addition you don’t need to stoop when working in the bed.

I built mine by re-purposing old cinder blocks and filling the bed with bag after bag of good soil and topping with sugar cane mulch. I discovered afterwards that there are many suppliers around Brisbane that will deliver a complete kit (a corrugated raised bed or wooden sleepers and soil) and assemble it for you. While that may sound expensive, it can actually be cheaper than buying the soil in bags and it certainly is much easier.

If you’ve got more to spend and want more of a feature for your courtyard or garden you can use re-purposed wood. The big red shed has some amazing salvaged timber.

The benefits

Aside from having fresh healthy food for your family, the health benefits of being active in the garden over winter is a strong incentive.  Overall making the most of your home is a reward in itself.

What to plant info sourced from