Our many courses on backyard veggie growing covered everything from organic gardening to backyard aquaponics, bush tucker gardening, and of course, serious vegetable growing.

Our courses ran from 2013 to 2018 at locations including the Alexandria Park Community Centre, Buena Vista Farm and 107 Projects in New South Wales, Australia.

In that time, we ran 30 different courses teaching more than 750 students various backyard growing techniques.

Past courses

Serious backyard veggies workshop

Serious Backyard Veggies Workshop

This course gave students two days of hands-on knowledge, tips and tricks for growing truly awesome backyard veggies using organic permaculture techniques.

Topics covered included vegetable garden design, placement and retrofitting, plant and soil relationships, applying strategies for a healthy soil food web in a backyard context, raising great seedlings, preparing garden beds for planting, nutrient cycling at backyard scale – worms, compost, compost teas, making fermented seaweed tea for your garden and developing garden schedules – as well as crop rotations for the backyard scale.

This course was expertly taught by Michael Hewins, a full-time market gardener for a number of years in northern NSW who spearheaded market garden projects at Milkwood Farm in Mudgee and Common2Us in Sydney.

Organic Gardening Basics Course

Organic Gardening Basics Course

We created this course because not everyone knows instinctively how to garden, and that’s fine. Organic Gardening Basics was a one-day course for the absolute beginner gardener.

By the end, students had the basics of garden design, soil, vegetable growing and seed saving covered. They also had a strong understanding of both annual and perennial vegetables – what they need, soil preparation and soil health, seed purchasing, propagation, pests and diseases, nutrient cycling, the fundamentals of crop rotation and much more!

This course was taught by Brendan Morse, an ecologist-botanist, and Narelle Happ, a permaculture and native garden designer, horticulturalist and educator.

Bushtucker Gardening Course

Bushtucker Gardening Course

This one-day course showed students how to introduce more diversity and native species into their diet, and enhance their home gardens as well.

Topics covered included the cultural significance of bush tucker plants to Aboriginal Australians, how to identify different native Australian bush tucker genera and the edible species within each genus, Indigenous medicinal and culinary uses, how to grow bush tucker species in a range of scenarios, how to create appropriate growing conditions, propagating bush tucker species, and how to cook with a variety of bush tucker.

This course was taught by Narelle Happ, a permaculture and native garden designer, horticulturalist and educator who is passionate about creating ‘living’ spaces that are nurturing, productive and sustainable.

Backyard Aquaponics Course

Backyard Aquaponics Course

This two-day practical aquaponics workshop demonstrated how to build your own aquaponics system and produce organic, water-wise vegetables and fresh fish in your own backyard.

Topics covered include the theory and history of aquaponics, nutrient cycling in different types of aquaponics systems, integrating aquaponics with a permaculture approach for low-energy / high yield systems, different types of setups, grow beds, pumps and equipment, integrating an aquaponics system efficiently and aesthetically into your backyard and the nitty-gritty of adaptable, modular, upgradable, DIY, media-based aquaponics systems.

This course was taught by Floyd Constable, an experienced permaculture and aquaponics designer and teacher.

Student reviews

“An incredibly knowledgeable teacher, really generous with his time and information. The setting was wonderful at Pocket City Farms, and it attracted a like-minded group of people, all eager to learn. I couldn’t recommend this course more highly, and look forward to my next Milkwood course.”

Madeleine Gasparinatos
Serious Backyard Veggies participant

“What was provided was a passionate and knowledgeable teacher, always willing to share, and a dedicated support crew. The course has given me the ability to look at growing as a structured process, being accountable while enjoying the process. When the soil is healthy, the harvest is bountiful.”

Sathya James
Serious Backyard Veggies participant

“The course was broadly about how to rehabilitate soil to improve its productivity, without artificial chemicals and weedkillers. It gave me such good background and new enthusiasm. Now I feel I know how to tackle my big project.”

— Rose Toalster
Serious Backyard Veggies participant

How you can learn backyard vegetable growing with us now

We have loads of articles freely available in our online archive of useful things. Look out for articles on vegetable gardening, aquaponics, compostwater harvesting + reuse and many other topics! We also teach several home-scale veggie growing techniques as part of our Permaculture Living online course.