Gardening and growing food

Grow your own food

Growing your own food at home is a great way to boost your physical and mental wellbeing, improve your diet and nutrition, and build a greater connection with the local community through a common activity and purpose.

My Smart Garden is a free sustainable gardening program to help you grow food and transform your outdoor space (yards, balconies or pots) into a beautiful and functional garden.

Join today to access a jam-packed calendar of events, a monthly newsletter and the chance to connect with Melbourne's gardening community. The program is supported by the City of Stonnington along with the cities of Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Wyndham and Yarra.

Join My Smart Garden

If you would like to grow your own food but don't have the space, the Armadale Baptist Church Community Garden on Kooyong Road, Armadale could be the answer. Follow them on Facebook or contact the committee at

Sustainable gardening resources

With a little planning, it’s easy to create a beautiful garden that suits our climate, attracts local wildlife, enhances biodiversity and provides health and wellbeing benefits to you and your family.

Browse the library of gardening and growing resources including recordings of past events at My Smart Garden.

Top tips for creating a sustainable garden:

  • plant indigenous plants (local to Melbourne)
  • don't leave pet food outside for foxes or Indian Myna birds
  • install a nesting box for a feathery friend
  • keep cats inside and only let dogs off-leash in specified areas
  • pull out weeds
  • use natural alternatives to synthetic chemicals, like worm castings or compost to boost your garden.

Read Sustainable Gardening in Stonnington for tips on how to create your own sustainable garden and for loads of sustainable garden design inspiration visit the Sustainable Gardening Australia website.

Check out our Stonnington Home Harvest booklet for more advice on planning, planting and maintaining your own home food garden.

Hear from Council’s very own horticultural team in this handy native planting video for tips on how to care for native plants in your garden to support local pollinators and birds.

Check out the Indigenous Plant Use booklet, created by Barkandji woman Zena Cumpston and containing information on indigenous plant species and their cultural, nutritional, technological and medicinal use. The booklet includes plant labels that you can print and use in your own garden.

My Smart Garden program

My Smart Garden is a free sustainable gardening program to help you grow food and transform your outdoor space (yards, balconies or pots) into a beautiful and functional garden.

From growing food in small spaces to heirloom seed saving and backyard olives, there’s loads of information to help you grow your own delicious fruits and veggies! When you join you’ll receive:

  • invitations to free events, workshops and tours and access to recordings of past workshops
  • a monthly newsletter packed full of expert gardening tips
  • the chance to participate in regular competitions
  • the opportunity to connect with fellow gardeners.

The program is free for residents, schools, community groups and businesses. To join, simply fill out the form below.

The program is supported by the City of Stonnington along with the cities of Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Wyndham and Yarra.

Join My Smart Garden

Keeping bees

Stonnington residents are able to keep two recreational beehives. To keep more than two hives you must register as an beekeeper with Agriculture Victoria.

For hobby beekeeping information including tips on getting started, tools and protective equipment visit the Agriculture Victoria website.

For more advice and support, join a local beekeeping group such as the Victorian Apiarists' Association or The Beekeepers Club.

Keeping chickens and poultry

To keep chickens, quails or other poultry in Stonnington you much first obtain a Poultry Permit.

Before considering chickens for your backyard we recommend you read the Victorian Government's Department of Health and Human Services Keeping backyard chickens - What you need to know and our fact sheet on Keeping poultry(DOC, 38KB).

The permit is free and is needed to ensure poultry are kept in a safe and humane manner, and neighbours are aware and approve of the situation. Before a permit is issued an inspection of your property and the poultry coop must be completed.

Apply for a Poultry Permit online

For more information, call our Animal Management team on 03 8290 1333.

Composting and worm farms

Composting and worm farming are great ways to minimise food waste by turning your food scraps into nutrient rich plant food for your garden.

We offer residents 40 per cent off the cost of worm farms, bokashi bins and compost bins (including delivery).

Visit the Compost Revolution website to purchase a discounted worm farm, bokashi bin or compost bin.

Apartment Composting Program

If you live in an apartment building and want to reduce waste going to landfill, join our Apartment Composting Program.

We support residents and owners corporations to set up on-site communal worm farms or composting systems.

The program is also a great way to get to know your neighbours and improve the health of your building's gardens.

To get you started, we’ll provide:

  • full subsidies on Hungry Bin worm farms and Green Cone solar composters, for up to 3 units per apartment building
  • free on-site or online workshops for residents
  • free kitchen caddies for participating residents
  • access to information and support materials.

The Owners Corporation is responsible for any costs relating to installation and ongoing maintenance.

Choose which composting system is the best fit for your apartment building:

Hungry Bin worm farm

  • Self contained system that needs to be installed on a stable surface, in shade.
  • Approximately the size of a large wheelie bin.
  • Infrequent emptying is required by removing castings at the bottom of the worm farm.
  • Produces liquid ‘worm tea’ which can be diluted and used as a plant fertiliser.
  • Processes up to 2 kg of food scraps per day.
  • Takes a limited range of food scraps (i.e. no citrus, onions or bread).

Green Cone solar composter

  • Cone shaped system standing 110cm above ground and base diameter of 38cm.
  • Needs to be partially buried in a sunny patch of soil or grass (up to a depth of 42cm).
  • Requires professional installation. Please follow manufacturer’s instructions and check with Dial before you dig before installing.
  • Low maintenance - no need to turn or empty.
  • Takes a large range of food scraps (including citrus, onions and bread).

How to sign up for the program

  1. Contact your Owners Corporation and let them know you'd like to be the Resident Champion for this program.
  2. Get support for your apartment neighbours. To join the program, 30 per cent of your neighbours must be interested. You can use our resident signature template below to engage with them.
  3. Submit a Composting Program application

The following documents will help you to complete the application form:

What happens after you apply?

Your Owners Corporation will receive an email about ordering the units, payment and installation.

We will contact the Resident Champion to arrange a workshop date and organise the delivery of caddies and other resources.

For all program enquiries, email us at or call 03 8290 1333.