Tuesday, 27 December 2016

End of the year. Life's good.

I hadn't forgotten about this blog,  and I have been agonising over just what to tell about the garden, and how it is going.  I have been posting photographs, at least, on an instagram account.  

We have had a long cool spring,  though with extra rain,  making this year one of the wettest (if not the wettest) in the years that I have lived here.  That was quite a relief after several particularly dry years and serious concerns about whether or not it would be possible to continue to plant very much during the summer... it had been looking as though the winter garden would have to supply the bulk of the food for the household. So far, so good.  The garden continues to feed me.

I have even grown some tomatoes (in a pot, in the back verandah) from seeds that I collected from a particularly lovely tomato from last year.

And it has been a wonderful year for artichokes which usually stop producing with the first really hot weather....

But this year,  that all changed.  We have had significant rain every month since May. And as I sit here (27 December) we have had another 15mm of rain in the past day or so and we are expecting even more tonight, along with another storm.  In fact, we have had unusual weather in the past few months.  The rain, storms that caused tornados that cut electricity supply to the whole state and no serious heat waves until the 43C on Christmas Day.  

I planted the seeds and seedlings late,  put off by the late "spring" weather,  but in fact, everything is growing well, if a little later than usual.  Even the cactus plants have flowered later than usual, and the prickly pear flowers are only now coming out en masse.  There will be plenty of fruit, I think.

And so this year is ending with the summer beginning at the solstice, as one would expect, and several months of unknown weather ahead of us.  

As the climate changes,  it appears that the growing seasons will, indeed, become more unpredictable, and growing food may be just that little bit more difficult, for people in Kapunda and elsewhere.  I suppose that is a part of the thinking of the last few weeks as I pondered about what I could say.  

As the growing of food becomes more unpredictable,  it is even more important to be observant.  Of course, this is the first principle of permaculture.... "observe and interact".  It sounds simple,  and in many ways it is,  but it is important to look very carefully "in order to recognise patterns and appreciate details."  This is where my own training (originally in science and behavioural ecology) has helped me to think very carefully about what is happening in my own garden and to see what is happening from the point of view of the plants and animals here, and to make only small interventions that seem to help.... it is an ongoing experiment.  And so far, I haven't made too many mistakes... 

There are a few "old posts" that I feel the need to re-read myself.  I may even re-write some of them, including more bits and pieces that I have learned since writing them.

I am anticipating a much calmer year (personally) after several difficult patches in the past couple of years.  And so back to the blog, the food and solving the problems of my own backyard, climate change and peak phosphorus,  to name a few.  Life is good.