Gardening Under Gums
Wallaby Proof Garden
Last year the wallaby took a big bite out of each of our kiwifruit vines. This year we hope to keep them out of reach with our new rustic enclosure built by my husband using trees from our property.
In midwinter at our place there isn\'t much to harvest apart from rhubarb and the occasional raspberry spared by the wallaby. However, our pepinos are showing promise as a midwinter fruit. Tasting of honeydew melon, they ripen throughout the year. They don\'t survive frosts, but our gum trees provide frost protection.
Building a Chicken Run
We already had a chicken house raised off the ground to keep out foxes, and used to let our chickens roam freely during the day. After all the chickens eventually succumbed to fox attacks during the day, we decided it was time to build some daytime protection (and unfortunately limit the chickens\' freedom).
Swales have been part of permaculture lore for decades, but vertical swales are something different which we think we\'ve invented, or at least come up with independently.
Our raspberries are the most productive thing we grow on our five-acre bush block, yet they are a bit of an enigma. Back in October 2014 we planted 100 Chilcotin raspberry plants grown from tissue culture. All were the same size when we planted them.
My husband built this chicken tractor to help increase the fertility in the barren northern side of the raspberry field.
First Rhubarb Harvest
Our first attempt at growing rhubarb was pretty dismal, so we dug up the rhubarb plant with roots that were rotting despite dry soil, and transplanted it into a Greensmart self-watering pot where it is now thriving. Here's our first harvest.
Our Nemesis - Fusarium Wilt
We face a few challenges on our bush block - acidic clay hard pan soil, gum trees, and voracious wallabies. But our arch enemy is fusarium wilt.
In one of our bush paddocks, we tried keeping pigs to clear the undergrowth and dig up the ground to improve the acidic clay hard pan soil. The pigs did a good job digging up our bracken but once they’d been slaughtered, the field took a long time to recover.
Making apple chips from "scrumped" roadside apples.
Where we live in Gippsland, Australia, there are lots of "seedling" apple trees on the roadsides, so called because the trees grew from seeds. As they are often tart, seedlings make good cooking apples but we also like eating them raw. They make great apple crumbles but my favourite way of eating them is dehydrated.
Do we need to clear our bush block to have a productive veggie garden?
Eucalyptus trees or as they are more commonly known, "gums" dominate most of the Australian landscape. We own a bush block (mainly messmate eucalypts) and enjoy the visiting koalas and other animals. But there\'s one thing we don\'t enjoy, and that is trying to grow a garden beneath our mature gum trees. So will we need to clearfell in order to grow our own veg? Fortunately there are a few things we can do, and we are already...