This summer has been hot and dry. The last decent deluge was back in December when I despaired that my young plants would be ruined – stricken with fungal disease before they even got started. But alas no, they pulled through and went on into the growing season looking great and the garden looked healthy and promising well into the new year. Not to mention the rain storm a few weeks ago where we watched in dismay as the imagery on the rain radar showed clouds full to bursting with rain split in two and go around our place without so much as a drop!
And then the heat came. It was too much – for me and the garden. The temperatures soared up into the 30’s which is hot for us. It didn’t help that the black sand magnified things beyond what it was like outside the garden. Extreme temperatures like this are not good for me and I found myself wrestling with heat related fatigue instead of stubborn weeds. Fortunately, the garden was in a good enough condition that it could cope without the need for daily interventions, except for the need for water.
Up until now, my irrigation system of watering one sector a day – delivering a good deep drink once every 5 days was more than enough to keep the garden happy and healthy. But this season the plants seemed to demand more and more, and I was giving extra feeds between the cycles in a hydrating game of ‘whack-a-mole’ going from one bed about to turn up its toes to another. This seemed to satisfy most of the crops – but not all. The cucumbers seem to have given up the ghost. I may pop in some new seeds for a sneaky late crop before the season turns cold. I was worried about the corn as the lower leaves were on the verge of browning for the last few weeks. But the harvest – the cobs left untouched by the possums, gave me enough plump and juicy cobs for the freezer.
I have decided that I don’t actually like summer – or at the very least the middle of summer. It is over hyped as the season to look forward to, but it is just brutal. There is no pleasure in being out in the heat and any work that needs doing is harder than it needs to be if only we weren’t operating in a furnace. Give me spring any day. While it is still cold and wet, it is full of hope, or the waning days of summer and early autumn when the harvest is in full swing but at temperatures much more manageable and gives a warm glow not unlike a hug. I need to remember this for next year – summer is not to be anticipated with excitement but braced for with plans to avoid the ordeal it becomes so it remains a product time.
The weather was set to stay the course for the next few weeks and with February historically the most settled month I was bracing myself to end more of the same. However, this weekend the rains came, and not just drips and drops but a good deep quenching rain. 115 mm of solid persistent rain. The kind that slowly seeps into the depths of the earth and restores the balance. The garden feels fresher and greener with the dust washed off and the once limp branches standing tall and proud. The temperatures in the coming days are still forecast to be hot, but it feels like we have had a reset in the balance of things and facing the days doesn’t feel so insurmountable. The slow approach to the next season feels manageable as it beckons with it cosy embrace. I think even the return of the bright sunny days will have the sting removed from its tail and will actually be appreciated for the joy it can bring as the days like these begin to become numbered.
Come again soon – I look forward to the coming weeks as gardening is about to be a lot more bearable.
Sarah the Gardener : o)