More than just food: How edible gardening benefits our environment.

People decide to garden for a variety of reasons. Many enjoy edible gardening because of the mental, physical and social health benefits it provides. What you may be unaware of, is that edible gardening can also positively impact the environment and help to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Here are some reasons how edible gardening can benefit the environment, and how you can become a more sustainable edible gardener:

Reducing CO2 emissions: Plants as natural cleaners

Plants and green spaces can act has highly effective air and ground cleaners. Plants absorb many air pollutants including carbon dioxide, while releasing clean oxygen that we breathe in.

Roots uptake much of what they come into contact with, such as chemicals and metals found in the soil. This may not always be best for your plant, but this can help alert you to poor soil quality and problems that lie below the surface.

Reducing food miles

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Food miles is a measure of carbon-based fuel used to get food to you. On average, fruit and vegetables in Australian supermarkets travel an average 745km from farm gate to shop. This creates an average of 49g of CO2 emissions per kilo of fruit (CERES, 2007).

If you grow your own fruit and vegetables, even just a few on a balcony or courtyard, you are reducing food miles as well as reducing time, energy and waste.

  • Tip #1: Grow from seed using seeds you saved from previous harvests to reduce your carbon emissions even further (resource coming soon to our website about seed saving!). Selecting heirloom and heritage seeds can also promote plant biodiversity.
  • Tip #2: To maximise benefits, choose to grow something that you and your family eat a lot of and/or that is expensive to buy in mainstream supermarkets. For example, herbs are easy to grow in small spaces, they do not need too much watering and there is something to grow all-year round. Choosing to grow foods that are often packaged in single use plastics (like herbs and berries etc.) at supermarkets, will further reduce your carbon footprint.  
  • Tip #3: Supplement or diversify your own home-grown produce by coordinating different crop varieties to swap with neighbours and friends, or attending local ‘crop swaps’ to keep our food local and environmental impact low.

Reduce use of chemical pesticides

Using natural pest management, organic gardening techniques, and companion planting are changes you can make in your garden to help further reduce carbon emissions. Many chemical pesticides require a high amount of energy and emit carbon dioxide in their production and transportation. In addition, the chemicals used in these products can also be harmful to your soil and plant quality and can kill off the ‘good’ bugs we need in our garden. Make sure to keep an eye out on our Resource page for a new resource coming soon all about Natural Pest Remedies.

Reducing waste: composting

Reducing the amount of organic waste (i.e. food scraps and edible garden waste) we send to landfill can reduce the amount of methane produced, which is a harmful greenhouse gas. Although your compost heap at home produces some carbon dioxide, applying it to your soil helps to increase you soil quality, helping it to retain more carbon. Some local councils also offer rebates to residents buying compost bins, bokashi systems and worm farms! If you don’t have the space or equipment to compost, try looking into community composting schemes like Share Waste, where you can drop your organic waste to your neighbours who may have chickens, worm farms, or compost bins!

Click links below to learn more:
Casey rebate system
Cardinia rebate system

Reducing waste: thrifty gardening

Get creative! There are lots of clever ideas for reusing and recycling in your edible garden which means less waste and plastics going to landfill.

Here’s some crafty ideas to get you started:

  • Using newspaper seedling pots instead of plastic ones,
  • Planting out old wheelbarrows, furniture or kitchen appliances (bowls etc),
  • Using old chicken wire as a trellis for vertical plants,
  • Shopping at local op-shops to find terracotta pots and other old furniture you can transform to garden material.

Local plant/produce swaps or ‘Buy Nothing‘ groups are also a great way to give away old or unwanted tools, pots and plants without them going to landfill – you might find one or two recycled treasures yourself!

Take home messages:

  • Do not underestimate the collective impact of individuals in taking action at a household and community level.
  • Do what you can – you don’t have to have a large backyard to grow food at home – transforming any space to a green space is a step towards a greener and brighter world.

    Cheers to sustainable living! 🌱
    – Georgia (FFH team)

Fast food: How to get from seed to feed in less time!

Does a lack of patience hold you back from growing food at home? You’re not alone. But edible gardening doesn’t have to be time-consuming, nor do you have to wait months on end to actually harvest something (despite this process being incredibly satisfying for some)! 

