The Backyard Pharmacy at Maison Bleue radish wicking bedAt The Backyard Pharmacy at Maison Bleue the water crisis has hit hard. Dry soils and poor rainfalls, coupled with increased water bills, have led to the decision to install the biggest water tank possible on our (1 acre) block (in this case 77,000 litres) and to harvest all our storm water for garden use. The infrastructure for this and the work associated are not to be underestimated.

The second big decision has been to replace all our garden beds with wicking beds of differing designs (and cost). Following the success of our first large (2 X 1 metre) wicking bed over summer, this seems like a sensible long term idea. Experimentation has involved the large, purpose built bed using recycled materials from the tip shop plus the design of Costa, then a bathtub I successfully converted for strawberries, and even an old esky, good for things like radishes (the chooks agree).

Radishes are not only the perfect starter crop to entice kids to grow food, but have a good reputation in supporting digestive and respiratory function, are high in flavonoids, so are beneficial to heart health and the cardiovascular system, plus have anti-inflammatory properties.

We are now onto an innovative straw bale design for larger beds and will keep experimenting using different materials that can be repurposed and achieve a minimal cost, large volume of home grown edibles in future.

There is also a plan to expand the orchard and look at growing indigenous foods on a larger scale – that’s the next project in making our backyard edible. Water can help make it happen, the tank is installed and everything is ready to go, all we need now is some rain.