Saturday, July 5, 2008

Climate change evidence in my garden?

In the summer I could not keep the tomatoes alive. The hot winds and scorching heat dessicated them.
Unknown to me, one poor plant survived and in late Autumn I found this tomato plant. It is the best looking tomato I have grown for years, but it should not be flourishing at all. This is winter in Perth, Western Australia and everyone knows tomatoes grow in summer.
Pundits have said that Western Australia's south west is one of the first places to show effects of climate change. Our rainfall has declined by nearly 40% in the last 40 years. Our summers are hotter, and as this tomato shows, our winters are milder.
I wonder if the tomatoes which are now hanging in large green bunches on this plant, will actually get enough sunlight to ripen? It will be interesting to see.
If so, I might need to adjust my whole planting schedule.
I am also thinking of making permanent shade structures for the whole garden for summer, a concept we would not have had to contemplate years ago.
These are worrying times for those of us who care for the earth, and my tomato might just be giving me proof of a generalised climate change. Of course I know that it is too early to tell -but if this were to be repeated over several years, then we would know that our Perth climate more closely resembled that of Geraldton, some 400 km north of us, where tomatoes are grown in winter to supply the demands of southern cities.

1 comment:

Nicole said...

wow it is quite large, i hope you get lots of tasty tomatos from it no matter what time of the year it grows. maybe you should put in some seed for other sumer delights & see how they grow.
we have had tomatos grow here in the mountains in winter, they looked beautiful but alas they had not taste.