Friday, 17 December 2010

La Nina summer

I have been out planting vegetables.  The weather is quite unusual for this time of the year... it's due to a La Nina, which changes the weather pattern so that we get cooler, wetter weather during the summer.   (Compared with the usual 40C+ that we usually get makes the garden maintenance, watering and shading much easier than iusual.) This had been predicted because of the lower temperature on the surface of the Pacific Ocean.  Apparently climate change will mean more variable weather and for gardeners this will mean taking every opportunity as it arises, whether that is changing the timing of planting or even which crops are planted in particular years...  opportunistic gardening.
Today I planted some extra cucumber plants and a few more herbs.  The cool and more humid weather makes this worth doing, despite it being Christmas week.  (Normally I'd be too busy and the extra care needed for baby plants during really hot weather would make it unadvisable, but not this year...  with La Nina.)
The other thing to remember though, is that it is useful to continue to plant at least weekly, even when you're busy harvesting whatever is being produced at the time.  It's not just a "one off" thing.  If you want to continue to eat from the garden every week of the year,  then it's necessary to plant something every week as well.  I am currently harvesting zucchini and green beans, along with herbs and leafy greens and I've planted some more basil, some cucumbers and some amaranth.  The original cucumber plants have begun to flower, but there aren't any fruits yet...

I have also been out goat-herding.   This reminded me of Emilie Carles who wrote "A Wild Herb Soup" because she described going to the mountains with animals...  not quite like babysitting a goat in the backyard,  but it did make me think about all of the people (often children) who have had to keep an eye on sheep, goats or cattle as they grazed... it's an interesting occupation and it wouldn't take long to understand the animals that you're watching.  
Gertrude is quite happy in her pen and there is plenty to eat there,  but I like her to get used to the idea of browsing on the weeds while tethered in various parts of the yard.  She prefers to remain in her own territory,  it seems,  but I'm sure she'll soon  be used to the changes of scenery.  Today we went and sat out by the chickens (they didn't like the look of her) while she ate the thistles there, then back to the clothes line where she eats the grass seed heads (the ones that get stuck in your socks if you're not careful) though she leaves the roots and the base of the plant behind... she would make a perfect lawnmower!
Her favourite foods though, are the geranium flowers (these were pink and she picked them off neatly, leaving the greenery behind) jasmine (she even licked the fallen flowers from the ground) and thistles.  We sat out there for quite a while and then I took her back to the pen.  I cut some olive branches for her, and she is still eating those...
She really likes kurrajong leaves too.  If I ever need to leave her all day in the pen,  I'll cut her some favourite bits from around the yard... kurrajong, lucerne tree and olives.

Other bits and pieces... the baby fig tree that has grown from a cutting is showing healthy shoots...
... and not only that.... there are two more that have tiny shoots today.  I'll have three fig trees it all goes according to plan.

I had forgotten to feed the chickens late yesterday (I have some kind of sore throat/achey muscles kind of infection, and I was a bit vague in the afternoon) and they were rather desperate this morning.   I put some pellet food into the feeder and stood back...
 ... the babies obviously don't have any trouble with the "adult" pellets now!

The next lily to flower is white.... and beautifully perfumed...
...but more exciting is the water lily bud...
... and I know it's hard to see,  but this round shape is a lily bud that is making its way to the surface.  I've been able to see two of them in recent days,  but seeing through the water surface is hard. I can't wait for this flower to open.

1 comment:

Fiona (posts by her mum and dad) said...

I can't wait to see that lily and Gertie sounds like she is in goat heaven, I wonder how jasmine geranium milk would taste/

Get better soon. Thanks fro updating us on the garden.
Love
Louise