My garden doesn’t need me… sob sob sob

I guess when it's this hot, its probably best not to do too much in the garden
I guess when it’s this hot, its probably best not to do too much in the garden

It’s hot.  I mean really hot.  We are officially in a drought.  The boffins have number crunched and apparently January normally gets about 60mm of rain, I guess that’s why looking back over past summers all I remember is dashed expectations of a “proper summer.”  Well this year we are having that magic kind of summer – long and hot!  But they say that we have only had 6mm of rain.  Quite a high price for a gardener to pay, to have a decent summer.

It's hot, hot, hot. My wee handy dandy device tells me it's 43.6C or 110.5F out there...  (although the device is low to the ground and out of the wind....  but it's still hot, hot hot!)
It’s hot, hot, hot. My wee handy dandy device tells me it’s 43.6C or 110.5F out there… (although the device is low to the ground and out of the wind…. but it’s still hot, hot hot!)

There is nothing to do.  The grass is going all brown and stopped growing, so there is no need to mow.  It’s so hot even the weeds aren’t growing.  There are no new ones coming up, and I took care of the old ones ages ago.  So there is no need to weed.  There is definitely no digging to do as in this heat you would have to be declared crazy if you actually got out there and did any!  So all I can do is water the garden, but making sure everything is carefully timed and that the water only goes where it is needed so I don’t waste a single drop of precious water.

Don't waste a single drop!
Don’t waste a single drop!

I could harvest and there are heaps of crops ready.  The tomatoes must be loving the heat as they are really starting to come ripe in greater numbers, the zukes haven’t let up, although the cucumbers have slowed down.   The problem is, harvesting results in the need to ‘kitchen garden’ and I’m really not all that keen to be cooking in this heat.

Having said that, that is exactly what I did yesterday.  I bought 15 corn cobs, because they were really cheap and blanched them and sliced off the kernels to freeze them for easy use in the winter.  That way when my corn comes ripe it can be used for freezing on the cob.  I made a hot green chilli sauce with the chillies I accidently knocked off the plants when I was ‘checking them over.’  My standard method to determine how hot something is – is to get Hubby the Un-Gardener to taste it first.  He is always suspicious when I ask him to taste stuff, but he loves me and so always tastes it and this one was really hot! 

Not bad for a days work
Not bad for a days work

I also made plum sauce from some damsons.  The problem with the damsons was the poor tree was laden, but it had no leaves because I wasn’t able to tackle the dreaded pear slug, because the wind was always too strong to spray.  So I relieved the tree of its burden, even though the fruit wasn’t actually ripe.  I laid them out in a cool place in the hope that they would ripen up, but they just started to go soft, so I had no alternative but to cook them up into a quite piquant sauce with a bit of a sour zing.

Surprisingly late in the season I picked a decent sized bowl of strawberries and decided to try dehydrating them so the house is filled with the most delicious aroma, combined with the chocolate zucchini bread I made in order to put a dent in number of zukes coming ripe every day…  Oh it smells amazing.

Late season treasure
Late season treasure

I also made some mozzarella cheese so tonight we will be having a refreshing salad of tomato, basil and mozzarella drizzled in olive oil….  Oh I can’t wait.

In the meantime there is nothing for it but to look upon my garden from the shade, and start to think about the winter crops that will need sowing soon.

Hmm...  what should I grow next....
Hmm… what should I grow next….

Come again soon – the heady heights of summer are only really with us for such a brief period of time.

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

19 thoughts on “My garden doesn’t need me… sob sob sob

  1. I would imagine that the cyclone that has brought rain to Tasmania when we usually have 3 months of dry dessication is what has delivered you that horrible 43C today. It happened to us not so long ago and helped spur on the fires in Tasmania. Your garden is producing amazingly well and you made mozzarella? You HAVE to share a tutorial with we non mozzarella makers so that we can ALL make this wonderful cheese :). Cheers for another highly entertaining post and our cold temperatures really belong to you…thanks for loaning us some rain, it certainly makes mid summer in our poor parched garden a lot better and I have our 4 oven wood burning stove Brunhilda on as it’s a bit cold as well :).

    1. Hi Fran. The boffins do say our good weather is something do with the dodgy weather over the ditch – but we’re not complaning here in NZ.
      I was given a cheese making kit a couple of years ago and it is all surprisingly easy. check out Mad Millies instruction video:
      Is it so cold you actually have a fire on? … Gosh!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. I could send you some of our cold weather (8 degrees at the moment not counting the wind chill factor) and you could send us a few degrees of yours.

    I’m itching to get out into the garden and start sowing seeds but if I sow now then the house will soon be over run with seedlings, as my greenhouses are unheated and so I have to ustilise every windowsill AND the kids desk, for propagators and, eventually, potted on seedlings. Mud (my hubby) starts to get a bit tetchy because he doesn’t like ‘clutter’ and I worry about my fragile new seedlings with my 2 girls running around, especially as the youngest one is a tad clumsy (brain is always several paces behind her legs – if you see what I mean). We can get hard frosts as late as mid May here so timing is key to success 🙂

    1. Hi there. I would gladly take some of your cold weather – if only for an hour. It would be a welcome exchange.

      There is always a temptation to start seeds too early but then they never do as well in the long run as plants sown at the right time. I hate the pre-spring waiting but it’s got to be done.

      Cheers Sarah : o )

  3. Oh what a lovely post. As we are in the midst of dangerous wind chill lows, I will think of you sweltering as you eat of your great produce. Happy gardening.

        1. Hi there. A hot summer can be a blessing and a curse. It makes for lovely summer holidays, but you have to be more vigilant when gardening or everything dies of thirst. But having said that it definately beats a wet summer.
          Cheers Sarah : o )

    1. Hi there. I think throwing as much as I can in the freezer is the best idea, and I can linger by the open door, just a little bit longer than needed and cool down a little.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  4. That is the conundrum of a gardener/food preserver. It seems almost impossible to get away from standing over boiling pots of water during the hottest time of the year. But then, in winter, you remember that it is worth it when you pull your stores out of the freezer or pop open a jar. Enjoy the “down” time.

    1. Hi There. It has been so hot the last couple of days, the most I’ve been about to do is water. But things keep growing so I guess I’ll need to do more ‘kitchen gardening’ and you are right – it will be so worth it in the winter!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

  5. I actually abandon my garden last July due to our hot (105 to 118 degree) weather. We were into our 5th year of hot, dry and windy drought weather. Even if you could afford to pump or buy tap water, no amount of water seemed to save my suffering garden.
    Happy canning and freezing your summer garden rewards.

    1. Hi there. We are blessed to have our own water supply and good soil that holds onto water well. So while the rest of the country face rising water costs and restrictions we don’t have to worry to the same degree. Although I have been very cautious of not wasting water, when others have none, so I fixed leaking taps and use it sparingly on the garden – enough so the plants still survive enough to give me a good harvest.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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