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Hobby Farming Out West

By Roger Findlay, Gerogery West

In this first of a series of articles I would like to reveal our plan for working our small hobby farm at Gerogery West. We’ve lived on the property since the late nineties and have made gradual improvements in achieving our goal of being closer to self-sufficiency.

Now, that my wife and I have retired, we’re striving to take it to a new level not only in what we produce but also in what we preserve, sell, swap or give to friends.

Basically we have both agreed that we’ll run the Italian strategy where you only grow what you can eat!

Yes, flowers are nice to look at but in our situation where the baking sun and driving winds from the west dry the unshaded ground without sympathy it’s often a battle. Oh, and I forgot the rabbits! With all of the hobby farms around Gerogery West, rabbit eradication programs never eventuate. I guess we live in “Rabbit Valley”!

Neither of us has a farming background. We both come from a city but we’re willing to learn as we go. Before we built our house we had established narrow, fenced tree corridors on three of the boundaries. We have a mixture of native trees and shrubs of which some are performing well and some not so well. Lemon Scented Gums have thrived while Tasmanian Blue Gums have failed.

It made sense to keep all native trees away from the house with the closest being some thirty metres away. Prostrate Grevillia, Banksia, Callistemon, pig face etc. have been our choice for close to the house. For most of the year one or the other has flowers that attract the bees for pollination in the close-by vegetable gardens.

We are fortunate to have town water but we also have a 30000 litre water tank that captures the water from the shed. I guess we can do some work in this area by putting the water to better use. However, it’s much better to select wisely and use practices that allow trees and plants to grow without a lot of water. We have achieved this with our natives that haven’t been watered since their first year.

Like everyone else on the land, we’re smiling when it’s raining! Right now my trees and plants look happy and so does the wife. That’s why I’m happy!