Beautiful big blue sky. Lovely long sunny days. Just a bit too hot for my blood. I know… never satisfied.
And not a drop of rain. For weeks. And the forecast is dry, dry, dry.
In the harsh sunlight the garden looks withered, the plants conserving the precious moisture by curling up their leaves. From about 9am it’s been too hot to spend much time outside. Like my plants, I shrivel in the heat and I object to having to dowse the kids and I in chemicals in order to go out. So we leave outdoor play to the early mornings and evenings. I am turning crepuscular.
But in those magical twilight hours, it is beautiful. The garden breathes out, sighs and sits in its splendour. Vigorous growth, voluptuous forms, sweet light and I feel joyful working within it all.
Bloody hard work though. The reason my garden does still shine is that I lug vast loads of grey water out to it. Bucket by bucket, the water from the washing machine and even the kid’s bathwater is bailed out and into the parched soil. It’s not the plants I’m watering, it’s the soil. If I can keep the soil moist enough it will keep the Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya alive, thus having a diverse team of 100’s of millions of ‘creatures’ per square metre of garden bed growing my vegetables for me. They will work the beds, breakdown nutrients and carry them to the plants, fertilise and forge new pathways for the roots and water to go.
The plants will be fine. I water deep, not on the leaves and not in the heat of the day. I also like to water by hand so that I give the plants what they need when they need it (ie peas, beans tomatoes and peppers from flowering to development) and direct it away form crops that are setting seed. I have created shade for the vulnerable. And selected varieties that do well here, with the challenges of more heat and less water.