This is turning out to be a strange season

Knowing the garden has good access to water is one of those things that takes a weight off my mind for the season ahead.  The water tanks are in a good place going into summer.  They aren’t completely full; I think we have more storage capacity than our small roof can capture.  Maybe we should have moved a bigger house onto the land! But I think we are in the best position we have ever been in before.   

The start of an unpredictable day
The start of an unpredictable day

This summer is supposed to be a La Niña season which means mild and humid with more rain than usual.  And the wind is supposed to come from the Northeast which we are kind of protected from here and is a bit of a relief as it won’t be salt laden.  The downside is, I will need to be extra watchful for fungal diseases like blight and powdery mildew.  But at least if you know what to expect you can prepare.

Damp soil
The soil was nice and damp from the rains fo the previous days.

But you can’t protect plants you haven’t planted from potential diseases.  They really need to get in the ground.  Ordinarily, after sorting out the irrigation system and getting it ready to go, I like to build my structures in advance of planting out and my control freakery in the garden (but not anywhere else, strangely enough) would normally have me doing all the structures so I can stand back and look at them all in a plant-less setting. 

Bamboo support stakes
I toyed with the idea of eyeballing the bamboo support stakes for the peppers but it would have bothered me all season so I dragged out the string.

However due to lockdown and the tedious click and collect system of shopping, I can’t just pop down to the shops when I need something or realise I forgot to get it.  Alongside being able to see what you are buying with your very own eyes.  Selecting things from dodgy photos on the internet can be misleading.   So, gathering the supplies hasn’t been easy.   This has meant I have needed to plant plants before I finished with the structure creation stage.   Although to be clear, plants needing structures have been left until their structures are in place, as that is good gardening practice. Building structures around plants is asking for some kind of trouble.

Seaweed tonic soak
Every plant going into the ground gets a 15 minute soak in a seaweed tonic.

With a long weekend and every intention to ‘finish the garden’ I quickly found plans and reality often don’t play nicely together.  The first day of the long weekend was the trench digging and irrigation assembly and I took that as a perfect way to spend doing something / anything in the garden.  The wind was howling across the land at about 40km/h with gusts up to 80km/h.  As much as I wanted to plant plants it was a bad idea.  But at least we were doing something, and Sunday was another day.

But Sunday wasn’t to be a garden day at all.  The wind persisted and while it wasn’t cold, it was wet and windy.  Not a great combination to be outside in, so I sat that one out.

Planted peppers
The pepper plants look so small beside the bamboo stakes they will soon engulf.

Monday didn’t disappoint.  The wind had dropped, and it was eerily still in the garden, after days of the noisy wind.  It was perfect planting weather, warm, yet not too hot, gloomy but not too dismal.  There was a light mist that was barely perceivable.  The chance of plants getting a shock of being out in intense weather was zero.  I’ve been giving them a 15 min soak in seaweed tonic before planting out to reduce the risk of transplant shock and stress even further.

Stick to the plan
With so many spares and actuals, it is important to stick to the plan and not crowd them out in a moment of green greed!

Initially I was a little overwhelmed and I stood in the garden not knowing where to start.  Who gets to go first?   But I grabbed the closest plants on the shelf that just happened to be the peppers.  While they were taking their soak, I set up the bamboo poles that will support their growth and prevent them from dragging their fruit in the soil.  Once I got them in, I was away.  The next choices were easy – anything that didn’t need support and their beds were ready to go quickly took their places. 

The pumpkins
The pumpkins look so happy to have been released from their pots.

Everything thing has a spare, to back them up, should anything thing go wrong over the next few weeks.  In a previous season I have had to use almost every single backup as the weather pounded the garden without mercy for weeks.   So, the spares in their pots will continue to be nurtured for the time being. 

These swede where taking the place of the of the leafy greens, so they needed to come out and will mean some urgent kitchen gardening as if I didn’t have enough on my plate.

I still don’t have everything in.  There are still structures to be built and unbelievably there are still a couple of beds that aren’t ready.  They still have the crops of the last season languishing there.  I’m trying to eat or process them as fast as I can or trying to figure out how to work around them so they can finish what they started.  Then I can enrich their beds and get the next season started.

The day ended in an amazing way!

It feels quite discombobulated this season.  I have been doing this so long I have a routine and systems, but nothing seems to want to conform to my way of doing things.  There is nothing for it but to carry on and do the next thing that calls out to me until eventual I will stand back and see all is done, and I can settle down into that sweet spot of watering and weeding until the harvest begins to show itself. 

Come again soon – the tomatoes are desperate to get planted.

Sarah the Gardener : o)

9 thoughts on “This is turning out to be a strange season

  1. That sunset was f glorious. There is always something to console us when things seem overwhelming. Thanks for the tip of heir and spare. I accidently grew 3 cucumbers but now I will hold one back as an insurance type. You are doing such amazing stuff. Well done!

    1. I like the term ‘heir and spare’ – I think I’ll borrow it off you and start using it often – it is a perfect description for keeping extras back for ‘just in case’. : o)

  2. Hi Sarah, Your sunset over the sea photo is amazing. The clouds are like an abstract painting. You could make a poster of this. The weather has been awfully wet on the North Shore of Auckland too. I am waiting for a dry spell to harvest my garlic. It was planted in May and has started sending up flower shoots already, which I have picked off. Half the leaves have yellowed and there is a teeny tiny bit of rust, so I think it is time to harvest, I hope! Happy gardening, hugs, Rose x

    1. We do get some amazing sunsets here. Before harvesting all the garlic I would be tempted to just have a look at one and then decide. They do a lot of fattening up in that last month and it hasn’t really been that warm. I planted mine in April and won’t be looking to dig them up for a while yet. I’m also fighting the rust but am confident I’ll win the battle this year! : o)

      1. Thanks for your advice Sarah, I really appreciate it 🙂 I will leave the garlic in a little longer, the bulbs aren’t big enough yet. This is the second time we have grown it, and last years was not successful. Hopefully the weather will warm up soon too and be dry enough for us to get out in the garden again! Hugs Rose x

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