The garden seems to be in some sort of holding pattern. The old summer plants are limping along, being supplemented by frequent watering and liquid feeds like they are on some kind of life support. They are still productive and there is a modest harvest, but it is so dry. And while we are no longer in those heady high temperature days, it is still hot in the grand scheme of things – too hot to walk on the sandy paths with bare feet in the middle of the afternoon kind of hot.
Even the weeds refuse to grow. It is like a stale mate. I have things I’d like to do, like sow cover crops, buy and plant plants from an ever-growing wish list, make changes and repairs to areas that haven’t fared well over this last growing season and enjoy the pleasure of good honest, get ya hands dirty gardening. But aside from it being too hot and too dry, it is not the time to be planting or sowing anything. The demand of keeping them moist is too great right now. I’ll leave that to the garden centre for the things on the list and keep cover crop seeds in seed packets. Before any plants go into the ground, it needs a good deep soak, but more than that it needs to stay damp while everything establishes.
I can manage the cool season seedlings in a handful of seed trays because I have them directly out the front of my office door where I can almost trip over them. Watering these reminds me to water the 4 rows I directly sowed into the garden at the same time. But beyond this, too much effort is required to fight against the conditions.
There is rain in the forecast. Last time I looked there was a big fat rain cloud icon for this Thursday, then it moved to Friday. Now it is showing up on Sunday, with light showers following for four days afterwards. But I’m not holding my breath – I’ve seen this before. The big fat rain cloud icon on the forecast evaporates as easily as it would if it landed on my parched earth.
The other thing about rain where we are on the coast, is it tends to avoid us. There is a large river mouth to the south of us and an inlet to a harbour to the north and the rain – from what I have observed, is the rain follows the water and you can watch it out to sea, carelessly spilling water from laden clouds into the ocean as it makes its way inland everywhere but here. It feels like such a waste… the salty sea has no need for the extra fresh water. Even watching the rain radar imagery, you can see in real time the clouds part above us, as if a well intentioned by misguided effort to protect us from a deluge.
I imagine in the winter – as I have forgotten what it is like to be constantly cold and wet, I will be grateful for this pattern, which would give us a break from the relentlessness of winter. And I have promised myself not to moan and complain about the winter weather – although I will probably also forget this as summer becomes a distant memory.
So, for now I just wait – ready to jump in and get some good gardening done as soon as the weather changes and the rains come.
Come again soon – it can’t stay dry forever!
Sarah the Gardener : o)