Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gardens are like pets

Tomorrow is Australia day, the family and I were all set to head off for four days of camping. Until... Hold on I will stop there and diverge for a second.

Melanie and numerous other people continue to suggest that we should get a dog. I however strongly maintain my disagreement with this idea. Not at all because I dislike dogs, I love them. Rather I am to well familiar with the difficulties faced with being the caretaker of a pet, particularly surrounding family holidays. I am currently watching my parents and sisters move state with a combined 2 dogs, 4 rabbits, 2 goats, a horse, pony, and cat, with great amusement.

Ok back to the camping trip... So there we were only a few days prior to leaving when it dawned on us, Melanie first, that we had no one to look after the garden and in the current heat wave four days would spell disaster.

We are moderately chummy with our neighbours and have in the past asked them to look after the chickens and do a bit of watering. However with the current watering system it requires physical intervention to move the sprinkler every 15 minutes around the six beds. Watering by hand would also be quite an ask. Then there's the seedlings who would not recover from a single missed watering. I don't know if I am willing to place the level of responsibility on my neighbours.

Thus being responsible garden owners we have decided to reduce our holiday to a single night away. Yes, I do feel a little disappointed but also strong in my commitment to growing my own food. Strangely I feel closer to my garden than ever before. But most of all it highlights the need for an automatic watering system.

Can you leave your garden?


  1. Can't you hire a pet sitter? Surely watering a garden is easier than walking a dog?

  2. We have the same problem. I can get someone to come out and lock up the chooks and feed and water them but the gardens, that takes hours to do properly.

    It would be easier to walk a dog for half an hour twice a day than to look after my gardens and chooks.


  3. I used to have that problem, I did go away but was stressed the whole time about my garden. Then about 2 years ago some new people moved in behind us, they too have chooks and a vege patch and a house elsewhere like we do so we have the perfect arrangement. Maybe you could advertise to swap with someone in your area - put an ad on gumtree or BYP.

    Of course this year it has never stopped raining so nothing to worry about :(

  4. No I can't leave my garden or my dogs or chooks so over the years have set up a few options. 1. the kids - not so reliable but getting better (cons: parties); v. good friend/eco gardener - very reliable (cons: just about to have 2nd baby); new found local permaculture group members - looking promising; for long trips away - live in single work colleague (cons: even bigger parties); dogs go into kennels for long trips away (cons: v. expensive); automatic watering system (cons: none).
    P.S. Dogs are a wonderful addition to a family but add another level of commitment. I bet Melanie wins!

  5. I think you need to find another like minded gardner who you could do the same for when they want a few days away.

  6. Yeah we were able to get away, we were betting on rain (which we got) with back up from a friend who is also a keen gardener. We also had a friend of our sons come up and look after the guinea pigs and fish every day. We were lucky with the rain though.

  7. I invested in a couple of timers and sprinklers for the garden thus enabling it to be watered when we go away, there are a few things that are left to fend for themselves but otherwise that covers everything. So far it has worked well save for the time we forgot to replace the batteries in one of the timers.....

  8. a couple of knockers on posts and a tap timer fixed the garden watering for us. As for the seedlings they go in the bath with a some water in it will last 4 days easy.

  9. greenfumb I have the members of my gardening group that I am sure would be happy to help but as they live a 10 minute drive away I was reluctant to ask. 20 minutes travel each day would annoy me. I need like you have found a close neighbour with a fond love for gardening. Putting up an ad is a great idea I might just do that.

    serendipity2000 good to hear you have no cons for an automatic watering system. "I bet Melanie wins" oh no not you as well. Not fair I am being ganged up on.

    Soewn Earth would you believe I was looking for a container to hold water large enough I could put the seedlings in but couldn't find one. It never occurred to me to use the bath. Brilliant! thanks.

    It sounds like the best solution to this problem is establishing a local community of gardeners. I guess human survival does boil down to that big C word... community.

    The funny thing about all of this though... 1. it ended up raining. 2. we didn't even camp away a single night. After a beautiful time at Monarto zoo we went to Moonta to camp on the rivers edge. Unfortunately it was quite busy and there was only one remaining camp site under a big gumtree. Just as we were setting up the tent a wild storm started. Then just after managing to erect it with help from neighbouring campers a branch fell from the tree missing the tent by a centimetre. With out hesitation we ripped the tent from the ground and headed home.

  10. How do you manage to keep up with all the work of the garden? I love the idea of growing my own food, but I think that the time requirements would stop me from doing so. Do you have a regular job, or are you one of those lucky blokes that gets to work from home (or be the primary child-carer)

  11. Anonymous Melanie and I both live a mostly typical busy modern life style, full time job, etc. So the key to modern gardening is efficient design. Our garden is based on Linda Woodrows design that minimises effort and space while maximising output. For example the chickens do a good chunk of the work. Also read my post about time management.


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