A challenge to the would-be food gardener in the 'Bush Capital' is the amount of gum trees planted throughout Canberra as street and garden trees. Eucalypts are surprisingly water-hungry and pump huge amounts of water up from the soil to their leaves. Their light dappled shade allows more sunlight to reach the ground under the canopy, so that, unlike the heavy shade zones under deciduous trees in European and North American forests, where it's often quite damp, it's usually dry and crunchy under a gum tree. Combine this with the fact that gum trees produce chemicals to inhibit the growth of competing plants, you'll see that the hard, dry soil near to a gum isn't going to be a great habitat for your next planting of lettuce.
News from our own garden plus advice about permaculture, plants, growing food and sustainable gardening in Canberra.