Just add water.

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!

Water lily
The levels in the wild life pond are back up to the top. It was on my list last week to top it up a little as it was starting to evaporate in the heat. The water lily seems to be loving life.

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.

succession seedlings
I need to get out there in the cool of the evening and plant my succession seedlings so they can settle in before having to face the midday heat. And while everything is still damp. Then think about getting the cool season crops on the go.

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.

115mm of rain
Not a bad amount of rain for a weekend! I’ve emptied it out as it looks like we will have round two again very soon – unless the forecast changes.

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.

Windy corn
It was also very windy but the blessing to take is it was an off shore wind so wasn’t laden with salt.

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.

The view from the office
This isn’t a bad view from my office door, everything looks lush and vibrate. I do love how a good rain makes everything seem so fresh.

Come again soon – I look forward to the coming weeks as gardening is about to be a lot more bearable.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

12 thoughts on “Just add water.

  1. Oh Sarah, I am so with you on the summer heat fatigue – one foot after the other feels like wearing lead gumboots. The rain was glorious this past weekend. in fact I stayed in bed much of the day just enjoying watching it fall and rejuvenate everything. And today my veggie plot is prepared for the seedlings to be planted tomorrow. All tilled, fed and lush with fresh compost. Cabbages, celery, leeks and bok choy. I already have a bed chock full of spinach and rainbow beet, and another with beetroot. For ONCE, I appear to be ahead on points. Let it rain, at night, gentle wet wet rain.. and may the sun stop mildew. 🙂 In the meantime, the self seeded cherry tomato in my passionfruit pot is laden with flowers, my purchased tommy tumbler tomato has more than I can keep up with in sweet cherry tomatoes, and lettuces and spring onions and carrots are being harvested. I feel incredibly proud of myself, must have been reading your growing vegtables book huh?

    1. I have decided to wait until the cooler weather next week. But duck out and tend to things in the few moments in the day when it isn’t too hot. I’m so pleased your garden is doing well, I hope you have a wonderful rest of the season. : o)

  2. Sarah, after being in ground for one year, my hibiscus gave up fighting the too cold, too hot, too dry, too moist weather in Chicago. The weather I can’t change. I need to rethink location, not easy to do in a very shady situation. Cheers.

    1. Finding the right plant for the right place can be such a trial and error process. I have certainly killed more than my fair share of plants over the years! The weather is so random lately so it is just another factor to add to it all. All the best with your garden, spring should be there soon enough… : o)

  3. I can imagine how the heat of the summer tires you out while working in your garden Sarah, and your garden looks so bountiful and lovely full of vegetables. A pleasure to read about it all.

  4. Summer is my least favourite season!
    All my gardening lately has been done in the evening, because it’s the only time it’s cool enough (aside from 5am which is too early for me). And again, it’s mostly been watering, watering, watering. Hoping for some more rain soon!

    1. I don’t know why I look forward to it all year – probably because I’m focused on what the garden can do and forget about how hot it can get. I’m so pleased the temperatures have dropped now, and gardening can be done in a much more manageable way. : o)

  5. Hi Sarah, I’m catching up on my favorite garden blogs. I’m so glad you got that great drenching of badly-needed rain! Hope we get some here in northern California as well. We’re still in a drought and I’m hoping for some miracle late rains to avoid an extra parched summer. I agree with you about summer…I tend to enjoy gardening in winter and spring the most. In high summer, I hibernate indoors for the most part. Your garden looks so lush and thriving, as always!

    1. Summer can be overrated sometimes. I enjoy the gentler months. I do hope you get the rain you are looking for, but it seems to always fall in abundance in the places that don’t need it. I hope you have a lovely growing season. : o)

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