Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bloomin' Marvellous - Melly, Melly, How Does Your Garden Grow?

Hi Guys,

Mel from Mellywood's Mansion and I'm really excited to share with you how we turned our pretty ordinary yard into our own little food bowl.

When kid 4 out of five came it was a big shock to us financially, we'd literally lost half our income and had an extra mouth to feed. So we really started researching all the best ways to save a few $$ and veggies gardening was one of those things that kept coming up. Living in a warmer climate means we can grow veggies year round, although winter is limited to beans, lettuces and Asian greens

We had no idea what we were doing, so basically this is a pictorial of how we started as newbies and transformed the yard into a productive garden.

We started small with a few pots and bought ready made seedlings, once we had a little confidence we started planting our own seeds.

Those little pots gave us so much joy that we decided to expand to the front of the block and bought a few raised garden beds. Planted and watched our garden grow. (It was around Christmas hence the candy canes)

When we moved into the "Mansion" there was already a huge, well established lemon tree, this tree fruits for around 10 months of the year. We supply everyone and anyone who asks...not to mention the thieves that climb the outside of the fence. Then we planted bare rooted apple trees and a tiny dwarf orange tree, which we finally got fruit from this year after 3 years.

The apples grew and we expanded our fruit trees to include peaches, nectarines, almonds and pears.

Then we made the decision to add even more beds and dug up the back with a little (actually a lot) of help from the boys.

Then we awaited the "fruits" of our labor. Julian named the back garden Pete's Garden for his father who passed away.

Unfortunately I don't have a lot of pictures of produce but here is a small sample.

All in all this is three years of work. We've read everything we could get our hands on, asked lots of questions and made a few mistakes but I highly recommend trying it. By starting small and increasing as we went it wasn't as overwhelming as we thought it would be and we now save $100's a year by eating from our own garden. In that time we have grown, tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums (bell peppers), chili, herbs, various fruits, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, carrots, beans, peas and many more.

So Melly, Melly, how does your garden grow? With hard work, patience and a lot of fun. Also I've said "we" a lot, I started with the small area in the beginning but Jule's and the boys are really the brains and labor behind most of what you've seen, including the cooking!

Thanks so much for coming to the Cafe today, it's been fun to look back on how our garden progressed and I hope you enjoyed it and maybe it's inspired you to have a try at planting something.

Thanks for reading,

Mel xo

Just a reminder, our link party is coming up on July 29th where we are asking for you to link up all your gardening posts.  It can be about your flowers, vegetables, fruit, recipes using your fresh produce or something that has been inspired by gardens or nature.


  1. Love, love Mel's garden ! Soon as I know what's happening this side of the world, I'm starting one as well :-)

  2. I totally have garden envy. I'm planning on becoming a gardening expert sometime in the very near future. Although, I'm not certain how to go about that!


  3. Love Pete's Garden and that the whole family takes part in it's care. You've done a great job of explaining how you started and where it took you, Mel, and I'd love to share this at 7-Day Real Food Challenge! Can I borrow those boys for digging time next spring?

  4. Your veggie gardens look great Mel! Another thing I love about growing some of our own veggies is that I know what's not on them as in pesticides etc. We never really know what we're getting from the grocery store anymore, so the more we can grow ourselves the better. How wonderful to have such a long growing season. You've all done an awesome job!!

  5. It must feel like such an accomplishment to grow your own food like you and your family are doing. I can only imagine that the savings will continue to grow as your garden does. Those trees alone will be so fruitful (I know that was a pun) but it's true. Pete's Garden is delightfully inviting and inspiring ~ Amy

  6. I have garden envy too Mel!!! Love this post. So gonna do the dwarf trees!!!

  7. How rewarding this must be Mel - really - to walk outside and have fruit for your kids and fresh vegetables every day???
    Now you need some chickens and a cow.........

  8. I love your garden Mel! What a great use of space too. I want some dwarf trees and I wonder what kind will grow here. Maybe when I move I can finally have a garden. I'll be seeking your advice girl!

  9. Amazing garden Mel. How wonderful to have all those fruit trees too. We used to raise veggies and sell them to a few ethnic stores and a restaurant. It was so much work, but kinda fun at the time. Much more rewarding to grow for your own family though. Love "Petes Garden".

  10. Nothing beats having fresh vegetables and fruit from your very own garden! I know you and your family feel so rewarded in growing your own. My mom always had a garden in our backyard and I remember helping her as she grew older . . one of my favorite memories.

  11. Lovely garden, well worth the effort - what a great way to save and to give your kids healthy fruit and veg!

    Hugs, Estelle xx

  12. WOW! This is amazing and really inspiring. I don't grow anything but weeds :). I would love to have a lemon tree. I'd happily take your extras :). Your garden looks great. If you do ever visit, bring your gardening gloves, I'm putting you to work.

  13. Wow, Mel! Your garden looks incredible! I've been trying my hand at vegetable gardening this year, but it's been only medium-successful. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the tomatoes make it all worthwhile (there's a lot of pressure on those little green orbs in the garden right now!).

  14. How awesome that everyone is involved, I think that's my favorite part. The saving money and having food you know where it was grown (and how) are not bad perks either (not at all). :)

  15. I have even more garden envy now, Mel! What an awesome garden! You are so lucky to have so many fruit trees too. One day I hope to have a lemon tree....wish I lived next door to you! Great post!

  16. Oh, wow! I would love to have fruit trees! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Gardens

  17. I'm very slowly sorting out my back garden, and I think you've inspired me (as well as Maureen, above, who is a good friend) to try and plant something edible !