VEGIE PATCH BY THE SEA
In the backyard of a Mornington Peninsula cottage, family fun is growing food and raising chickens.
This low-maintenance backyard is a seaside retreat for the McLean family.
“OUR HOUSE HAS A BEACH at the end of the street but the garden was nothing to speak of when we first saw it 11 years ago, just full of overgrown weeds. It’s about 1200 square metres in total and the front is as big as the back, with the backyard fenced for our dog.
The deck was there when we moved in. We sanded it back but haven’t stained it because we like the weathered look. My dad helped set up the vegie garden with orchard fruit bins we painted the same colour as the house. He made the mesh covers out of pine and wire to keep the chickens out. Otherwise we’d have soil kicked everywhere.
I love how low-maintenance it all is – the plants really look after themselves because they’re all hardy varieties that we knew worked well in our area. It’s really productive because our compost heap feeds our vegie patch and the eggs from the chickens are unbeatable. It’s also a great opportunity for the kids to get involved. Tom earns his pocket money by taking care of the chickens.
But it’s not all work. Sometimes we do very little and just enjoy the sun. Backyard cricket is a regular thing when friends are over. We also spend a lot of time on the deck, especially on summer evenings, when we often set up the table tennis table out there.
We’d like to put a pool out the back, though that’s a few years off. Otherwise, there’s not much we would change because everything works so well for our family and lifestyle.”
Fresh produce The McLeans grow tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, potatoes, spinach and more in their garden. Cherry tree