Greening the city

Living in the city is a trade-off. Small home, great food, high rent, arts and entertainment, rotten traffic, shorter commute, smog in summer, walkable everywhere. And so on.

For me, that trade-off is worth it. And I absolutely love where I live now, because our little community is very old, very gentle and very quiet, yet I am a short walk from wonderful precincts like Brunswick Street, Lygon Street, Rathdowne Village and Nicholson Village, and only half an hour’s walk from the centre of the city.

But I miss having a garden. A few straggly ferns and agapanthus plus one giant rosemary bush, bordering weed-filled paving in a tiny back courtyard, do not a garden make. We are renters, so there’s not much I can do to change that (except get ride of the weeds between the paving bricks. I really must get on to that).

Cue the good people at Federation Square and The Little Veggie Patch Co, who have collaborated to create an AWESOME city project: the Pop Up Patch.

What is it? Smack bang in the heart of the city, it is your very own organic vegetable patch. Each ‘patch’ is made out of wooden fruit crates. It is filled with organic material and soil, ready to plant. You’re given seedlings (three sets a year, to work within the seasons), all the tools you need, and all-week help from gardening staff on-site. The garden is kept locked and secure. They water your vege patch for you when you’re away. And all this for $3.50 a day, over 12 months.

Brilliant, oui? This will be perfect for people who work in the CBD. They can stop by on their way home from work to dig a little, weed a little, and bite down on a juicy cherry tomato, warm from the summer sun, before heading home.

I am sorely tempted to book myself a Pop Up Patch of my very own, friends. SORELY tempted. For me and Madeleine it would be a commitment, requiring a dedicated trip in several times a week to visit our garden. But it’s not far, and we could walk or take the tram. Would I stick with it enough to make it worth it? This decision requires a degree of self-knowledge I’m not sure I possess.

What do you think? Should I do it? Will I see you there?

(All images from The Little Veggie Patch Co website)

ps. These books are going fast. Get a copy while they’re still free!

UPDATE 15 October: I sneaked over to Federation Square once the Pop Up Patch was open, and took some photos. You can see them here (scroll to the bottom).


  • Brandi

    I want my own Pop Up Patch! I really miss having my own outdoor space. While the area of Washington DC I live in actually has many green spaces, I want my own garden, my own land…with my own cute little cafe table. Sigh…I’m just dreaming away over here.
    Do the Pop Up Patch so I can live vicariously through you.

  • NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad)

    what a fantastic idea! Perfect for city people who like yourself dont have the space for a garden, perfect for retirees who love gardening! I also think it would be great for kids to learn about how to grow fresh fruit n veggies. And its so cheap!

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