22 August 2011

Changes in the backyard

Life is never static. Things change all the time. Just when you think it's looking fine, change breezes in, and the work starts again. On Saturday, Hanno and I were having breakfast and discussing our vegetable and fruit gardens. I said I thought it would be a good idea to fence the chooks off from the fruit - that we should look at the fruit area as an orchard, and put in more fruit. I suggested that we move the picket fence we have at the front of the vegetable garden - the fence we originally put up to keep two mental and energetic young Airedale Terriers out of the vegetable patch, over to fence off the orchard from the rest of the garden. Those two Airedales are now one and she is old, almost blind, totally deaf and certainly doesn't run anywhere. The garden problem now is that the chooks scratch around the roots of the fruit trees because they're covered with mulch. So, the problem has been discussed, we'll work out what we'll do and get around to it fairly soon.

The original setup, now 14 years old.

Wrong! By the time I was washing up, the picket fence was being taken down and the configuration of the backyard was changing again.

When you first start out on backyard gardening, you often think your designs and ways of working will stay the same forever. That is rarely the case and if you stay at it long enough, what used to work, will stop working and if you want to continue, you have to change what you carefully set up.

I love change. I love the new possibilities and opportunities it brings.

Our aim now is to have fruit growing all year. The two recent weather events in Australia that shot banana prices up to $12 a kilo shocked us and has made us determined to keep our bananas growing as much as we can through the year. In that orchard area we're also growing loquats, grapes, oranges, pink grapefruit, mandarins, passionfruit and loofahs. All the citrus are loaded with flowers for the next lot of fruit and, amazingly, the loofas are still growing from last year, and they're flowering again. They grew all through winter! When we get the fence up I plan on planting raspberries along the fence and vanilla orchids in with the loofahs. With the chooks unable to access the fruit trees, we'll be able to look after them properly and keep the fruit going longer. We hope to have different types of fruit growing throughout the year.

We've also been thinking carefully about what new vegetables we have to plant so we don't have to rely on buying too much at the market. With the financial crisis dragging on and on, I think it's prudent to think more about the money-saving benefits of vegetables, fruit and hens, and not just the health and lifestyle benefits. It's one of the easy things we can do that will make a difference to what we eat and how much we spend on food. The vegetable garden has always been a priority for us, now we'll give that same emphasis to the fruit we grow and make sure we keep the garden going for as long as we can. Our succession planting will move up a notch and we'll be growing lettuces and herbs in containers this year so they can be moved around as the weather changes. That's the plan - spend a little more on seeds, mulch and fruit trees and expand a little. Wise economy.

What's happening in your vegie patch? Are you making changes that will see you through the tough times ahead? How has your garden changed since it went in?



  1. I knew it! Everyday, just before we go to bed, there is always a post from you with so much words to inspire. Do you know how nice it is to go to bed with your wise words? ;o)

    Our first garden was in the middle of a complex, our new garden is on the edge of the complex, next to a ditch. We changed the place of our garden and took as much plants as possible with us. Unfortunately our apple tree, grapes and blackberries didn't survive, but the rest of all veggs seems to be okay.

    And the amount of veggie-plants varies. We have more beans now and less coal. We'll learn through the years ;o)

  2. Not much got done this summer, with a new baby. When the weather begins to cool off, as in less than 100' every day, I'm planning on putting in a "salad garden"... lettuces mostly, but some spinach and perhaps other leafy greens.

    I'd love fruit trees, but we are only here till Hubby finishes school, then its off to some other uni. When we finally settle down with a professorship for Hubby, I plan to put lots of fruit in, all according to the climate.

  3. My vege garden at the moment consists of 1 basil plant in a pot on the window sill.
    At the twice weekly markets near where we are living in Berlin, I am constantly amazed at the price of fruit and vegetables. The two things that stick in my mind from Friday and the bananas at 69 euro cents a kilo (95c Au) and 2 kilos off doughnut peaches selling for 1 euro. (A$1.38). I know that these are not organic and I am not sure where the fruit comes from but I am still amazed by these prices.

  4. We tried, in vain, for several years to grow tomatoes, squash, cucumbers and herbs in our backyard - never enough sun, though.

    For the last two years we've planted in the only sunny spot in our yard - in the front by our mailbox. We've had delicious tomatoes, basil, cayenne pepper, rosemary and thyme. Next year, I'd like to try smaller, cherry tomatoes and maybe only one cayenne since we've been bombarded with so many peppers I can't keep up with picking them !

