Welcome to the forest

Hi, I’m Jian and I’m the gardener and designer behind Melbourne Foodforest.

We have a standard backyard in suburbia, but have made the marvellous (or crazy?!) decision to convert every inch of our land into a productive working garden. Now this doesn’t mean rows of boring veggies or ugly polypipe.

Melbourne Foodforest was born from a philosophy of ‘edible beauty‘ – that you can have both a beautiful garden and a productive one. We intermingle fruit trees, veggies, and companion flowers in many layers to create a space that nourishes our belly and our soul.

Our mission has always been to tread lightly on the earth, and it is our goal to share all our accumulated wisdom to fast-track your own food forest — whether you are growing in a backyard, a few pots on a balcony or you have the luxury of a few acres — we will help you create the edible jungle of your dreams.

  • We love teaching, which means you won’t find any jargon here, just practical, detailed guides with step-by-step instructions to demystify every garden process — complete with glorious photos and videos.
  • We are passionate about gardening sustainably. You will not need to spend copious amounts of money, or buy mountains of plastic-packaged products in order to have your own foodforest. Our solution is often recycled, free and local.
  • We are experts at growing in shade and poor soil — our garden is in deep shade for most of the year and our soils are poor and lifeless grey sand. We’ll share our secrets on how you can grow abundant fruit & veg even in the most challenging conditions. 
  • We love the weird and wonderful — you’ll learn about our favourite unique edibles from different cultures, that often out-perform the standard varieties!
  • We will hold your hand across the whole seed to plate journey — including delicious recipes and creative ways to use and preserve your harvest.
  • We will share our favourite heirloom seeds and nifty products to make your gardening easier and more fruitful.

Here you’ll find our favourite hacks, tips and time-shaving cheats that really work.

Who are we?

Jian. I am an obsessed food gardener and a food forest designer. In addition to sharing all our tips & tricks on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook and Pinterest, I write for Organic Gardener Magazine and you’ll find my jam-packed articles in the magazine and on the OG blog. You can also catch us on TV every Saturday night on Channel 31 (actually channel 44 on TV) if you’re in Melbourne!

Julian. My husband, Julian, is the chef who turns our abundant produce into wonderful meals, baked creations and ferments. He’s always busily experimenting in the kitchen, creating new ways to celebrate the veggies & fruit grown in our garden and to preserve our harvest for year-round enjoyment. He is the writer of our wholesome back-to-basics recipes, and the author of his cooking website Zest & Fizz. He’s also the tech genius behind our website and videos.

Our kids. We have two young children, who are the reason we grow our own organic fruit and veg. They are constantly driving us to find more sustainable ways to garden and live. They love taste testing everything in the garden and are our taste-test critics. They especially love looking after our chooks and our goldfish.

Our chooks. We are proud to have three heritage hens, an araucana, an australorp and a barnevelder, who we affectionately refer to as Carnie, Lorpy and Barney. They provide us with endless entertainment, fertiliser and fresh eggs for most of the year. They are also our resident bug-catchers and soil tillers.

Our garden

As so many of you have asked, here are some fast facts about our garden:

  • Size: Our backyard is around 250 square meters, with around 200 square meters of growing area (the rest is paved)
  • Features: We have two water tanks (5000L and 3000L), three chooks living in our salvaged chook pen and run, five worm farms, three compost bins, a greenhouse and a productive pond with over 30 fish
  • Growing: We have over 80 types of fruits and grow countless varieties of heirloom veggies every season
  • Soil: Extremely sandy: picture grey beach sand (despite not being anywhere near the beach!)
  • Light: Shady shady shady — we live in a leafy suburb with giant trees everywhere. Whilst it’s a challenge, we have developed techniques to grow a flourishing foodforest with little sun

Photos by Kirsten Bresciani