Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

The Good The Bad and The Damage

Oh joy! It had me singing along to the radio, wiggling my hips and jiggling my arse. It was rain. Merciful, gentle blessed rain falling from the sky.

Two weeks ago in Sydney it fell in torrents, heavy drenching rain that soaked boxes of books and pieces of furniture as they were lugged out of the removalist’s van. Here in Broken Hill (we’ve moved to Sydney but we’re back in Broken Hill, keep up) it’s a welcome visitor. We haven’t seen rain for months.

Barely enough fell to soak the surface but every drop counts. People rang the local radio station. ‘We’ve had four millimetres in Broken Hill South,’ one resident gleefully announced. ‘Five millimetres in Menindee!’ That’s not even a quarter of an inch.

I’m glad I’m not a primary producer, reliant on the vagaries of passing weather systems, most of which bypass Broken Hill. But the veggie plot loved it.

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And that’s the problem. Before rain fell the mercury was nudging 39 degrees (or 102 in Fahrenheit). At first I thought that’s why the strawberries looked scorched so I rigged up shade cloth.

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Then I thought blackbirds had eaten all the berries so I added netting. But now, with the arrival of rain, the crispy leaves and meagre amount of tight misshapen berries can’t be ignored. Something is attacking my strawberry plants.

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The man in the garden centre suggested I dig them all up, buy more plants and start again (no surprises there) but I was reluctant…until I noticed it might be spreading.

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Any suggestions?

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This entry was posted on November 28, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , , , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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