  5. Wicking beds!!

    (Oh my aching back...)

  6. Hi Rhonda, another thought provoking and wonderful post from you. If its not too personal i would love hear about the following. Who does the majority of the work in the garden, how much time is spent in the garden daily, when you mentioned i will plant are you meaning Hano? I am just curious as my mother and partner could not balance the work in there garden and unfortunately there were fights which spoilt the whole thing. I think its wonderful how you both seem to work so well together....


  7. my husband, Joe is the same.. just a mention of something to be done.. and he is off.. we are truly blessed Rhonda :)
    by the way, can you grow tamarillos? they are delicious. full of vitamin C
    [not much growing here either.. herbs and greens... lots of citrus at the moment too]

  8. Our gardening in raised beds is not going so well. Some of that is due to the extreme heat and drought (SW Oklahoma, in the US), but we didn't have a great garden last year either, so there are probably other factors. We have been making plans to take down our beds, till up the ground beneath and around, and work in all the compost and soil that were in the beds to amend our clay somewhat. This is waiting till our temps drop just a bit, as it is just too hot to be out there much except in the middle of the night.

    We also may reconfigure our fencing a bit for our hens.

    I always enjoy your garden/chicken posts and love seeing the pictures!

  9. Our garden has changed quite a bit since moving in a few years ago and is ever-evolving. This weekend we put in another kitchen garden right at the front door and have been discussing how to arrange a few large rotational yards for the chooks and grow more of our own chook food as well.

    I am more determined than ever to grow more of our food, for the reasons of health, freshness and convenience most of all, but knowing of many other benefits, so will be concentrating my efforts on getting this plan underway.


  10. I need to start a vege garden this year and it will have to be in a different part of the yard as the previous one had too much hot sun but was also where any strong winds could blow tall plants over. At the moment it's too wet to do anything.

  11. It's a beautiful day in Melbourne today so I think the cherubs and I will be out in the garden for the day. Our veggie space is divided into two areas, one close to the house with herbs, lettuce and broadbeans (planted there by my 4 year old!) and the other further away, and fruit trees are dotted around the yard. Today I'll take a notebook and pen and do some plotting and planning and have a good attempt at documenting on paper our landscape. My idea of a perfect day...

  12. The patch of grass where my sons used to play football is about to become a small orchard. We let it grow as a wildflower "meadow" this summer but will plant some young fruit trees in the autumn. Preferably some Heritage apple varieties and maybe some more plums or damsons. I envy you the climate that can grow citrus fruit and bananas!

  13. I love change too. It looks like you are adapting well to the current economy by investing in more seeds and plants. We kicked off our (shorter) growing season this weekend by putting in blueberries, potatoes and asparagus. Our twelve or so mix of heirloom fruit trees, berries and sugar maples we ordered should be arriving this week. I've been reading Jackie French's guide to self sufficiency and she is a wealth of (local) information on setting up your backyard for self sufficiency.

  14. Patricia, our work is roughly divided between outside and inside. I do inside, Hanno does outside. However, he also does a bit in the house and I do a bit outside. We work to our strengths. I sow the seeds and keep the seedlings coming, I look after the worm farm. Hanno plants the seedlings into the garden and looks after the compost. Hanno definitely does most of the garden work. I water the vegetables sometimes and I harvest and tie back.

  15. Your yard looks and sounds beautiful. We have only been in our house for a little more than a year but had an acceptable fruit/nut orchard going and I had two veggie beds planted last spring. Unfortunatly we are in a terrible drought, it has not rained in over 9 months. I had to pull out my veggie garden between running out of water in the barrels and being on water restriction this did not allow for the extra outside watering. Many areas around us are running out of drinking water. I am trying to keep my trees alive with water I can reuse from the house. I have lost about 6 trees. But I will continue to do what I can, praying it will rain soon, and planning on ways to save more rain water when it does.

  16. Ours is always changing. That's a part of the fun.
    Husband does any heavy work but I am the grower, weeder, planner, supervisor...
    It take most of my time but it gets me outside. We grow more than 99% of our vegeables but we too want more fruit trees in.


  17. Our main orchard is in our chook pen but is fenced off so we get the benefit of the chook poo running down the hill but the chickens cannot get in to scratch up the mulch. We have quite a few davidson plums in there which seem to be flourishing but still waiting on fruit - hopefully this year! Because we have the room, we keep on adding to our fruit trees and are going for some of the more unusual tropical fruits such as black sapotes - the chocolate pudding fruit. The best decision we made was to grow bananas. Not having to buy bananas when they were $15 a kilo in the supermarket was most satisfying.
    Finding it very hard to find strawberries that are not hydroponically grown - realized that much of the produce at the farmers markets is hydroponic and some of it is passed off as organic which really annoys me, so this spring really going to make an effort to get a decent berry patch going as I would like produce that is actually grown in soil!

