It’s noon on a grey Sunday in summer on the Adelaide Plains, and against all the odds, we’ve had an almost decent rain fall over the garden after four months of heat and drought. Only a gardener preparing for the anguish of a $1000 quarterly water bill can know the blessings such a morning brings, garnished with a sense that it has all been worth it as the vegetable garden begins to flourish once again.
While this freak rainfall event has delivered only 10 mm, this means an additional 2000 litres in the rainwater tanks. This at a time when I’m using more than ten times that amount per week, even with the greatest of care. This is the cost to our family of home-grown fruit and vegetables.
With only another two months of summer to go, it’s time to start the autumn plantings. With every kilo-litre of water now costing top-dollar, its also time to switch over to rain water and draw down the 50,000 litres I’ve been holding in reserve in my tanks from last winter. With luck, and counting heavily upon soil moisture reserves built up over the past month, this will bring me though the last weeks of summer.
Ah well, there are compensating joys to the endless worries about the cost of water…I’ve been asked to give a workshop on seed-saving to the Rare Fruit Society of South Australia.
Seed-saving in many ways offsets the cost of water and mulch, and its fun too. Fiddling about down the back shed with the seed collection is just about the perfect occupation for a gardener on a rainy summer morning…