The Garden

We’ve almost finished the garden.It’s about 12 metres wide by about 25 metres long so it’s fairly substantial.
It’s our hope to provide the majority of the veges required for the camp’s 20 – 30 inhabitants.

We wanted to create the garden entirely from bits and pieces lying around the farm and we’ve managed to do this.

We found a broken old BBQ which we rebuilt with some offcuts of cable trays to make a mobile table for growing seedlings. All we need to do is work out how to keep the farm dogs, especially the puppy, from destroying the seedlings.

A new life for the old BBQ trolley.

A new life for the old BBQ trolley.

Before planting anything in the garden we needed to seal it off as it seems to be a high traffic area for dogs, kangaroos, emus, rabbits and horses, as well as the camp inhabitants.
We’ve never built a star picket and wire fence before so for a couple of weeks we took note of how the fences on the farm have been constructed.

As it’s not a big area and we didn’t need large corner posts, we decided to use star pickets entirely as there are thousands of them discarded down at the tip. We designed a simple way of bracing each corner post that required minimal work.

Bolting another star picket on, with the end cut off was a great way to utilise what we could find at Siberia

Bolting another star picket on, with the end cut off was a great way to utilise what we could find at Siberia.

A salvage/scavenging trip down to Siberia (the tip) yielded 30 star pickets, two rolls of chicken wire, a roll of fencing wire, an old farm gate, the frames of two bulk liquid containers and some corrugated iron.

This Goanna has made a home in the pile of star pickets

This Goanna has made a home in the pile of star pickets

With the help of the farm’s star picket hammer we made the skeleton of the fence with 26 of the star pickets.

 

Putting in the star pickets and leveling off for the wire.

Putting in the star pickets and leveling off for the wire.

We then borrowed the fence strainers to fasten and stretch three strands of wire around the row of star pickets.

The Wire Stretcher

The wire stretcher made straining the fence wire easy

Daryl, the Koramba Farm Manger, told us to use an ingenious little tool from the farm’s stock shed called the “Gerard Fastener” which makes it easy to fasten the chicken wire to the fence wire. This tool uses a kind of stapling method to clasp the netting onto the wire with a galvanised staple, saving a massive amount of work and time.

This ingenious little tool (The Gerard Fastener) made easy work of clipping the chicken wire on

This ingenious little tool (The Gerard Fastener) made easy work of clipping the chicken wire on

The Gerard Fastener was a great tool and made the job so easy.

The Gerard Fastener was a great tool and made the job so easy.

The only chicken wire down at Siberia was 2metres wide so we were able to lay about 180mm of wire flat on the ground which will make it almost impossible for the animals to burrow underneath.

The grass will be able to grow through the wire and we will still be able to run the mower over it.

The grass will be able to grow through the wire and we will still be able to run the mower over it.

The farm gate we salvaged was bent and broken but a small section of it remained undamaged. We cut this good section out with the grinder to make a perfect sized gate which we hung by welding on two hinges that I bought from Goondiwindi. These and some staples for the Gerard Fastener were about the only purchased items in the project.

A good gate remodelled from an old bent and broken one

A good gate remodelled from an old bent and broken one

The new mulch bins.

The new mulch bins.

Next we wrapped chicken wire around the two bulk liquid container frames, fastened it into place and then rolled them to the corner of the garden. These will be filled with sorghum mulch to rot down for our mulch. Mulch will be a total necessity during summer when the temperature will reach 45 degrees regularly.

Chris and Cliff' with 3 bales of Sorghum Mulch

Chris and Cliff’ with 3 bales of Sorghum Mulch

Then it was on to constructing a large worm farm using the cut down bulk liquid container that was used as an herb garden in the camp yard.
This has never really grown herbs successfully and the yard will look better after it’s gone. We emptied the herb garden with the help of a few of the Irishmen. There’s a valve at the bottom to drain off the worm pee which is a rich and potent fertiliser.
We have a few layers of chicken wire in the bottom of the container covered with sacks and sheets of calico cotton bale covering. On top of this is dampened, torn up cardboard, old leaves and some compost.
The worms will be placed in here on arrival and kitchen scraps will be placed on a top layer and covered with more wet calico.
A lid made from a sheet of corrugated iron will keep out access moisture and we’ve sited the worm farm under a tree so it will be shaded through the hottest part of the day.
We ordered 4000 compost worms over the internet and they’ll arrive soon.

The container for the worm farm.

The container for the worm farm.

This is the way we've layed out the worm farm

This is the way we’ve layed out the worm farm

So far we’ve planted some grape vines along the fence, tomatoes, and zucchinis.

Martyn has offered to buy 20 or 30 fruit trees to plant around the perimeter of the garden as well and this will be a really great start for it. We’re off to Moree on Monday where we’ll get some blood & bone fertiliser and some more seedlings.

Kerrie has planted many seedlings but unfortunately the little scoundrel of a dog ripped up a lot of them so we’ll now put them inside the fence of the garden.

The garden has been a lot of work but it’s been fun and it looks great. It’s hard to visualise the scabby, unruly bush and scrub that once occupied the location. We’re looking forward to seeing something growing in it before we move on.