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Gardening and food production

Growing food at home

One way to make sure you always have food is to produce some of it at home. This is great for the environment, and great for your wallet! Growing fruit and vegetables at, or close to, home is a key part of sustainable gardening. It helps to reduce any travel or transport related to food production, and chemical and water use typically associated with commercially grown and packaged food.

It’s also really good for your physical and mental well-being and can be a valuable and fun learning activity for young children.

Check out the Home Harvest booklet (PDF 4Mb) for some information on the basics on getting your home veggie patch up and growing.

Moreland Food Gardens Network

The Moreland Food Gardens Network was set up to help people in the Merri-bek community share information and experiences about gardening. The network also helps people plan and work together to improve food access and urban agriculture in Merri-bek.

Community gardens in Merri-bek

Community gardens bring community members together and are environmentally friendly! In Merri-bek, there are a number of different community gardens. These gardens aren’t all the same — so it’s important to know how the specific garden works that you want to use. Some of them are a collection of separate garden beds and some of them are one shared space for the community. The food grown at a community garden is mainly for the gardeners of that particular garden. 

To find out more about community gardens in Merri-bek visit the:

Sustainable gardening with My Smart Garden

My Smart Garden is a free program offering resources for sustainable and climate resilient gardening.  Workshops, events and garden tours will show you how to grow and preserve food, shelter and cool your home, create habitat for wildlife, use water wisely and reduce your waste.

To find out more about the program and upcoming events, visit the My Smart Garden website.

Growing indigenous plants

Growing indigenous plants is one way to connect with the natural environment and the history of our land.

Indigenous plants are a great option to grow as they suit local soils and our climate. They also have a low impact on our natural environment. Indigenous plants also tend to use less water and attract native birds and wildlife.

  • You can use our tree finder tool to choose an indigenous species that is suitable to the space you want to grow a tree. You can filter the species shown in the results by opening the 'Advanced' search section and selecting 'Indigenous to Merri-bek'.

    We have provided a general selection of tree species below. We recommend these species if you are looking to grow indigenous trees in Merri-bek.

  • Indigenous plants:

    • Common everlasting: A small sprawling herb that grows small groups of golden daisies in summer.
    • Basalt daisy: A small slender herb with upright stems. This plant grows small white daisies in spring and summer.

    Indigenous grasses:

    • Pale flax lily: A grass species with sword-shaped leaves with pale blue flowers in spring.
    • Kangaroo grass: A grass species with leaves that change colour with the seasons. This grass grows tall flowers in spring.
    • Tufted bluebell: A bright green herb with small narrow leaves.

    Indigenous shrubs:

    • Kangaroo apple: A large and very fast growing shrub with dense, dark green, glossy leaves.
    • Woolly tea-tree: A large sprawling shrub with silvery blue leaves. This shrub grows white flowers in winter and woolly coated fruit in spring.
    • Turkey bush: A robust small to medium sized rounded shrub with many glossy green leaves.
    • River bottlebrush: A small to medium sized shrub with light green, narrow leaves. This shrub grows cream bottle brush flowers in summer.
    • Sweet Bursaria: A small to medium sized straight-standing shrub with small green leaves. This shrub grows tiny, sweetly-scented white flowers in summer.
  • These resources have designs, tips, and detailed species information for growing indigenous plants.

    The Sustainable Gardening Australia website has fact sheets and information on sustainable and produce gardening. Their site also has a forum for gardeners to discuss their garden.

Free mulch from street tree pruning

Please note: this mulch is not suitable to use on vegetable patches. You should only use it on paths and garden beds.

We produce mulch through our pruning of street trees around Merri-bek. This mulch comes from a range of trees including eucalypts, callistemon and acacias.

This mulch is unpasteurised, which means it has not been composted. You should only use it on paths and garden beds. Do not use this mulch on vegetable patches.

Visit the mulch bay at the Council Operations Centre in Hadfield (40-46 South Street, Hadfield) to collect free mulch. The mulch is available in limited supply, and the amount of mulch available varies. The mulch bay is open to the public at all hours, and you can help yourself. You will need to bring a trailer or ute to collect the mulch.

Weed control

Weed control

Weed management is a key part of protecting biodiversity and encouraging indigenous flora and fauna. This is especially important along creeks and waterways, as well as in parks, garden beds, sports fields, streets and laneways.

We have different ways of managing weeds, including:

  • hand weeding
  • slow burning
  • biological control
  • the use of non-residual chemical herbicides.

We are committed to reducing the use of inorganic herbicides to control weeds.

To learn more about the use of weed control in Merri-bek visit our Conversations Merri-bek website or you can read our Council Pest and Weed Management Policy (DOC 112Kb) for more information.

  • You can be added to our 'No Spray' register if you do not want us to use chemically-based herbicides on the weeds outside your property.

    If you put yourself on the register, you are agreeing to manage the weeds on the footpath and the kerb in front of and next to your property. You can do this by hand-weeding or using your own environmentally-safe product.

    Email our Open Space Team to register. Make sure you include your name and address. We will then send you a renewal notice each year to check you still want to be on the register.

  • We limit our use of herbicides products to the maintenance of weeds, along the following public areas:

    • Street and lane ways
    • Sports fields
    • Parklands

    To ensure the health and safety of our community members, local wildlife and the local environment – we ensure we follow a number of procedures.

    This includes:

    • Documented work safe procedures for all staff and contractors
    • Precautionary measures for the public, including installing signage in areas where spraying is taking place when spraying in parks and sports fields
    • Documentation of areas treated and record keeping system
    • Providing the opportunity for residents to sign up to our ‘No Spray register’
    • Monitoring weather conditions to avoid spray drifting to nearby areas

    Glyphosate (traded as Round-up) is a common chemical weedicide used to control a broad range of weeds. With concerns raised in the media in recent years, glyphosate products have been phased out from use from high profile sites like playgrounds and child care centres.  

    We are committed to using alternatives to glyphosate where these are effective, and generally reducing our need for chemical applications.