About our garden

We bought our house in 2004. It is 50 years old – too old to keep sparkling clean, but not old enough to have ‘character’. BUT, the blessing of a 50 year old house is 50 year old trees, and we have a huge selection. 50 year old trees mean lots of lovely shade in summer, but as a diehard vegetable gardener, they also created a bit of a problem. But by taking out a pittosporum in the back corner ( they are on the ‘don’t grow these’ list here in Gippsland), we created a sunny spot for my original veggie beds.
Then, in what turned out to be a wonderful blessing, but was quite traumatic at the time, the acre behind us, which has our view came up for sale. It had a huge line of dangerously split Cyprus pines on it, and the proposed driveway site was a jungle, which is I guess what turned other buyers off, and allowed us to grab it. We had the pines removed, thus giving us, and our neighbours winter sun again, cleared a meandering driveway, leaving the nice trees on either side (hence the meandering), and started to create my dream of a self sufficient property.
I read up on permaculture, and tried to put things in zones (as much as I could considering we hadn’t decided yet whether to build on the block, or renovate the older house we were in -in the end renovation won; how could I say goodbye to those old trees?) We have an older cubby for the chickens to live in, and a not so old one that they love to visit and lay eggs in. We’ve planted lots of fruit trees, and still have plans for more. The number of veggie beds has grown and grown, to 11 plus a pumpkin bed. I love to cook, so lots of my surplus gets bottled, dried or frozen, and we eat our own produce for much of the year. It makes me so happy to announce at the dinner table “the carrot and beef are not from the garden” knowing this means that everything else on the table is. I love munching on peas and beans, and whatever else is in season as I work, and I love that my children list such items as Brussels sprouts and broad beans as foods they like, as I can pick them small and fresh, and cook them quickly.
We compost and have worms, although weeds with nasty seeds and the ever present oxalis still go in the green waste bin. I’m doing my best, but I’m not a purist. We put no chemicals in our veggie patches, but we still use round up on paths and in other places. I can’t weed two acres and still be a good mother! Some sheep help take care of some of the lawn mowing.
We live on a regular suburban street, and from the front of the house, you would have no idea what is going on out the back. Which is always a lot!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kirsten on October 12, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    Great to read about it all Donna! Where is this list you speak of though! The don’t grow these in gippsland one. All the best for gardivalia! X


    • Back when we first moved here we had a little pamphlet which listed plants as either environmental problems or noxious. I remember consoling myself with the fact that it was a ‘bad tree’ when we cut it down. Baw Baw shire’s website has it , if you’re interested and the pittosporum is still listed. The big dark leaf tree, not the small variegated hedge plant.


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