Last week was a strange week. In fact, it seems we are living in a strange world and there is so much uncertainty than concentrating on anything for too long can seem overwhelming. But the garden is always a place of peace and somewhere to lose yourself in.
The mornings have been much cooler and it has been lovely to potter about without overheating, but the afternoons are still not ready to give up on the summer loving and the temperatures are still in the realms of too hot. And all that rain we had recently seems to have lost its cooling affect in the soil and the plants are back to gasping for moisture, dramatically pretending to die in the afternoons. Watering everything is an ongoing constant. It is easy enough in the main beds hooked up to the irrigation, but there are loads of areas dotted around the place that for the most part thrive on their own but are also beginning to gasp for a drink. We had to get some more water in as the tanks were getting low again. It is almost like the heavy rains didn’t come at all.
Having said that it was a whole month since we had that 115ml rain. Gosh no wonder! Where does the time go, it doesn’t seem that long ago at all! Ok so now that makes sense. I will need to increase my watering vigilance as the forecast doesn’t look great for more rain – there is nothing but the hint of a single light shower for the next 10 days.
Aside from the watering dramas, this season suits me well. The garden operates at a slower pace. I took the time to harvest some of my pumpkins. Not all of them, just the ones that had all the classic signs of being ready – with dead, crispy leaves, brown stems, and corky brown stalks. I love the variety I have grown this year. There are my old favourites, grey crown, butternut, and butter cup, which I know to have good flavour and texture and will keep us going steadily through the winter with a comforting ‘meal hug’ to lift us out of the dismal days to come. Especially now that the vocal ‘pumpkin disliker’ has left home.
But I also have some interesting ones to play with in the kitchen – some Baby Bear, sugar pie and what was supposed to be a Long Island Cheese but looks nothing like it should. I also have some Lady Godiva which is grown for its seeds. The flesh isn’t supposed to be all that great so maybe Snowy the Goat or the Chickens can have that, or possibly the best place for it will be the compost heap. I’m quite excited about this as pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are a kitchen cupboard staple around here as they make such a lovely crunchy garnish to salads. So far this season the birds have stolen all my sunflower seeds!
I have also sown all of my cool season seeds – except broccoli as I only had an empty packet in my seed tin. I will need to get some more and get them sown sooner rather than later. Nestled in the seed trays are mostly brassica – all the usuals – cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi, but also leek, fennel, and several varieties of salad crop. The lettuces have not enjoyed the high temperatures in the garden and most bolted to seed before getting much bigger than the seedlings I plant out.
Directly in the garden I have sown radish, peas, swede, and carrot, but the space these and the other seedlings will occupy doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the bare earth beginning to appear as crops come to an end. I will need to sow cover crops soon to bring life and organic material back to the emptiness. Possibly a job for this week.
But this week I have something else in mind. I have two big tasks planned – the first is to clear out the greenhouse and get it ready for some cool season action – it has just been too hot in there recently for anything at all – even with everything open. The other task is to get started on the new room in The Palace Garden. I have tried not to take on as much as I did in the rock garden, but we’re in the preliminary planning stage and so far, it seems manageable, and the time is right to just make the leap and get started. All going well it should be just a wonderful as the first room in The Palace Garden.
Come again soon – it should be a good week in the garden.
Sarah the Gardener : o)