1 year anniversary of the 2022 February Floods
Feb 28, 2023
Wow, this one came around fast!
It's now been a year since the devastating flooding that affected our region and many more areas in late February 2022.
We send our love and condolences to all those affected by this flooding and acknowledge what an incredibly tough year it has been for so many.
This intense weather event affected areas between the Wide Bay-Burnett - all through to the Northern Rivers and Sydney area between February and April, with the major impacts in our region felt in the last week of February and early March.
What we experienced on our farms pales in comparison to the devastation others endured, and we are certainly still seeing the impacts of this especially on our second Woombye Farm (pictured).
The timing of these floods was tricky. We had a big head start to the season and had been prepping beds, laying lots of compost and nourishing the soils ready to plant.
In a very short time frame, we were cut off from accessing our Woombye 2 farm as waters rose above the gate, and major flooding occurred in our lower paddocks.
This naturally meant all our hard work, amazing soil and compost had literally been washed away.
On our greens farm, with it's more established beds and naturally sloped ground, we had significant erosion in areas, but were lucky that things were not much worse in our main growing areas.
The trickiest part of this flooding event was the frequency.
We ended up being flooded three times in that same paddock, which meant that any repair work that was undertaken was simply washed away again - setting our growing season back by three months.
Our big strawberry patch was destroyed and just didn't recover at all.
Following the flooding we then experienced a few months of limited sunshine (surely you recall all the dreary overcast days).
Plants need lots of sunshine to grow, so again this meant anything we were growing just wasn't germinating or making it to full growth stage.
Eventually we were able to plant again, and by July had hoped that we were over the worst of it.
Long term impacts on the farms from all this flooding meant that we needed to continue to increase organic inputs and compost as well as cover cropping, and honestly, nothing really took off in the affected areas until late November (eggplant, capsicum, cucumber).
What about other growers?
Many local farms, and actually farms across South East Queensland, Northern NSW and down to Victoria (later in the year), all experienced significant impacts from flooding in the short term and long term.
Reports of lost topsoils to the depth of 1.5m of soil, paddocks too wet to get into for weeks and months, ground too wet to grow produce, coupled with massive demand due to supply chain issues, meant that our food system and farmers struggled.
Our friends in the Lockyer Valley had the worst growing season ever, and consistently struggled with produce quality, especially in onions, beetroot and brassicas.
Onions don't like to be too wet, otherwise during the curing/drying process they retain too much moisture meaning they will rot early (thankfully this issue has now been rectified).
How we worked together
The biggest take away from all this flooding is the ability for people to pull together and support each other.
Our weekend markets were cancelled (rightly so) and many of you safely visited us at our Coolum warehouse to get your produce - a much better option considering the mania of the supermarkets.
Everyone worked together and communicated and supported each other - making sure that even though the impacts were significant, the heart was warm and bellies were full of organic produce.
It's why we have continued to support our local growers too!
2023 is different
Thankfully this year is shaping up to be a very different start to our big season. We are already ahead of the plan, have beds ready, nourished soils and lots of seedlings on the go ready to plant!
Of course our growing never stops, but when things do start to cool down our range of what we can grow and the quality expands and improves.
Above all this, we had had some rain but not too much, and sunshine, which means mother nature is smiling upon us!
Heres to a fantastic growing season ahead!