Oh, quick recap - looming stage 4 water restrictions kick started the duck herder into looking for alternatives to the community garden - which relies on potable water. The owner of a mountainous horse adjustment complex up the road offered free room and board for the duck herders veggie growing endeavours in exchange for fresh produce for his family. There are many many pluses to the new farm - unlimited stable waste, reticulated dam water, no frost hollow, gorgeous view, peace, serenity, and incredibly, open access to the rows and rows of worm castings produced by a fellow gardener on a commercial scale using the stable waste and trucked in food scraps. Recent rain has pushed back the urgency of stage 4, but it is still on the cards. I would be heartbroken if I planted all the spring and summer crops, only to see them wither and die if we had to stop watering.
Less good things about the new site is that it is 4.5km away compared to the 1 km jogging distance of the community garden. I would mostly have to drive there, although when the days are longer, riding my bike would be just fine. One of the good things about the community garden is that it is on the way to work - whether I am driving or riding. BUT, working from home would mean that this is no longer the case, and I would have to make a special trip regardless of where my garden is. And then again, if the girls came home, even though their chicken tractoring days would be over, they would still get to free range ( as much as the poor garden could cope with their delux earth moving legs).
Mostly, it is the chickens that require a daily visit (or twice daily at the moment). Really, they should be here at the house, from a permaculture perspective at least, but they LOVE the abundance of fresh pasture down at the garden. I am wary of overstocking in our little backyard and unlike the fluffies and ducks, those girls jump fences, dig up seedlings and destroy veggies gardens!
I would be able to set up an automatic watering system at the new farm (and make use of the miles of irrigation hose and sprinklers left over from when the owner had less babies and more time), which I can not do at the community garden. This could mean only having to visit a couple of times a week.
What to do, what to do........
I want to SIMPLIFY my life. This means CONSOLIDATING my gardens. BUT, after three years my community garden plot is rich and abundant and produces all year 'round. It will take time to create this in a new place, and it is a big thing to walk away from all that work.
So, perhaps I will just do things incrementally - scale back what I am growing at the community garden, and just start gently up the road - perhaps with some general soil improvement and lots of green manure and vines that can be put on a watering system. I can THINK about creating space at home for the girl's chicken tractor - there is a spot along the northern boundary that with the removal of a medium size wattle tree, would be an OK space. The chook tractor they are in is big enough to work as a deep litter system, but it would be a shame for its tractoring days to end, although if we ever move to a farm, it could be recommissioned. After a while I would be able to COMPARE the soil and conditions at both sites, and then be able to make decisions about consolidation based on actual experience rather than worry and speculation!
So there we are. A bit of a plan. I can go back to bed now!