Griffins Hill Retreat yoga and food blog
The good thing about gardening is that there is always next year to try again – that’s how I felt after last summer, one of the most challenging I’ve face in term of crop production here in my organic kitchen garden.
In January, Dunkeld was listed as the driest place in Victoria, which is amazing when you think if the usual contenders like the wind-blown Malley Wimmera region. Basically there was no meaningful rain between September 2012 and June 2013 – typically we would have had a good soaking month or so of rain in that time, with a nice downpour in January to quell the dust.
This year, I’d struggle out during the constant above-average temperatures into my parched garden. Although the Griffins Hill’s 250,000 litre water tank was full, and able to provide irrigation water, somehow irrigation just never makes up for actual rain.
Some crops simply refused to produce. The potatoes tubers popped their heads up and flowered, then died without producing potatoes. The tomatoes grew half-heartedly. The only bright patch in the garden was the eggplants, chilies and peppers which loved the heat and thrived.
Unfortunately, they met a sad fate. Our neighbourhood kangaroos, which were becoming increasingly hungry and skinny during the dry spell, began looking longingly over the fence at the few veggies, a rare green patch in their parched world.
One big fella made his move when I was on a trip to Melbourne. Upon returning, I found large chunks missing from the just-about-ready eggplants.
To catch the culprit, I went out at midnight with the torch. There he was, standing upright and taller than me, indulging in the exotic flavoursome offers again. This time, he was even eating the chilies.
We had a gentle exchange. At that moment I understood his survival depended on my veggies. I agreed that he could have this season’s veggies as long as it was just for one summer. I knew I could keep him out of another veggie garden I’d made and secured with, a 1.2m high fence, in a lower section of the property.
The kangaroo has been true to his word. The dry spell ended in June. His grasslands are back in abundance. I know how he feels. The rain and our warm spring promises bountiful crops this year.