Thursday, 14 January 2016

Everyday Gardening?

   "everyday garden life is not only patio, barbecue,white picket fence, topiary, herbaceous border… "
(from "Radical Gardening - Politics, Idealism & Rebellion in the Garden" by George McKay)

It has been a long time between posts, and there have been a lot of reasons for the change in my posting, commenting and thinking…

  • Serious family issues.  Bloggers have lives as well,  and sometimes life can get in the way of the blog.  While the issues are not sorted,  I have done whatever I could to change the impact on me and my garden.
  • El Nino and the climate.  Summer has always been hot and dry here, and most summers have meant a lot of extra effort to have the garden survive.  With the noticeable change in climate (the last several years being 'hottest on record' with 'longer summers' and significantly less rain,  this has been getting harder and harder.  Not impossible,  just requiring very different strategic planning.  Then,  to top it off,  this year was predicted to be a 'super el Nino' because of the significantly hotter patch in the Pacific Ocean.  El Nino years mean wetter winters in California and further south, and much drier years around here (not to mention a failure of the monsoon in SE Asia) and so, expecting a very hot dry summer,  I began early and watered, covered 9with pea straw) and 'put to bed' much of the vegetable garden.  That has proven to be the right decision.
  • As time has gone on,  much of the day to day garden activities are,  of necessity, repetitive.  I have often referred back to 'old' posts to see how planting/growing/production are comparing with past years.  There is much that is the same,  I have learned a lot and modified some of my methods,  but there are only so many new plants, vegetables or recipes that one can add.  I haven't stopped thinking about how and why I live where I live though.  And there are a lot of changes.

In recent years,  I had already been growing much more (in the food garden) during the winter than I had in the summers.  Heat is the main problem and this year has already had a number of days well over 40C  (104F) with almost no rain for more than two months so far….  rain is not usually expected in any quantity until April or May in this region… and so there is quite a way to go yet.
Last winter (much like several before it) I had preserved (bottling and freezing) extra food for the summer season.  Traditionally this has been a summer activity,  but here,  with the best growing season being in winter,  there is no reason to maintain that regime.  It is still useful to grow some fresh 'summer' foods in small quantities (even in pots that can be moved to avoid the worst of the heat) but the 'summer  glut' of vegetables is not the 'usual' here from now on.
Well established trees, even in very 'difficult' areas, continue to produce.  These apricots are a gift from a friend with a tree that is further north (hotter and drier) than Kapunda.
Consequently,  my plan to grow several different fruit trees is taking shape.  "Taking shape" in more ways than one, for my trees will be espaliered in order to keep the leaf/root ratio low and the fruit more accessible and able to be netted (bird protection) in later years.  But more of that later.
The blog is back within reach and I there is much that I have been thinking about gardens, farming the soil and a little bit of self sufficiency.  


Karen said...

Great post Jane. Wish you lived closer to me & you could make me a productive garden ..... :-) !

Jan said...

I've noticed that in the 7 summers I have lived in South Australia that growing in the summer months has become increasingly more difficult. Next summer my vegetable garden will be put to bed and I will only be growing a few things in pots.