yarck

A days work for compost and/or raised bed. L-R: 1x bag of green grass clippings and prunings (nitrogen source), 1x bag dry grass and bracken (carbon source), 1x bag cow manure collected from the neighbours paddock (nitrogen), 1x bag finished compost, 1x bale of pea straw, donated from my fathers workplace.

4

I returned to the land that I grew up on for the first 18 years of my life, and away from now for the last 7.

My parents still live here, about 8 kilometres from the nearest township, a crossroads-and-sign-post-only sort of a place called Yarck. 

Yarck is about 120 north east of Melbourne the capital of the state of Victoria, Australia. 

The majority of local agriculture and farming is mono-cultures of stone-fruits: Cherries, Peaches, Plums, Nectarines; wine grapes; cows and sheep. The land in the district was also once logged for hard-wood timber.

The property is 144 acres of undulating dry eucalypt forest.

The climate is an arid Mediterranean.

Perennial challenges to propagating anything are:

1.) animals: wallabies, wombats and mice, various caterpillars and aphids etc.

2.) low rainfall. Average rainfall is currently approximately 800 millimetres per year, according to my fathers records.  Rainfall on average has been falling since he began to take measurements in the early 1970s. 

3.) erosion and degraded soil: compacted, acid, clay; poisoned by centuries of eucalyptus leaves falling on the earth.

First day. Monday.

My aim here on the property in Yarck is to help my mother propagate vegetables, and also to begin to experiment with permaculture and organic and ecological gardening techniques.

I am most interested at this moment (due to need mostly), in investigating and experimenting with mulch and compost, particularly fast-compost, sheet mulch and beginning raised beds so my mother can rotate from her existing vegetable garden space next season with a new sheet mulch and new design. 

Focusing on compost and sheet mulch creation, I began to collect materials.

A day walking in paddocks, digging, and walking the land again to get the feel for it.

At the dawn of the summer months, the weather is mild. Sunny and 20ºC, light winds.