The state of the Garden   Part Three of Three (or possibly four)

When you are in the garden you lose all track of time.  I was out there the other day watering until 8pm.  I wasn’t in the garden the whole time but in bursts of several hours and with the lovely long summer daylight hours it is so easy to blur an afternoon into an evening without realising it.  It was actually quite pleasant.  I had decided to leave the watering until later as it was just too hot in the middle of the day and wouldn’t have been an efficient use of the water.

Sector 5
This area is a hard area as it is down the back and behind the dome and so a bit of out of sight out of mind, and it is scheduled for maintenance on a Friday. If I’m not strict with myself it could easily get neglected – especially in the winter.

I’m very conscious of water right now as we only have tank water.  We have two 30,000 litre tanks and one is specifically for the garden.  The thing is, it is well enough to have big tanks, but it they have no water the size is meaningless.  We almost ran out of water right before Christmas so we ordered in two deliveries and then had a decent rain fall so at my best guess we had at least 30,000 litres to get us through the summer and I was feeling good.  But then on Christmas Eve the taps stopped working.  It turned out someone had fiddled with a remote tap outside somewhere – not even going to find out who to blame – there is no point.  And all of our water drained away overnight.  In finding out the cause we also discovered there was a slow leak in the pipework from the tanks to the pumps, so this was a bit of a blessing and that has now been fixed.

Gardena Water Distributor
I finally have my Gardena 6 Hose Water Distributor up and running and can water 6 beds at once. However, with our current watering crisis I am watering on a needs must basis and schlepping a lot of watering cans.

Unfortunately no one would deliver water late on Christmas Eve, let alone Christmas Day or Boxing Day.  But we managed with buckets and bottled water and had a lovely, if not a little different kind of Christmas.   The first opportunity we could get we paid a fortune for 10,000 litres.  We have had a little bit of rain since and with strict water usage we haven’t run out yet, but each time I water the garden – irrigation set to exactly 9 minutes per bed or individual plants watered with a watering can, I worry – will this be the time the tank drains?  We could buy more but I’m loathed to spend more money after the wasted amount that hasn’t been paid for yet but will be soon.   The boffins were predicting heavy rain on Monday and I was hanging my hopes on that but another quick check reveals they have changed their minds and Monday is going to be perfect summer conditions.

Blue sky summer day
The boffins suggested it would rain heavily soon and then changed their mind. I’m conflicted here – we really need the rain, but we are well overdue a nice sunny summer.

Now that I have waffled about the weather I’m going to have to jump about a bit and tell you about Sector 5, which I took care of on Thursday as I suspect that would take the least amount of words so I don’t bore you too much.  If you haven’t read about Sector 1 and 2 you can check that out >here< and >here<.

Sector Five

Pumpkins:  The pumpkins are in two beds facing each other about 5 metres apart, with an arch in the middle of it.   The theory being I could guide their rampant growth with landscape staples and encourage them out into the middle and do their wild abandon thing there, out of harms way.  It was starting to look like it would work, after I amended the beds to be more nutrient rich than they were and lush growth was trailing out of the beds.  Then the wind kept coming and knocked them back each time.  But there are some good pumpkins set – even a giant one.  The arch was for the luffas to climb up but I don’t think they are going anywhere as they are quite stunted.  I should have protected them better in the early days.

Lady Godiva Pumpkin
I’m really excited about this Lady Godiva Pumpkin as it isn’t for eating in the normal sense but is grown for its seeds!

Flowers:  There is an unexpected bed I have used for overflow flowers that just get dumped there and they seem to be doing best of all the flowers, with little care or attention.  I did a spot of weeding and some dead heading and they are fine to go again!

I think I have accidentally become good at growing snapdragons.

Raspberries:  They haven’t come to anything.  There were no summer rasberries from the summer plants, but I can only hope the autumn ones decide to do something.  The boysenberry bush had a few berries and I thought “I’ll leave them one more day to ripe up a little bit more.”  Yeah Nah.  Don’t do that.  The next day they were gone – birds got ‘em.

The raspberry bed
The chickens love it when I work on this bed – they like to hang with me. But sadly this bed is seriously unproductive.

Strawberries:  I am still valiantly trying to save them from their near death experience in November.  I can’t believe I gave over 800 runners away in the spring and I haven’t even had a small bowl full.  Some plants are definitely toast, but others look like they might make it.  The runners I do get this year will be carefully nurtured to restock the bed.

There are splashes of red in the strawberry bed and signs of recovery, but it isn’t a success story yet.

Other fruit:  I have two of 4 blueberries still alive and one of two gooseberries.  They will be ok but I don’t expect fruit for a couple more years.   The cape gooseberries are very slow to get going and I thought they were supposed to grow like weeds!

This is my best blueberry plant. I think with the proper nurturing and plenty of time it will be ok… hopefully.

So that just leaves sector 3 to tell you about, and leaves sector 4 for me to deal with.  I’m not looking forward to that one – it is a mess in the middle of the garden!

Come again soon – you’re almost up to date.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

7 thoughts on “The state of the Garden   Part Three of Three (or possibly four)

  1. What did you use to add nutrients to your pumpkins Sarah? Mine look a bit yellow! Good to hear about your blueberries too as one of the two we planted has died and I hadn’t expected they would be difficult to grow. Haven’t figured what we did wrong as I thought they were quite a rugged plant😯

    1. Hi Sue, I grew and dug in a mustard cover crop over the winter and then added loads of compost, sheep pellets, Yates Dynamic Lifter and blood and bone to the soil and it seems to have improved things. I will do the same again this year. I also liquid feed during the season. At the old place I found it was a few years before the blueberries found themselves started producing a good harvest and then we moved. The new ones have been eaten by our goat – twice and beaten up by the wind a number of times so it is no surprise they are scrawny. They like acidic conditions and like all plants need to be feed and watered well, and prefer a free draining soil with plenty of organic material. The key is finding out what they like and treat them accordingly and they will flourish – a bit like raising kids! All the best with it. : o)

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