The summer we moved in (January 2007) was scorching and there was no rain for several weeks. There were already a few fruit trees and a bit of a veggie garden started by the previous owners but they were struggling. I’d been really looking forward to growing veggies but there were severe water restrictions across Melbourne that summer and it wasn’t easy. Melbourne actually came within a few weeks of running out of water that summer and the government rushed to build a desalination plant in case of emergency. It was very hard to keep the garden alive and thriving. So, a year or so after moving in, we put in tanks to collect 10,000 litres of rain water from the roof. We planted some fruit trees and lots of vegetables and herbs. The extra water helped enormously although there was no watering system so everything had to be watered by hand. Along with more rain during the next few years, the tank water helped until two summers ago, when we had three days over 40 º C in one week and everything fried. 10,000 litres only lasts a month or so with little or no rain.
And then there is the local wildlife. While I love having lots of birds and and native animals around, they were eating too much of our produce. Living in the river valley with lots of tall trees around means we have fruit bats, scores of ringtail and brushtail possums, lorikeets, and cockatoos. We tried netting the fruit trees but would find new holes in the nets each morning. I realised that all the work we had done on building up the garden was not enough and we needed a completely new plan.