Backyard Food Gardening in the South Australian Bush – Tim’s Style

Tim’s the boy from the bush and he not back in town because he hates it… Well, maybe not town but he definitely hates the city and every one of those Claytons greenie, soft skinned, whinging, people who live in it (especially the politicians).

Nup, Tim has time on his hands but none for those who live to excess and waste, capitalise on the poor, or promise and don’t deliver. His contract is a handshake and whilst he will never go back on his word you do at your own peril!

If you want quintessential Australian then it’s often said you need to head for outback Australia and I certainly agree with that notion. However, 3 hours north east of Adelaide might not seem overly far in Australia until you drive out there and see that it is…  

bush vegetable garden raised beds

Bush vegetable garden in SA (image above)

During my military career, I was fortunate enough to work and travel to amazing countries and places but the Australian outback for me is what gave the most memorable people encounters and character memories. And, whilst I did meet these special characters in far places such as Cape York or Arnhem Land, or central Australia, I didn’t always have to go deep outback to find people like Tim.

In this case, I never travelled anywhere because I met Tim through our online forum Self Sufficient Culture. Tim’s self-introduction made it evident he was a bushy and a real authentic one (I mean that in a good way) so I immediately became excited about him joining our online community because I know that guys like him have walked the walk and we can learn a lot from their experience.

Tim has been around and his intro read like poetry – here’s an excerpt: “I'm a bush-boy. Born at Lameroo. Off the Soldier-Settler Mallee farm. Brought up on white sand. A wool classer by trade, I've spent most of my life north of Broken Hill in the shearing sheds… A hard working, hard playing and laconic Aussie lifestyle. My last 3 years were managing a sheep station out of Tibooburra NSW. I arrived at the end of a drought. 1200 sheep on the place. Then we had the wettest year in recorded history. Floodgates, flies, mozzies and fires. Fencing in the hundreds of Kms. Last summer was 48c for a month. The squatter had finished with me, now there were 5421 sheep. So I was sacked with a week’s notice….”

Tim’s having a bit of a break from shearing, possibly retirement… I’m not sure and I haven’t asked him; although, I do know this hardened bushy is also studying horticulture and he’s a very keen gardener!

So what can you grow in the bush where the temperature range is easily below zero in winter and close to 50 degrees Celsius in summer? Plenty! Tim would say… With his electric blanket acting as a seedling warmer for his mini greenhouse and his love for native bush tucker, Tim’s meals are hearty and generous (I know because I’ve seen the pics in his posts).  

In fact, Tim grows so much produce he often donates the excess to neighbours, family, friends, and even the local pub! Of course, he preserves produce where possible and interestingly tinkers with natural fermentation – yes alcohol, but also other things like kefir.

Needless to say, food and GYO for guys like Tim is only part of the overall picture. There’s the maintenance, problem solving, fixing something out of nothing, and everything else a bushy must do mostly on their own because calling someone out is usually impractical.        

Therefore, when it comes to self-sufficiency no one can deny people like Tim are the true adapters. They have to be (like the Aussie Aboriginals) in these remote localities they can’t just duck off to the corner store or call for a tradesman to fix a fault like we can so DIY is the norm.

But what does this mean for us who do live on the city fringes with modern living at our fingertips – what can us “soft skins” learn from our compatriots in the bush? Besides hardening up and all that, I think we can learn to do more and outsource less.

Just because we have 10 supermarkets within 10 kms around us it doesn’t mean we should buy all our food – we should grow as much as possible. Just because our local area is full of handymen, tradies, ironing ladies, and house cleaners we shouldn’t be too quick to reach for the phone or hire help.

Tim's healthy looking coloured carrots and tree spinach (image above)

We might think we are so time poor to justify outsourcing almost everything our grandparents used to do themselves; however, I just think we’ve become conditioned to believe we can’t do when we really can!

So to the Tim’s out there whether it be in the bush, outback Australia, or anywhere in the world, hats off to you guys and come join our forum because we could sure learn a thing or two from a Bushy.  

Editor SSM

Look, and see the Earth through her eyes…    


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