Looming stage 4 water restrictions have generated a low level hum of anxiety for the duck herder. Some of you will know that the vegetable growing limitations of the princess castle are augmented by a 135 square meter plot plus roaming chicken tractor at the Holder community garden. This is where the bulk of the duck herders veggies are grown.
If we are unable to source a non potable supply of water for the community gardens, it will be very tricky to continue! We are looking at putting in a community water fund grant for a tank and pump to get water from a nearby creek/soak. Alas, the ACT Health Protection Service refuses to let us use the free recycled water available from the Lower Molonglo Treatment Plant. I drafted up a submission for the Canberra Organic Growers Society to put into the Water Conservation Office to try and get a limited exemption for the community gardens, but I am not sure how successful it will be.
Obviously I need a Plan B!
Up the road there is a horse agistment farm. At the bottom of the farm is a little valley with amazing views and piles of sawdust and manure from the stables. Living at the farm is a nice man who in exchange for some fresh produce has offered me a HUGE space to grow veggies!
There are some definite good things about this new site - reticulated dam water (no fluoride or chlorine!) no COUCH!!!! (the PLAGUE of the community garden) and an unlimited supply of sawdust and manure. Unlike the community garden, it is NOT in a frost hollow, but rather nicely aspected on a gentle slope protected from the west north-west wind by a big mountain.
Less good things are that it is 4.5km away, is no longer on the way to work and I would be leaving my beautifully nurtured soil and starting again with basically a paddock covered in 20cm of nitrogen deprived sawdust/manure. I would have to bring my super you-beaut mega chicken tractor home (and try and find room for Bianca, Gretel and Charlotte somewhere in the backyard) as there are way too many foxes out there to monster and stress the girls.
On the plus side again, if the girls were home with the rest of the flock, then all my Zone 1 things would be near the house, and I could concentrate of setting up the new plot to only being visited every second day or so.
Well, at least there is a plan! In the mean time, all the winter crops are in at the community garden, there has been a bit of rain, we have water for another 2 weeks and the girls are still laying through the cold weather – bless their little red combs.