With the right plants and set-up, you can create a productive and fast-growing edible garden with minimal time and energy. Selecting seeds and plants that are quick to grow can keep you motivated, keep young children interested, and means you’ll get to experience the rewards of your home-grown produce sooner. 

Your fast food menu… 
The following plants are notorious for producing fast and plentiful harvests that are sure to satisfy the most impatient edible gardener. Coincidentally, many of these crops are also among the ‘easiest’ to grow, making them perfect for beginners and those wanting to build their confidence. 

Time from sowing to harvest: Approximately 21 days 
Where to grow: Sow direct into pots, containers, or garden beds 
When to grow: All year round

Top tip: Radishes are completely edible – enjoy the leaves and roots to really maximise your harvest! Learn how to store and prepare radishes here.
Time from sowing to harvest: Approximately 21-28 days 
Where to grow: Sow direct into pots, containers, or garden beds 
When to grow: All year round 

Top tip: Choose a ‘cut-and-come-again variety’ for an ongoing supply and to prolong your harvest! Harvest from the outside leaves first. Learn more about how to plant and maintain your lettuce crops here

Time from sowing to harvest: Approximately 30-40 days 
Where to grow: Sow direct into pots, containers, or garden beds 
When to grow: Autumn – Winter

Top tip: From about three weeks, you can harvest the small leaves first and use them for salads! Learn more about the different varieties of spinach you can grow here.

Time from sowing to harvest: Approximately 7-10 days 
Where to grow: Inside on a windowsill, in seed trays 
When to grow: All year round 

Top tip: Microgreens are ready to harvest as soon as they have their first set of ‘baby leaves’. Learn more here in this video from Gardening Australia.  

Some other ‘fast food’ options
Asian greens, turnips, peas, baby carrots, rocket, cress, spring onions, and green beans. 

Additional things to consider:

  • Soil quality will affect how quickly things grow, so buy the best soil/ potting mix you can afford! 
  • Utilise fertilisers such as compost and worm tea for a nutrient boost and to speed things up.
  • Keep in mind there are many other factors that can influence the growth rate of your veggies like humidity, moisture, sunlight, and pests. 
  • Most plants will grow quicker in the warmer months 
  • Purchase seedlings instead of seeds if you’re wanting a head start! 

In summary
Not all food from home needs to be fast, however starting out with some quick growing varieties might help some of us develop the skills, confidence, and motivation we need to embark on a longer-term edible gardening journey. Talk to any edible gardener and you’ll commonly hear about the immense satisfaction and appreciation that can come from growing slower crops such as pumpkins, avocadoes, and brussels sprouts. Edible gardening can even be a valuable lesson in patience and persistence! Head to our resources page for more information and fact-sheets to help get you started.

Remember, we’re all in this together. Share your edible gardening photos and experiences with us on Instagram and Facebook by using the hashtag #FoodFromHome.

Happy growing 🌱
– Kate (FFH team)


Bugs, bugs, bugs!

At this time of year, we have lots of bugs coming and going in the garden. It’s a great time to observe nature and experience the ebbs and flows of pest predator interactions.  

It’s important we can identify the good from the bad, especially if you are new to edible gardening. The FFH team have put together a list of some creepy crawlies you might find in your garden this summer, and some tips on how to manage the particularly pesty ones! 

Traditional “Bad” Bugs


Earwigs chew holes in leaves, especially those fresh young leaves of your bean, lettuce or broad bean seedlings! They only come out to feed at night. However, earwigs are great at decomposing and breaking down our composts.

How to control: Baited Jars! simply put 1cm of soy sauce, linseed oil or other oil concoctions in an old glass jar, and bury in soil so that the top of the jar is level with the soil. The earwigs will be attracted to the smell, fall into the jar and drown in the liquid.

Slugs & Snails

Slugs and snails often emerge to feast on young seedlings during and after rain. They tend to be attracted to sugar cane mulch which is full of sugar and yeasts. 

How to control: Beer traps similar to the earwigs, put a container of beer in or around your seedlings. The sugar and yeast from the beer will attract snails and slugs and keep them away from your seedlings.


You may find every time you move in the garden you are greeted with a flutter of little white insects. Don’t be worried, many gardeners across Melbourne have this problem! Whitefly is a type of aphid, causing speckled damage to leaves of your veggies, leaving the leaves with scribbly white lines, white blotches, curling, or wilting. 