  18. I wanted to know if vanilla orchids are edible? Or do they just provide a nice aroma?
    Sally from Vancouver BC Canada

  19. I'm with Frogdancer. Wicking beds are the order of the day. I have to organise gravel and compost today to fill the new beds (made from cast iron baths) and then hopefully will get them up and running this week. Our garden never stays the same either. If it's not the vegetables, its the musical chook pens or the orchard. Half the fun is in the planning I think...vbg.

  20. Sally, vanilla orchids turn into vanilla beans, which are what vanilla extract and paste are made from.

  21. I love the change and development of gardens, too! The infrastructure for our garden was in place when we moved into our house in late June, and we hurriedly filled it with veggie starts to get in on as much of the growing season as possible, but I want to plan it out more next year, and put some extra time in this fall, planning and cultivating and enriching the soil and hopefully expanding some beds so we can grow more that will sustain us. We were too late to plant potatoes this year, which I really miss, but we'll be able to put in a fall garden, which is exciting!

  22. Rhonda- I just adore your garden!! With our move imminent(one more sleep) I am making plans with zeal, and have instructed my dh that the mulberry tree at our new house is to stay,lol. Thankyou for another insight into your beautiful garden! :)

  23. What are wicking beds??

    I have two cherry trees waiting to be planted. We had too much rain a while back and it killed my cherry tree, and almost took the almond tree as well. the trees in my little orchard have only been in for two to three years, so still waiting patiently for fruit.

    I have raised beds and need to top them up with soil and mulch before Spring planting. I've also started growing pots of herbs for tea in my front yard to try to save even more money.

    Rhonda, bananas are $14.95 a kilo here today! I just bought one each for the children. This is the second time in their life when having a banana is a huge treat due to cost.

    One of my dogs (dalmatian) broke down the fence to the chook run. I'm working up the energy to redo it with stronger wire so we can have chooks again.

    Have a great day :) Madeleine

  24. We have been trying to expand our veggie patch, well by that I mean expand it from just pots to an actual patch. Yesterday we worked in the garden, I planted my only seedlings that had grown big enough, some spinach. 5 little plants sitting in the plot. We can't afford to build a fence right now so we lined the edgge of our plot with our potted fruit trees to help keep the dogs out. Around this we placed some plastic mesh which we had lying around. This morning I found our oldest dog in the veggie patch, digging around near some strawberries we planted a few weeks ago,,,,strawberries that had lots of flower son them and were looking really healthy :( He got in underneath the rainwater tank, he pushed the blockade out of the way in order to get in. Even if I caught him I can't really scold him easily as he is totally deaf and you have to physically go and get him out which in itself is hard because of the way we have blocked it off from him! I just want to throw my hands in the air and say I give up, but I don't want to, I need to devise another way. As it is this set up is very hard to get into for us but it is all we can come up with for the moment. Time to put my thinking cap back on again I think, AAAAGGHH I feel like screaming!

  25. As we have only been at our property for a few years, we focused on getting the fruit trees in first and this year I finally started a vegetable garden, which has been so enjoyable. I know what you mean about the chooks; I love them, but they can be quite destructive, especially when you don't want them to scratch something up! We put 12 dwarf fruit trees in the houseyard, fenced off from the chooks, and they have been abundant in fruit - they are always an option for those with smaller blocks or if they can't put a new fence in.

  26. Our gardens have changed a little in each of the 12 years we've lived here.
    Our original garden, fenced from the deer, has become a little shady for vegetable because of some huge Douglas Fir, but still works for berries, grapes and potatoes. Last year we added some straw bales to plant into and this year they're doing really well for peppers and squash.
    We keep adding raised beds to the yard for veggies, so we're up to 7 of them now and they're working pretty well.
    Our orchard is finally big enough to produce pretty well - sour cherries, pears apples and Italian plums. We also added a fig to a southern wall a few years ago and they're just ripening.
    As the forest around us grows taller, we keep adjusting.

  27. Hurricane Hanno! What a great job.

    While I was at the Canberra markets at Kingston I picked up (with The Gardener's permission) a blueberry plant. If we are successful with that it will be our third fruit -- orange and lime are already in place.

