Saturday, October 24, 2009

Spring garden shade

Our garden is beginning to adapt to warmer weather at last.

DH did a fantastic job when I was away in Sydney last week, and put up all the shade sails and shadecloth blinds on the north and west of the house. These blinds stay up all summer. They bring lots of light into the rooms -somehow the light seems to bounce around the room, yet they cut out most of the heat that otherwise would make the rooms very hot.

Eventually we will have a grape covered pergola on this northern side, but that will need to be of sturdy construction and DH needs to be on holiday to tackle it -not a weekend job.

There are still lots of spring flowers -pelargoniums are splendid at the moment, as are the daisies and cannas.

The kitchen garden is producing leafy things at the moment. Today we harvested the last of the red cabbages.

We have some lovely lettuce, but I will need to get some more in soon.

There are some great rainbow chard plants in the larger raised garden bed. I am going to put more lettuces in here under the shadecloth sail (picture lower down).

The heirloom tomatoes survived the transplanting process and are now in the smaller of our raised garden bed -the first of the 'wicking' beds. We have them under shade on the northern side. They seem to be very happy in the bed, and the soil seems cools and damp but not wet.

Today is going to be 32 degrees Celcius, according to the forecast. Sunday is one of our twice weekly watering days, and our automatic drip irrigation has been on. The plants gradually adapt to the warmer, drier regime of our Mediterranean type climate, and will adjust.

I am very happy that two of my three roses are in flower. I have struggled to get the feeding and sunlight regime right for these, but what I am doing now seems to be working.

Roses are good in this setting -they keep on flowering through summer when other flowers have finished. I like having some flowers to pick for the house, and of course the flowers are essential to bring the bees. Last summer we were hand pollenating some veggies, so I am trying harder to make sure that there are some flowers among the vegetables out the back .

The next tasks will be to continue the heavy mulching of the garden that we have started, to protect the plants and conserve the water in the soil. We will be doing this for weeks to come.

Soon it will be common for us to take every meal we can outdoors, in the patio out the back, and the menu will be cold collations, salads and sandwiches as staples.

It is something I am very grateful for every day, to live in such a fantastic place and with such a wonderful climate. We had a good wet winter this year, the first for many years, and the street trees are looking strong again and ready to cope with the summer heat.

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