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Running Ninety Nine to the Acre

By Roger Findlay, Gerogery West

If you’ve ever watched the Gourmet Farmer you will have an appreciation of what we are trying to achieve on our small acres out here at Gerogery West.

In deciding what to grow we opted to plant vegetables that are fairly expensive to buy and those that yield well in limited space. Egg plants, leeks, parsnips, snow peas, garlic and capsicum / chilli all fall into this category. However, outside of this priority, we plant good seasonal performers such as kale, silver beet, beetroot, broad beans, climbing beans, cucurbits, the humble potato and more. You will notice that sweet corn misses out due to the poor yield to water ratio and tomatoes take a back seat too as the fruit fly always win the battle.

Right from the start we decided to use a professional for the installation of fences designed to retain sheep, cattle and goats (if that’s possible)! We have the house-yard of approximately one acre that also contains our vegetable gardens, fruit and nut trees. The remainder consists of two paddocks for stock, a small handling yard, and the tree corridors.

With this type of set-up, the property has an appeal to those with horses or those wishing to run stock in the same way that we do. Hopefully we have made our smallholding attractive for those in the market should we choose to sell.

I mentioned in my previous article that rabbits are abundant in this area and that the small acre properties are their haven. I have been advised that a baiting program would be a neighbourhood initiative with one person installed as the head after completing the appropriate training course for baiting. For this to proceed, the consent of the entire neighbourhood is required. The support from those with pet dogs and cats is unlikely.

The humble rabbit is a wasted resource right under our noses. As diners become bored with the usual meats, rabbit is now on the menu at many of the elite city restaurants. Being fat free and well exercised, there’s nothing quite like a Gerogery West bunny and it is often served at our table through the winter months.

Every time I look out of the window and see a rabbit I ask myself the same question. How can I catch and utilise this resource? Please let me know.