The brief cooler weather interlude, provided a great opportunity to work in the garden. Planting of course was a priority. We were fortunate to have a week of evening or night rain. While it was not a lot, a few mm’s every night makes a huge difference, and of course this meant that I did not have to water.
Clearing beds and garden clean up was also on the cooler weather agenda. Weeding is always a regular activity and with the rain and warm weather the weeds are flourishing. My favourite weeding tool is the stirrup hoe.
This cuts on the push and pull stroke to cover a lot of ground fast! The thin, oscillating blade carves through tough weeds just below the soil surface, cutting in both directions. Very fast and efficient. Great for footpath area.
Clearing beds provides an enourmous amount of material that can have many uses across the small farm or garden. Of course poultry, particularly chooks love scratching through weeds and vegie waste and of course pigs. Adding it to the compost pile is also another excellent use of this organic matter. However in this extremely hot summer I am also opting to use this material as mulch on other garden beds, specifically the potatoes. Potatoes need to be hilled and tend do grow long and straggly falling over paths and other vegies.
I have attached a short video demonstration. Hope you find this helpful
As I write this the temperature is in the high 30’s and still climbing with even hotter temps predicted for the rest of the week. Back to night watering and early morning starts. I hope you all stay sane in this hot weather.
The last few weeks have been exceedingly hot and dry and it would appear that the Bureau of Meteorology Seasonal forecasting is proving correct - warmer than average day time and night time temperatures through to the end of March. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/overview/video
Let’s hope that the predictions for at least “average” summer rainfall also proves correct.
Braidwood generally gets most of its rainfall during spring and summer. We had very good spring rainfall so hopefully if we get some summer rainfall we will be able to survive this summer of heatwaves. But currently its exceedingly hot and dry. Far too hot to be out in the midday sun farming or gardening.
Our management strategy here at Wynlen House is to start the day early, feed the animals and get some work done in the garden and head back inside for a late breakfast about 9.30 - 10.00am. Outside work doesn’t start again until 5.30 - 6.00pm after the intense heat of the sun has somewhat dissipated. Evening farmwork is primarily focused on watering. Evening watering makes the best use of water in the garden. By watering at this time, the water can percolate into the soil for 12 hours or more before the intense heat returns. Also plants do a significant amount of growing during the night and this ensures they will have plenty of water to do so and a good reservoir of water to draw on before their next watering.
We are still maintaining the watering program previously described in my blog, The Gentle Art of Watering dated 17 Oct 2018.
Extra care has to be taken when planting seedlings out in this heat. Late afternoon or evening planting is the best as they have at least 12 hours to settle in before the heat starts again. In a heatwave seedlings (and seeds) may will need extra watering in the morning or during the day and may also require shade covering until well established.
It is important to remember that a small amount of water provided to plants when they can make the best use of it is of far better value to both the plant and the environment than a large volume of water during the heat of the day. It is natural for plants to wilt during the heat of the day. Wilting is a coping mechanism. It does not mean that the plant is not surviving and needs watering straight away.
Wonderful rain on Saturday afternoon and evening along with a cool change. We had 25 mm or an inch of rain in the old money. What a relief. Not only did the garden sigh in relief but so did the gardener. Happy gardening and enjoy the cool weather.
The photo below show just some of the vegetables we are getting out of this hot weather garden.
Bronwyn Richards has cared for animals and has been growing vegetables successfully all her adult life. She is principle gardener for Wynlen House Farm