Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time there was a woman who lived in the suburbs who decided to become a peak oil doomer and grow veggies to save her family from the approaching zombie apocolypse.

She grew veggies in the ground. She acquired chickens and then learned that it’s best to fence the veggies off from the chooks. She planted trees… or rather, her son David18 planted the trees while she stood and pointed at where to dig…. and all was serene.

She then looked at some empty space that was sunny the whole day long; the driveway that ran up the side of her house. She cogitated, then bought some rather exxy metal garden beds (for longevity) and turned them into wicking beds. After some initial drama (never buy ph10 soil and expect things to grow) everything settled down and things were serene.

This is the view from over the fence.


Even in winter, the sun still reaches the wicking beds in the driveway and the plants are thriving. Look!

The bed closest to the camera has pots plonked on the surface, growing rosemary and lavender and tansy from cuttings, while the soil has a rest till Spring.


This middle bed is my “One Magic Square” bed, taken from the book by the same name. It has garlic, turnips, radishes, beetroot, onions and a rogue silver beet and Amish paste seedling, along with some basil that’s (hopefully) being sheltered from the frost by the silverbeet. Going great guns. When I flicked back I noticed the rogue cos lettuce in there too.


The last bed is my “green manure” crop. I planted so many pea seeds that I lost count. I figured they can climb up the stands, give me peas (om nom nom) and then I’ll cut them off at ground level and leave the nitrogen nodules in the ground for a tomato plant to use.
These peas are leaping out of the ground. In the few days I’ve been sick, they’ve grown noticeably. This morning when I rounded the house to look at them I said, “Whoa!” when I saw them. I don’t know why… it’s not like I want then to stop or anything.
Still, all was serene.



… this went up. Next door. My NORTH side.
Yep. Where the sun comes from.
People not in Melbourne might not appreciate where this is going, but Melbournites do.
The house is a knock-down job. It’s perfectly liveable but in this suburb, people buy to either put up a McMansion or to put in units.
The best case scenario I can see is that someone will put in two single storey units running side by side. Then my sun access won’t be blocked and I’ll be happy. (Hope the new neighbours like chook noises.)
Most likely scenario is a two storey dwelling, either a McMansion or units. This is where I’m REALLY glad that the nice man who planned out my solar panels positioned them facing west, just in case this ever happened. But my wicking beds will be useless.
The worst case scenario is what is being played out further up our street, where a normal sized suburban block has a planning application in for 8 units over two storeys. Or is it three? If that happens here, it means that the whole block will be covered, I’ll lose all my privacy and maybe even the sunlight will be affected with my in-ground crops way over on the south side of my property. Not to mention the gerls.

How will I feed my boys when the zombies come if this happens???


But to end on a brighter note; have a look at the lemons in my fruit bowl.


Doesn’t the top lemon have a perky, sassy, “I’m organic and have no food miles” air about it?


And there’s still one more on the tree.

This entry was posted in balance, Fruit trees, gardening, Peak Oil, Quality of life, vegetables, vent, wicking beds. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Let me tell you a story.

  1. Nooooooooo!
    I hope, for the sake of your garden, that you get a buyer who keeps the house, or single story dwellings.

  2. foodnstuff says:

    Go to the council and find out what can be done by way of appealing against a 2 storey building on the grounds of cutting out your access to sunlight.
    I would think you’d still get some spring or summer sun in there. Check from now on as the days get longer where the sun actually falls. As the winter sun goes around to the west you might still get some coming down the drive. Bit hard to tell where the sun is at the moment, ‘cos the days are all so damn dull!

  3. Kate says:

    I know you are really happy where you are and all but if your in an area under demand for development perhaps you might consider selling up for a squilion and moving somewhere else? If a developer say, bought the house next door to knock down could they perhaps be interested in two blocks side by side to develop. I’m sure you could uplift your beds, plants, chooks etc to a new venue if push comes to shove but I guess the problem would be finding somewhere as convenient for you. If all else fails maybe a lotto ticket and you could buy it, knock it down and have a huge garden. HO! HO!

  4. Liesel says:

    Buy it yourself using the equity in your place as deposit, rent it out, claim negative gearing, avoid the zombie apocalypse and put in nice green tenants who will bring their own chooks. Then if you want to sell up and retire later you have the ‘developer gold’ of owning two side-by-side blocks… worth more than two separate blocks.

  5. day-um.

    Methinks a neighbourhood lynch mob around auction time would be good.

  6. Catherine says:

    One of the reason I like living in the country and especially on 2 acres is that no matter what the neighbours do – my veg and chooks are safe and in the sun. Hopefully it all works out for you. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the new neighbours are into vegies, chooks and are anti zombie.

  7. Jayne says:

    Losing access to sunlight has become a very big issue in USA as well as in some areas of Oz, see what local Govt and State Govt guidelines are on this, you might have the ability to demand a 1 storey carport/garage at that point along the fenceline or suchlike.

  8. Margaret says:

    the large block behind me is going to have a 9 storey apartment block and 43 townhouses built on it. We as a community are objecting but it is a state government initiative, and I live nowhere near the city or inner suburbs of Melbourne

  9. nicole says:

    what foodnstuff said. Go to the town hall or whatever it’s called and find out the plans and then see what can be done about it. You’ve lived there a long long time, I’m pretty sure there’s some kind of rule that’ll work in your favour.

  10. Ellen says:

    So sorry to hear you have been sick and hope you are feeling better now. I am amazed that your little lemon tree was able to produce so much fruit so quickly. You must be so proud! (We planted a Bramley apple tree this year in the hen-pen and it has one fruit on it – I walk around it, admiring it like an expectant mother, so I understand these things.)

    As for the sale of your neighbours property, all I can say is Oh, Bugger! I hope that a family will move into it, just as it is, and live there happily ever after. If your worst fears are confirmed, surely your objection to the planning permission would be considered, especially the invasion of your privacy and blocking out of your sunlight. There are some great comments above. Try not to waste energy worrying – your best hopes are just as likely to come true as your worst fears. Fingers crossed.

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