Friday, May 14, 2021

Small inconveniences


What's this wet stuff?

Like the rocks piled around our septic tank, waiting to be turned into a retaining wall, so are the rest of the jobs, piling up outside too. We were already struggling with time but recent storm activity, held things up further. I don't mind the rain. It's fantastic! Always does wonders for our garden. But I do find myself counting the hours, to when I can get the next job done! 

My shoes are tracking clay into the house, and when walking around outside, I need to find stable ground. Otherwise my shoes start sinking. Just look at this little ripper of an example!

One of these legs, are not like the other

Maybe it has something to do with the barrow being full of road-base, with a 20kg bag of sand & gravel, on top? Otherwise remnants from a project, we failed to put away as the sun went down. Believing we'd return the next afternoon to finish. The overnight storm had other ideas though. Because once completely saturated, the barrow became twice as heavy. The ground soon gave way. Now we wait for clear skies to finish the job we started. 

During one of the storms, we lost power too. For almost 24 hours. It fined up a little during the day, so I went outside to put some plants in the ground. Of course, when you live on slopes, planting a tree isn't a simple affair. Often, you have to make your own flat land. 

Organic raised beds

I actually started this project a few weeks ago, when we took down some trees. One of the large trunks had a fork in it, which helped create another planting pocket. We stacked other branches on top, to create the terraces. Nothing fancy. Just using what we have to create flat land. It does the job. What it takes is time though. Removing the tree, separating their parts and utilising them elsewhere. A true commitment.

Finally, it can start growing

All this, just to plant a fruit tree! A Brazilian cherry, which I propagated from seed. In high rainfall areas, fruit trees can be planted directly onto a slope. No landscape interventions required. Given we experience long dry spells though, it's better to plant trees onto flat ground. Which allows gravity to soak any rainfall, directly down to the roots. Rather than skimming the surface on the way down the slope. 

All mulched in

The cherry got a friend, in a variegated Dietes Iridioides. This strappy-leaf grass, can handle the heat and grows fast. It will help create a nicer micro-climate, for the fruit tree to establish.  I also planted a few ground-covers which are too small to see, at present. They will fall over the wood terrace, helping shade it from direct sun. Reducing evaporation. Translation - more moisture for longer. So many strategies layered in place, to give the best chance of success!

I wish it was a simple matter, of just planting trees in the ground. We don't have the terrain or conditions, to foster that simple approach though. In the past, our fruit trees did't stand a chance of establishing on clay slopes, with sporadic rainfall, heat, and mini dinosaurs - otherwise known as brush turkeys. Who regularly uncover the mulch with their incessant scratching. I can't tell you how many fruit-trees we lost in the recent, four-year drought. Or maybe I another post though. 


A different kind of fruit.

Right now, the rain is triggering the fungi to proliferate - so the cycle of soil improvement begins once more. I'll take these moments, when I can get them. Shuffling as many jobs as I can, between showers. Weather predictions suggest, I'll have a few clear days coming up. So I'll use those as best I can. Starting with repatriating our wheelbarrow!

Are you having challenges with the weather, in your location at present? I'm personally grateful for my small inconveniences, if it means the land becomes hydrated again.


  1. After having the driest April we are now having rain most days, which as a gardener in a lockdown, I don't mind, everywhere is looking green and healthy. We live in a drier area of UK, so any rain at this time of year is helpful, but our problems are nothing compared to yours, being on clay on the flat is bad enough.

    1. That's wonderful your garden is bursting to life again, M. The perfect time of year for it too. The winter chill is departing for summer. As a gardener, I know the contentment you must be feeling now! Nothing better than looking out your window to see a lush garden. 🙂

  2. So nice that you've been getting rain. Makes everything happier. I love your spontaneous terracing! But I see how those turkeys are a nuisance. That's the very reason our chickens have limited access to everything on our place.

    1. Ha! You're so right, Leigh. If any scratching was going to tear-up the garden, I'd rather it be my chickens. But even they're not allowed the privilege. 😉 When I get them again, that is.

  3. You are so blessed to get rain Chris, the ground definitely looks nice and soaked. As for our rain? We are still waiting, it has been a very dry start to the year with only a little rain falling here and there. The ground is hanging out for a good old soaking, but its not looking likely any time soon.

    Hope the cherry tree does well in the new bed, sounds like it should do well with the conditions you have provided.

    Thank goodness we don't have bush turkeys! The black birds are painful enough when they scratch everything out. The kangaroos have been back having a feast on my moringa trees and grape vines. Another reason we need rain, so the kangaroos go back out bush and leave my plants alone. I don't mind really, as I wouldn't want them to be hungry and thirsty.

    Enjoy the lovely rain.

    1. I'm guessing winter is your rainy season, in central Australia. With sandy soils, it's even more important to receive that consistent rainfall. Here's hoping it arrives for your soon. Our rainy season was weird this year. Receiving heavy rainfall in late autumn - when it's usually a summer thing. So maybe the same will happen for you too. The heavy rainfall may be coming, just not when it's traditionally expected.

      I know how desperate wildlife can get in the dry. They're relentless on a garden. I empathise with your kangaroo refugee situation. When the kangaroos would come for my pigeon peas in the dry, they would strip the branches bare. Even snapping them, if they could bend a higher branch down. I decided I needed more, and planted them in clumps instead, so at least the middle was protected from them gaining access. I planted 3 pigeon peas, in the same hole, I used to plant one. Plant a row of these clumps - even better! Otherwise they will thoroughly trash a single plant, all on it's lonesome.

  4. Chris, did you lose your power in the storm last week? We didn't lose it here but I thought we would. It is fine once again but so cold outside in the wind. I try to do some gardening in the sunshine to warm up. There are always weeds to pull out after the rain unfortunately. I am glad you got some rain though as most of it seemed to miss us here including the hail thankfully.

    1. Sorry for the late reply - we did lose our power. Funny thing is, there was no bad weather here, none more than a regular storm anyway. Yet just eight minutes down the road, it downed tree branches which took out the power. So yeah. Weird, lol.


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