The inner city guide to gardening

In the crazy of 2020, gardening took on a resurgence. With Supermarket shelves all but stripped bare by panic buying – many thought “I should just grow this myself”. There’s a unique nature to the human experience of growing your own food. Deeply rewarding. And, it’s easier than you might think…

The inner city guide to veggies


After years of growing my own veggies, I’ve tried and failed. There are some things you can do to massively changes the game. Tips i’ve learned (the hard way) to help plan the process. With a little bit of care, you can quite easily prep and produce a plentiful vegetable garden. A source of good healthy food you can enjoy all year round. So, if you’re in Victoria (Australia) kind of climate, here’s what you can do. Best of luck, we believe in you!

Living inner-city and growing fresh veggies is the ultimate way to eat locally while eating in season. No matter if you have limited space, there is a veggie or herb you can grow. Planting is all about timing, soil, water and the sun. If you have the time to plan out a veggie patch, the rewards are endless. It’s a great way to get outside and away from the computer and really connect with mother nature. 

Recently during the lockdown, I was organising my winter crop when I noticed that not only were we running low on toilet paper. But seeds and cuttings were purchased at a ridiculous rate. Yet the seeds and cutting’s people were buying for the winter season were well off the mark. Seeing that the watermelon cuttings were sold out yet the silverbeet still available really made the gardener in me laugh. It made me think that the simple list I have in the shed of when to plant certain veggies to get the best yield would have helped many pandemic gardeners. 

We have put together our very first Atollon planting guide. This should provide any (Victorian) Gardner with an excellent reference for planting your crops at the precise time to get the most beneficial outcomes.



I have been lucky enough to have grown up with a family that has always had their own veggie patch. So the idea of adding manure and collecting compost to help build the soil structure has always been part of my life. There are a few key things that will help any inner-city gardener, no matter where they are based. I have separated these down across the four central areas Soil, Planting, Water and the Sun.


Growing any plant always starts with healthy soil. There are two main parts to building up and replacing the soil’s nutrients: organic compost and manure. Organic matter is easily collected; any household produces more than enough organic gold to boost any household veggie garden. It is always recommended to have two composting bins so that you can keep them at different times in their composting cycle. As an estimate, we would produce around two small green wheelie bins of organic compost a year. Which is more than adequate to handle our veggie patch. Collecting all the green waste is excellent for the garden and keeps it out of landfill.  

Manure is the next essential aspect of improving your soil ready for planting. This comes in all sizes and flavours; I have found that horse manure is the best for vegetable gardens and has the best soil/veggie results. The best option to source this type of manure is often from country roads. With a little gold coin donation, you can get bags of it. And; it’s about as fresh as you can get. On a side note adding, it to your compost bin for a few weeks before you use it can ensure none of the seeds will germinate within the manure. Otherwise, you can get some random veggies/herbs/plants growing in your patch. If you don’t have access to that type of manure, you will get horse manure from any garden store. 

Before we plant our summer crops, we always add all the organic matter and manure and mix it together to help build up your soil’s structure. You will be able to literally smell that soil growing.


This is all about timing; planting your seeds or cuttings at the correct time will allow them to thrive and proliferate. Following the supplied planting guide will give you a great starting point.  When planting vegetables or herbs, you can be ruthless with the ones that don’t grow. It will happen; plants will die; it’s never worth overthinking it and trying to hang on to keep them alive. Remove them straight away and re-plant. While purchasing cuttings, you will get a tray of 8 lettuces; they don’t all need to be planted. If you only eat lettuce now and again, and two would get you through a few months, then that’s all you need to produce. Save your patch to grow what you will eat and the amount you need.


Water, Water, Water… Nothing will ever grow if it doesn’t get water. It’s recommended that your vegetable garden gets a good soaking every morning for around 10 minutes. Having a timed sprinkler will always work better; not worrying about the watering allows you to relax and watch the veggies grow. If there is a lot of rain on the horizon, you always have the option to turn the system off and let mother nature take over. We have always found that early morning is the best time to run the sprinklers. The air is cooler, and the plants are hungry.


The sun is another crucial part of growing any plant. Planting any plant at the most optimal time of the year will give it the best chance to growing to harvest. We usually get enough sunny days to allow any inner-city veggie garden a suitable time to produce results. There is definitely a golden period each year to grow veggies, and that’s Spring. All your vegetable garden plans need to be in place for Spring. Setting your garden up correctly should allow you to have a super productive garden over the warmer months.

"Happy inner-city farming."

- Nick Thorn

How did you veggies go? Let us know….

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