  28. Hi Rhonda, I have two large veggie patches away from the house and one small herb patch which is right by my back door. This is the first year in my life that I have been in a situation that I can devote time and energy to vegetables. I have such a large flower garden that my time has in the past been taken up by that. But I am slowly reducing my flower garden so I can work in the veggie garden. My husband has little interest in gardening so I have to do it all myself, needless to say I have days when I wonder if it's worth it. But the pleasure I get from my efforts far outweighs my aches and pains. Interestingly my husband is always keen to "show off" our garden but our friends all know that he contributes little.

  29. I think gardens change and evolve just as people do. I am not the same person I was 15 years ago and neither is my garden. I think planting more fruit trees is a great idea. We went through the same thoughts after the prices of bananas went so high . I now look at planting a fruit tree as a real estate mogul would look at buying land....it's an investment. Its an investment against peak oil, the financial crisis and natural disasters ...sometimes mums look at ways to protect their families from everything , and for me , my fortress is an ever expanding forest of fruit trees. I planted raspberries yesterday!

  30. I am curious how different your weather is to Coffs Harbour.

    I am on my third change of vegetable garden after 32 years in this surburban house and this year took out a bank full of old natives and planted more fruit trees and put in two raised beds out of an old tin shed in the front plus a 8 x 5 foot ground bed, so planting much more potatoes and shallots,and carrots.

    My 3 year old tropical apples have flowered for the first time as has a two way plum, also getting ready to cover the peachcot, mulberry (kept at fence height) and nectarine with netting to stop the fruit fly, as the fruit has just developed,this was very successful last year.

    I also grow lots of things in milk crates lined with weed mat. Great for things like blueberries, chillies,rhubarb,capsicum,and herbs.Even had success with red and white onions.

    The only thing I struggle to grow is cauliflower, how does Hanno do it?
    My 82 yr old father reckons I fit 3 acres in to a 1/4 acre block with house lol.

    Chris from Coffs Harbour - sub tropical

  31. Thanks for sharing that part of your lives Rhonda. Mainly i ask as quite a number of friends would like to retire but are not looking forward to spending full days with there partner. Therefore its very interesting to read how you balance this as there is a big adjustment all round when two people are retired together.


  32. How exciting! I would love to have your back yard!
    I didn't get to do too much this year, but I have so many plans for our garden next year, and I'm already wishing I could get stuff planted.
    I think it's VERY important that we all grow as much as we can, and become more self-reliant. Hopefully one day we can settle in a more permanent home and maybe I'll finally get to plant some fruit trees and the garden I've always dreamed of.

  33. We also have fenced off our vegetables but the chickens just fly over and help themselves to the buffet! We each take chicken duty while they are out to protect the veggies and guide the girls to their scratching areas.

  34. We have grown all we can for years. At this time we only have 4 fruit trees and several berry varieties. Besides the veggie garden. I am planning to add some different berries and a grape. We had other fruit trees and grapes but several years ago due to weather mostly many died. Several weeks ago we had a talk of how many more fruit trees we can squeeze into our yard and which were the most important. Space is limited so we have to really get it right space wise! Which ones do we eat the most? Which ones are best for eating fresh and also preserving for later? And which fruits cost so dear that would be the ones that would help the budget? When we put our first trees in we bought the ones that we loved and can grow here but the fruit cost the dearest at the store. I do most of the gardening. With just the two of us now we do not need so much of some things now. The children grow some things at their own homes now so we just supplement them with what they don't grow themselves. To me providing our food is a serious as well as fun thing. If I could be outside working 24/7 I probably would. We also help several elderly friends who can not grow things. We were told many years ago that if you are going to have a hobby if you can find one that can also make you money,.. that is doubly good. Well gardening is just that! It helps
    the body and the mind! Yes we have rethought our garden production too and upped it and will continue to do so as long as we are able. You and Hanno give all of us much inspiration to keep working towards our goals. Sarah

  35. A timely post for us as we have been discussing the same thing here. Our fruit trees are in the chook yard and we are debating about what to do. We have been outside today planning and throwing around some ideas. But when I look out now the fences are still in place...so my Dean obviously wasn't as inspired after 'our' discussion as Hanno!

  36. A new wicking bed has been made recently. Some seedlings are in the hot house. The stone fruit trees are bursting into flower. The first spears of asparagus have popped through. The strawberries in the new (made last year) bed are looking good for this year. We recently put a low fence around that bed. The dog liked to use it as a toilet for some reason. I have some strawberry guavas to plant. I actually ordered cherry guavas, but never mind. The seedlings I bought at a market on Sunday were accidentally left behind. :( Lots of plans to implement for the coming growing season.


