Sunday, December 25, 2011


Christmas lunch was a relaxing affair interrupted by a few heavy showers. We spent the day in Wandin - about 20km's away from where we live. We watched the lightening and thunder rumble over and around us and after consulting the weather radar it looked like we did get a good downpour in our valley.

As we drove home we saw the increasing debris covering the roads, and driveways which had washed out their loads of gravel onto the main road. In fact we were seeing debris to a degree we had never seen before on the road. Then i thought i saw banks of foam. Then lots or leaves and twigs completely covering the road.

It soon clicked that the foam was in fact banks of hail stones, piled high. Our hearts sank as we saw the neighbour roof intersections and gutters piled with hail stones and their houses surrounded by a white blanket.

Beans are battered but will recover
The driveway was awash and my first job was to unblock drains and gutters before i assessed the damage to the garden.

Large hail caught in the netting above the Vege garden.

The netting was the saviour of the garden  it seems, as the larger hail was either intercepted or deflected, and smaller hail deflected.  

The morning after revealed that the damage was indeed much less under the netting. Still under the netting salad fared worse,

 followed by young cabbages, cucumber.

Outside the pumpkins with their large leaves were trashed and even some of the fruit has been damaged.

The fruit trees suffered the least. They had some leaf loss but there was not much fruit dropped.
My heart goes out to any primary producers who rely solely on growing things for an income. For them the impact would be devastating. Most of my crops will recover and still produce well, but this storm emphasised the usefulness of netting - other than to protect crops from birds.

 Unfortunately our council (Yarra Ranges) restricts how much of a property may be covered in netting - i assume for aesthetic reasons. Yet another restriction which clearly makes producing food a less attractive proposition in a well watered and fertile area close to Melbourne.