Skip to content

Did We Waste Our Time Building The Garden?

  • by

We’ve virtually finished the garden at Koramba Cotton Farm.
It’s been enjoyable but a lot of hard work.

The worm farm is up and running, the seed raising table is built, the mulch bins are full, and trellises have been erected for the beans, tomatoes, melons and pumpkins and they’ve all been planted.

Sunrise over the garden.

Sunrise over the garden.

Grape vines and passionfruit vines have been planted up against the new fence and corn, capsicum, and zucchinis are growing.

The only problem is – It feels like it’s all been a waste of time!

Daytime temperatures soar close to 40 degrees

The one thing we didn’t count on was the weather.

Up until a fortnight ago the daytime temperature averaged about the mid to high 20’s with the nights dropping to a cool 6 – 10 degrees. This wasn’t to last.

At present a dry, dusty wind is combining with 39 degree temperatures to simulate the inside of a giant oven, drying everything out and sapping every drop of moisture out of the ground and almost every living thing. It’s been like this for a couple of weeks now and it’ll get hotter still.

The daytime temperatures by December will be averaging 40-45 degrees!

We simply didn’t realise the speed with which this heat dehydrates vegetable seedlings and parches the ground.

A Hydroponic Garden was our original idea

Of course our original idea was to build a hydroponics system using what we’d learned from the system we built at Wurtulla but even with all the bits and pieces laying around the farm it would have required us to put money into it and since we’re only here for a short while we couldn’t justify the cost.

Fortunately we’ve only spent a couple of hundred dollars and some physical excursion.

Neither has it cost the farm anything except a box of Gerard staples. All the bits and pieces used to build the garden could easily be returned from whence they came if we decide to give up on it.

So…Do we give up?

Do we call it quits before we expend any more energy?

As we stand looking over the parched plants it seems that without a full shade cloth cover (top and sides) and a drip irrigation system similar to the Israelis (who’ve been able to turn desert into flourishing, productive farmland), the garden is a futile undertaking.

A drip irrigation system (like this Israeli which has helped to transform desert to farmland) is the ideal part solution.

A drip irrigation system (like this Israeli one which has helped to transform desert to farmland) is the ideal part solution.

Swirling Dust Clouds and blasting heat seem to be urging us to give up.

As if to underline and confirm our thoughts of giving up the temperature just touched 39 degrees and clouds of dust are swirling through the camp, at times obscuring even the closest buildings.

The lids we made for the mulch bins and the worm farm are sailing away and the reddish grey dust is settling over everything, including the plants.

Even the Aussie Wide’s air conditioning, normally extremely efficient, is struggling to keep the caravan cool.

So, in spite of a feeling of failure and a sense of regret, we’re close to deciding to cut our losses and not put any more work into the garden and to save ourselves the inevitable disappointment of watching all the plants wither and die later.

3 days on the Sunshine Coast didn’t help

Now don’t get us wrong, we’re still enjoying the farm but we have to admit that the 3 ½ days we spent on the Sunshine Coast last week made us conclude beyond doubt that we are still water people.

The lush greens of the coastal vegetation and the sea’s stunning turquoise, white and blue made us realise our deeply ingrained affinity for the sea.

Chris's favorite spot at Moffet Beach

Chris’s favorite spot at Moffet Beach


The Brisbane trip was a pure delight

It was a delight to catch up with everyone in Brisbane last week. Our Grandson, Little Riley’s, baby dedication service was so moving and special; we wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

Reily with his two new teeth and his cheeky grin.

Reily with his two new teeth and his cheeky grin.

He’s crawling already and sporting two new teeth and, as usual, he smiled and laughed his way through the family gathering without as much as a whimper or whine.

A dinner date with Emily, our daughter, on Friday night accompanied by long conversations with her while overlooking the city lights at the top of Mount Gravatt were special as was the time spent with David and Lacey and the brief few hours with the best brother in the world, Barry.

Kerrie had dinner with her beloved netball girls laughing and talking till 2:00am Saturday morning. She loves these times spent with her friends.

We’ll catch up with sons Ben, Chris and Wayne next time since (as per usual) the weekend passed all too quickly.

It’s a stark contrast between the Sunshine Coast and here

The western border lands of New South Wales and Queensland are such a stark contrast to the coast. They’re beautiful in their own right, but dry, brown and hot – where only the toughest of vegetation survives.

The climate seems to be hell bent on sucking the life out of anything or anyone who displays the smallest weakness.

The harsh environment is not all bad of course

It keeps the Nutters away like the ones who occupy the thousands of taxpayer funded, air conditioned government offices in the myriad of obscure little government departments like the one in this story, The Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA).

Unless they can bring down their little legislature backed hammers on people from the comfort of the office they’ll almost never visit here.

Every day that we’re here our respect grows for the folk who make this land work, particularly this farm.

They’re tough of body, mind and spirit, and it’s only that very special toughness and resilience, that unswerving ability to solve any problem, that enables survival and prosperity out here.

This is the part of Koramba that we’ll miss when we move on, the easy going attitudes, the freedoms that are just not found in the city anymore, and the quiet toughness in the people.

Giving up is not how things are done out here!

We can’t give up!

It isn’t the way things are done out here.

We’ve learned many good things here and the most valuable is that giving up is not an option.

They don’t philosophy about it or attend “Positive Mental Attitude” classes or read motivational books. They just damn well don’t give up – at least until every avenue has been exhausted.

On confiding to the Farm Manager, Daryl about our thoughts on wasting effort in the garden we got the reply, “No mate just give it heaps of water. It’ll be OK.”

In conversation with Dave, the Supervisor, the answer was, “Just pour on the water mate, we’ve got plenty.” Nowhere in him could we see the faintest glimmer of sympathy for giving up.

Bev, (Dave the Supervisors wife) has propagated a heap of seedlings for us using foam boxes and a peat/sand mix in deep seed raising pots. We dare not even mention to her about giving up; not when she’s grown hundreds of beautiful roses and other flowers, as well as green lawns and veges out here not 100 yards from our garden.

Martyn, our boss arrived out at camp with 10 fruit trees in pots. The car was like a mobile shrubbery with Jaala the secretary holding one of the Mandarin trees on her lap for the 120 km drive. Needless to say we did not even mention giving up to him!

So…We persevere!

Maybe it was foolhardy to start the garden project when we still have so much work to do on the computer applications.

Maybe we didn’t “count the cost” to ascertain if we were able to finish no matter what the circumstances.

It is a lot of work when we’re already starting at 4:45am in the kitchen and finishing at 8:00pm.

But… having started it we’ll see it through and do the best we can.

As if to confirm our decision to carry on the plants that looked so forlorn and near death have revived despite the heat.

There are hundreds of new shoots everywhere and the combination of cotton trash, sorghum mulch and blood and bone mixed with the natural soil seems to have created a good environment to hold moisture.

Also of course, the hardest work has already been done. It’s now a matter of, “Keep pourin’ the water on it mate.”

Join the conversation