How to control: Trap crops (or also known as sacrificial crops) are plants you add to your garden to attract pests away from your edible garden. Different insects prefer different trap crops. Nasturtiums, Nettles and French Marigolds can attract (and distract!) aphids such as Whitefly.  

The Good Guys!


Lacewings control whitefly, aphids, mites and other sap suckers. They can be difficult to spot as they use debris to cover their back as a disguise.  


There are many different varieties of ladybirds you may find in your garden. Most eat anything, including whitefly and fungus. On top of their pest-control duties, ladybirds are also pollinators!

Praying Mantis

These guys will eat any other arthropod they can reach! They stay still until their prey comes within reach and then they strike.


Hoverflies are often mistaken for bees or wasps, you’ll find them buzzing around your garden this Summer. They prey on aphids. 

Predatory Wasps 

Predatory wasps target all types of ‘bad’ bugs including caterpillars, whitefly and even other wasps. 

It is important to begin seeing your outdoor space as an ecosystem. All bugs (good and bad) create a rich diversity and interact with one another to achieve a balance. Next time you spot a pest in the garden, try to relax and witness nature take care of the imbalance for you! 

Sign up to our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss out on an upcoming resource all about natural pest remedies.  

– Georgia, FFH team 🌱

Growing knowledge.

In a recent survey of over 300 community members, we learnt that 50% of individuals either ‘don’t know how to start an edible garden’ and that 56% of individuals ‘don’t know how to maintain an edible garden’. We believe that everyone should have access to knowledge and simple information to enable more people in our community grow food at home.

One of our strategies to support this has been to team up with Casey Cardinia Library Service to increase opportunities to learn about edible gardening. CCL staff have put together their top book recommendations in three resources to grow your knowledge around:

Creating an Edible Garden
Edible Gardening with Children
Growing & Cooking Food at Home

When you borrow a book from the recommended list from one of the library services listed below, you’ll also receive a free packet of vegetable seeds!

  • Bunjil Place
  • Cranbourne Library
  • Doveton Library
  • Emerald Library
  • Endeavour Hills Library
  • Hampton Park Library
  • Pakenham Library

You can head straight into your nearest library, or register your interest in our ‘Free Seeds’ initiative here.

And the learning doesn’t have to stop there. Let’s connect and grow together!

Food from Home newsletter
Instagram @foodfromh0me
Facebook @foodfromh0me
Food from Home Community (online group)

Happy growing 🌱
– The FFH team

Let’s Grow! Introducing ‘Food from Home’

Join us in celebrating the launch of enliven Victoria’s latest campaign,
Food from Home’, designed to promote edible gardening in Melbourne’s South East!

The first of its kind in our region, ‘Food from Home’ aims to grow a vibrant, inspired, and connected community of edible gardeners.  

Food from Home: Launch Video

For many of us, food carries a strong association with our family and cultures. Growing, making, and sharing food can keep us healthy and connected, but we acknowledge that for some of us it can be difficult to know how to start. Enliven’s Health Promotion team want to change this.  

“We know from extensive surveys and conversations with our South East community, that a lack of knowledge around edible gardening was highlighted as the main barrier preventing people from growing food at home. We also know that there is a significant number of people not currently growing food at home, who want to start. 

With this in mind, we’ve worked with a range of project partners and community members to design a campaign to reduce and remove these barriers. We want everyone to have the opportunity to experience the significant health, community, and climate co-benefits of growing food at home.” 

– Enliven Victoria

Food from Home will provide ongoing and free support with:  

  • Helpful resources and step-by-step guides to show you how to grow your food from home.  
  • Access to free seeds to reduce costs and make it easier to start growing.  
  • Support from locals who have gardening experience and can share their knowledge about growing food from home.   
  • Encouragement to share your ‘Food from Home’ stories, especially about what growing food from home means to you, your family, and culture.   

Growing food at home is about so much more than just fresh fruit and vegetables. It helps us to stay physically and mentally healthy, sustains the environment and saves us money. Join the movement today! 

Get social with us and share your Food from Home stories and photos using the hashtag #FoodfromHome  

Facebook: @foodfromh0me 
Instagram: @foodfromh0me

Don’t miss out on updates on free seeds, new growing resources, events and local happenings! Subscribe to our Food from Home newsletter below.

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Happy Growing! 🌱🌱🌱  
– the FFH team