  37. Sorry I forgot to add - it looks like there are people looking for some hints on couples working together harmoniously in retirement Rhonda.


  38. How do you deal with pests like fruit fly and still keep all your produce organic?


  39. I am in my first season of gardening, but I already plan some changes for next year, mainly by choosing plants the slugs might spare. So far, our choices have not been influenced too much by the economy, but I see all the skills I gain as a preparation for tougher times.

  40. Hello Rhonda,

    I love todays post. It gives me a bit of ammunition. You see our garden area has changed almost yearly it seems and I too am looking to move it around once again.

    I want to clean upvwhat we have and add more berires and like you fruit trees.

    Thank you for putting this idea back into the front of my mind since fall is near, now it the time to move berries and add trees.


  41. We too have changes here in our garden! Hubby has added a greenhouse that he designed and built himself using recycled materials. He added it because last year the tomatoes didn't grow and he wanted to try and change that. This year he also lifted all the raised beds and changed their direction so they would get more sun...no small feat! And we recently changed our herb garden by potting them and putting them in a completely different spot so they get more sun too. Yay to changes and successful gardening endeavors!
    Your garden looks great Rhonda and Hanno!
    Lusi :-)

  42. Changes? Oh, yes! We're getting ready to sell our suburban home with a small garden and will buy a smaller house on a couple of acres. We're searching in rural towns where acreage is affordable.

    We are just 4 years from retirement, so our friends think we're crazy to want to take on more physical labor at our age, but we know ourselves well. The work of the garden and the home makes us happy and keeps us healthy. 20 years ago we had a much bigger garden and we've missed it all these years. We're not good at the leisure lifestyle and we don't enjoy traveling much so why not?

    We live in an area where fruits and vegetables grow abundantly during a long growing season. I'm so excited to expand our food production capabilities and be more self sufficient.

    auntie m

  43. After 3 years of constant, intensive vegetable gardening, we are making a big change. We made the difficult decision not to plant this year or next.

    We have a new baby on the way in February but, more importantly, we have little water and very high temperatures. We live in Texas and are in the midst of a severe drought and high temperatures (yesterday it was 106F or 41C). And with watering restrictions, our poor veggies are just drying up. The drought is predicted to last at least another year so we're holding off on the planting for now.

    In the meantime, our plan is to keep building the garden by creating raised beds and building our soil with our compost and cover cropping with some grasses and legumes. This means, however, that we've got to get our veggies by some other means, so I'm signing up for a CSA from a local organic farm.

    We're hoping that 2013 will bring us a break in the weather.

  44. Funny you post this today...I was away from the house this weekend and it made me think about where to move a few unhappy plants. I figured out where to move the blueberries, plant the grapes with a short arbor and the places to put in the (almost purchased) hazelnut (aka filbert) bush/trees. I have longed for a nut tree for many years, but the one that does well here - the walnut is unappreciated by my neighbors. So, I found a nut we all like that grows in our climate! Now I need to partition off the top half of the vegetable garden area to hold the blueberries! Somehow being away from the house made my decisions much easier!

  45. I wanted to add that one of the things we had to rethink was if the flowering things we had were worth the space or would that space be better used for food production We have decided to keep any eatable plants and ones needed for the birds and bees but eliminate many that are strictly there for beauty. Doing this will allowed us to add blueberries and stevia and and another fruit tree. If we are going to water those areas you might as well water something we can eat. They are beautiful too. Thinking outside the box will help us redo our yard one step at a time. We will work on the areas that are the most valuable to us and those like more fruit trees that will take a while to produce so best in first. Gardening is an on going process and well worth the thought and work! :) Sarah

  46. Hi Rhonda, I love that you are continually thinking about improvement and the future!

    We are getting chooks later in the year. I'm getting 3 (have half-made chook cage still in the garage to finish!) and my parents are getting 3 (they were given a run which just needs nest/perch area added!). So two chook runs ranging the Big Garden (my parent's one - we have a small rental patch here). The idea is to improve soil fertility rapidly, use all waste veges better, and get scrummy eggs! Dad also recently planted an avocado. I got strawberry plants from them for my place.

