Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The best vege garden in suburbia

That's what I have always wanted.  And it still, to this day, it eludes me.  I am thinking of running off to live with Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall - here ...

River Cottage in Dorset UK

Then I could have chooks!

We built the house we currently live in 11 years ago.  It's smack bang in the middle of other houses, and although we have the beautiful Swan River only metres away, it's still suburbia.  To make my position worse, we live on a battle axe block next to, and I mean right next to, the train line.  We have neighbours on every side, including the front.  Now I know this is perfectly normal, and in fact we are lucky as the house at the back of us is on an acre of land and has huge, bushy gardens, but its still suburbia.  And I am still a country girl.

When I sit out the front yard I hear every word and movement of 2 neighbours.  If I sit out the side I can hear the side neighbour flush his toilet.  Really, the only place it is remotely peaceful is the side where the trains are ... and that's only for 15 minutes between trains!  I long, and yearn for my country retreat.  But in the meantime I try and have a little farm here.  Well sort of.

We can't have chickens because:
  • Every square cm of the yard is being used or is paved/concreted
  • I want to free range them and they will poo on the doormats (even when we had 26 acres and I let the girls out, they would still come and poo on the doormats - what's with that?)
  • We have a border collie that will round them up 24hrs a day
  • There just isn't the room!
  • The neighbours on the side where we could squeeze a chicken pen have their entertaining area there and she is terrified that chooks will bring snakes.
OK, so no chickens, surely I can have a vege patch?
  • The only spaces available are also walkways - and racing tracks for the dog
  • I tried once to have a patch and it got run over by the dog, the cat used it as a loo, the dog thought that's a good idea and also used it as a loo, the couch came in and took over - fertilised by cat/dog manure.
  • I asked Mr K if we could dig up our lawn and put in raised garden beds - apparently that was an affront to every red blooded Aussie male - to mess with his lawn
  • For the past 5 years I have grown vege in pots - lots and lots of pots.  It cost me a fortune in pots, potting mix, Thrive and water.  Each tomato (although yummy) cost us $57! (approx!)
  • I begged Mr K again to build me a raised bed, one I could keep pets off, grass out of and large enough not to dry out.  The colourbond sheets and timber are still sitting on the ground, no doubt now home to a family of dugites.
  • I NEED to grow things in real soil and worm castings and sheep poo.  It's like breathing to me.
So I found this place and am going to order some raised beds and have them delivered and then the cat, dog, couch, Mr K and dugites can all go get nicked. 

I take out a mortgage today to pay for them!  Cost of tomatoes has just gone up to $90 each.


  1. I hear you Kirsa, we are in the SAME situation, we don't even have a backyard, we have a sideyard and there isn't much of it. We actually saw these at a garden show and I thought they were a great idea, especially with the dogs. We are in the process of sorting out what little yard we have (need to run draining through it) but once it is all done, we will be getting a few of these, because I need to grow vege too! I will be very interested to hear how it turns out for you.

    1. I will be sure to write a review on them .. just need to save up the money first!

  2. Growing your own veggies is never going to be as cheap as buying them (neither is keeping chooks for eggs for us, one chook needs to lay about 500 eggs to pay off her vet bill alone but that's not what I came to say...) it's more about enjoying the process and if it's going to make you feel $90 a tomato better,, go for it!

    1. Oh dear - hope your hen is ok, and now earning her keep!

  3. I don't want to alarm you but I think we might be practically neighbours? We live out near the swan valley.

    Originally I was a city girl as in I was raised in a terrace house in Manchester, UK but we moved to Australia when I was nearly 8 and bought almost an acre in Mundaring which was beautiful- we had veggie gardens, fruit trees, chooks, ducks, sheep, a goat, a swimming pool, treehouses. just gorgeous. Now I, too, am in suburbia, on a rear block and I like our home and our suburb but I miss having the space and the chooks!

    1. Not alarming at all Laura - really nice actually that we are kinda neighbours!!

      Your childhood in Mundaring sounds idyllic - a lot like mine in Roleystone. I guess once you have lived that lifestyle it never leaves you.

      I hope you once again get to have space and chooks!