Help floods in for garden

HEAVY rain last week has left farmers across Tasmania with flooded paddocks and headaches. Potentially record-breaking rainfall hit the south of the state at the weekend, with falls of over 100mm on Sunday and Monday morning.

The north received a more modest shower but the already rain-soaked soil meant many areas still sit under water. Flood warnings in low-lying areas in the north were issued early in the week, with the Macquarie, Meander, South and North Esk Rivers being placed on a flood alert after significant catchments began to collect, though many were downgraded in severity across the week as rain patterns eased. Floods in the south saw the Tasmanian SES responding to 95 requests for assistance on Sunday alone.

“Initially the incidents were north of Hobart, in the Brighton and Bagdad areas and then as the weather event moved, we saw a big increase in activity in the Huon and Dover areas,” Acting Director Leon Smith said.

One farm in the Huon Valley near Geeveston that suffered from typically heavy winter-to-spring rains has been inundated with support from their local community. Two-hectare community farm and market garden, Scrubby Hill Farm, on the bank of the Kermandie River copped about 50mm of rain. By the time rain eased and water began to subside on Monday morning the property was entirely submerged, water engulfing greenhouses and storage containers.

Mac McGuiness currently farms the property with her partner Oli Wichmann under their business name Huski Greens. Having only recently began operating on the property, the loss of their crops and equipment is a major setback for the pair. Ms McGuiness said what stood out was the community’s response to their setback. “The crops in the ground are obviously flooded so we’re going to have to re-shape and re-plant in time for summer,” Ms McGuinness said.

“We thought a lot of irrigation systems and tarps would have been taken downstream,” she said. “Thankfully there’s a lot more left on site than we’d thought. “A lot of things we had lost have turned up on our driveway. “People downstream are recognising what has washed up and are bringing it back to us. “That being said, we’ll still need to be replacing our tools, seeds and equipment. “I woke up on Monday to phone calls and hundreds of messages from people getting in contact to help, to donate food and their time. “It was just people wanting to help, no questions asked.”

Ms McGuiness said along with the heart-warming support from the community, there has been a lot of gain from their setbacks. “The water subsided the next day and we were already organising the clean-up, but it’s been the awareness of our farm and community support we’ve received that’s been a real positive to take from this.”

Scrubby Hill Farm will host working bees on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday next week. Numerous flood warnings from the SES were downgraded across the last week, weekend and the beginning of this week.