    Here's a radical example of how growing your own helps costs - I am doing the Live Below the Line Challenge (http://www.livebelowtheline.co.nz/about/) and using the garden to supplement what I bought for my $2.25NZ/day this week(http://soonarmy.blogspot.com/2011/08/supplementing-challenge-food.html). Two whole heads of broccoli, celery, 9 baby carrots, silverbeet, spinach, spring onion, and herbs. All from a garden that has had very little attention over winter. Imagine what it would have cost me to buy those things this week!?!


  47. Janelle, the only time we've had fruit fry was when we grew peaches and nectarines. We tried several remedies over a few years, nothing worked, so we cut the trees down. It was sad to see them go, the fruit were very good, but we prefer a fruit fly and pesticide free garden.

  48. Oh boy yes! We seem to change the garden all the time and quite radically but I am always amazed at how quickly it all establishes. In the last couple of years we have lost our desire for ornamentals and yearn only for new edibles. It is all with goal of feeding ourselves and knowing what we are eating. Our front yard is undergoing a transformation into a fruit forest in a bid to find more space. I wish I could fit some nut trees in but I might have to gorilla garden them into a local by-way.

  49. Rhonda, our main problem is ants bring aphids into the garden. They mostly cross to our yard from our neighbors. I think they like ours because we garden and so our area is wetter and the neighbor's yard is very dry. Do you have any ideas how to handle ants organically? I put sticky stuff at the base of trees to stop them but how do you handle ants going up your plants by the dozens.? It is a big problem every year. I keep some bugs from eating my tomatoes and such by putting cuttings of basil in the plants. They leave the tomatoes that are starting to turn red alone when I do this. If not I get big holes eaten in them by the big green beetles. Old dried up garlic bulbs put on my squash leaves seem to deter other bugs. Thanks you for reading my letter. Sarah

  50. Hi Rhonda and everyone,
    Rhonda you and Hanno remind me of me and my husband. We discuss things we could do to make something better and then I get right onto it and martin is always surprised. I like to act when I get a good idea.
    Our veg garden is new as we have only just moved in. It is a rabbit proof fenced area which was already used for vegies by the previous owners. I think they grew quite a bit of stuff too but as I don't know where anything was growing I just have to get on with it (no crop rotation). The beds were being dismantled or being made anew, not sure, as only half the beds were constructed and the rest was a pile of planks awaiting formation.
    It is usually me who decides what happens in the garden, in the past anyway but Martin wants to have a more active role in it, which is great but I have to remember to consult with him before making changes.
    So we have been in this house for 20 days, the broad beans went in last week with some of the sprouting garlic. Onion sets yesterday and rhubarb in its new home. Oh the asparagus went in on the 2nd day we were here. Got to get your priorities right!

  51. I love that line "Just when you think it's looking fine, change breezes in." I used to fight it, to try to get my garden "right", for good. Eventually I came to accept that a garden is a living thing, or rather a community of living things, with which you have a relationship, and like all relationships it's constantly evolving, changing, growing.

  52. $12! In the US the organic ones are .79 cents a pound now. I wish we could grow some but that's way out of our range.
    We're looking into building some raised beds for veggies this fall and figuring out new strategies to defeat late blight next year. Perhaps nothing but cherry tomatoes. It's too heartbreaking after three years straight of losing 100 plants we need for our food.
    We put in 25 raspberries this summer too and can't wait to see what they do.

  53. Sounds like you have a great husband, Rhonda! How fantastic that he got to it straight away!! I love it!

    We will be trying to grow more of our veggies this spring/summer too. Looks like we should all be investing in seed companies!

    BTW.....Here in Sydney, organic bananas are around $16 kg!

  54. We are just starting out in our newish home on a veggie patch and herb patch. We live in the (relatively) inner city, so we don't have much space, and the yard we do have gets almost no sun in winter. A challenge.

    First question - do your fruit trees attract a lot of rats? Having neighbours very close I don't want to encourage an influx.

    Second question - do the chickens make much noise? I had a friend who had to cover her chooks at night so they wouldn't wake the neighbourhood. With a young family and full working life, I just can't see myself being able to do that every day.

    Another great post. Thanks!

  55. eliza, the fruit trees don't encourage rats. Nut trees do, but not fruit. The chooks will encourage rats. They come to eat the chook food. Chooks often have a loud clucking session after they lay an egg, the rest of the time, they're quiet. Make sure you don't get a rooster. Most of the time, the council bans rooster, and if you have one they will crow loudly every morning. Your neighbour is probably putting her rooster in a box to stop the crowing.

  56. Thanks Rhonda Jean!


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