Well, not very well out here, here in this little outback town. Unless, that is, you want to grow a pure rock garden. One of the people we met when we first moved out here stated
quite seriously that “the only thing we grow here is Rocks!” It was then explained away as a combination of the soil, the bore water and the dry heat.
Unlike most other
places in the region we don't use river water here for household purposes we use bore water. The bore water here comes up Hot and has to be pumped through cooling ponds before coming
to the house. Straight from the tap it has a taste and a smell and even a feel but most of all it's pretty warm. The sprinklers are usually set up high in order that the water cools a little before it hits the ground.
Our house sits on a big yard with trees around the edges on three sides. In the back corner we have a tubular type green house with U-shaped raised garden beds. It looks like it once had a sprinkler system but the pipes were
cut before we arrived. Apparently a previous tenant was going to take it with them but it was considered too much of a hassle to disassemble. I attempted to refresh the soil in one of the garden beds by turning it over and aerating it as well as removing as
many rocks and stones as I could. It was a hard job when I first started that was until I got some decent garden tools.
I had never been into gardening but thought this a good opportunity to grow some basic vegetables, maybe even grow enough to supply others. However, I once killed cactus with over-watering so I wasn't too keen on my ability
to grow anything let alone have surplus. I then bought a couple of packets of seeds mainly carrots and pak choi. These seemed to have the simplest instructions and looked to grow in most conditions. I used half a packet of carrot seeds to start with,
lets call it an experiment.
After a couple of weeks of duly watering the garden bed with a watering can and cooling the water beforehand I began to see little green shoots in the spots where I had placed the seeds. Not all were growing at the same rate but if a few were to grow
then I would be more than happy with that. However, after that initial burst I started to see other green shoots in other places in and around what I thought were the carrots. This concerned me as these new shoots looked different. I tried removing all of
these as they sprung up.
Then I realised that these were the same weeds that have been taking over part of our back yard. Somehow these weeds had gotten into the greenhouse and into
the garden bed and were now competing for space and water with what I thought were my little carrots. Maybe it was the variety of bird life that visits the trees in the yard or the kangaroos who easily hop the fence, whatever it was it's a mystery to me.
Eventually I tried to pull anything that looked like carrot shoots out of the ground in the hope I could save one or two but to no avail. Since my little experiment failed it has left
me disappointed and not wanting to invest any more time and certainly no more money into any retrial. Perhaps it was the water that caused the crop to fail though I was using tap water that I cooled before watering the plants on a daily basis. Anyway, I have
now put that little hobby idea out of my head.
I find it hard enough to keep the grass green and the trees trimmed in this environment. My partner has recently been given some small
plants with some potting mix in pots and I am tasked with the watering. To this i have added a little recycling in the form of old water containers with the tops cut off being used as pot holders. Given my history of plant death and destruction i'm not
sure how these will go. I guess the apple does not fall far from the tree as my dad is not one for gardening either.
I have since seen photos of others more successful gardens from around here. They seem to have roses and various vegetables growing well in pots and in raised garden beds. I suppose they use potting mix, fertiliser and maybe even
river water to grow theirs. That all seems too technical for me and an investment of more money than I am willing to invest.
Talking about investment, I recently wrote a piece for
a writing competition featured in a favourite magazine of mine. The piece is about 'property' and is all about ownership, homelessness and the property crisis. Once the competition closes I will post it to the blog so stay tuned for that...