Spring turmoil

It has been so lovely I had to water my onions - how was I to know it was going to rain?

It has been so lovely I had to water my onions – how was I to know it was going to rain?

October is only two and a half days old and it is already a month of extremes.  The first day was gorgeous.  The sky was blue and the sun shone brightly and you could almost feel the summer in the air.  The extended daylight savings hours had me out there pulling out weeds right into the evening hours.  It felt amazing and I found myself thinking – just one more bed before I go inside and start dinner.  I even tackled the brassica bed.

Spuds are up

Spuds are up

I couldn’t kid myself that I was leaving them there for the bees as the abundance of bright yellow flowers had given way to setting seeds.  So with the sun lowering over the hill, I started the arduous task clearing the weeds and revealing the soil.  Most of the brassicas had been there since last spring and weren’t all that pleased to be evicted. The stalks were so thick I decided it was best to use the loppers, and even then I couldn’t make a straight cut right through in one slice.  I had to hack at them!

Tiger and Sky growing bigger and fatter every day.

Tiger and Sky growing bigger and fatter every day.

Removing them has altered the view of the landscape once again.  It is constantly changing.  But they had been there for so long, slowing and silently increasing in size so at the time of their demise they were over a metre in height.  You will have to take my word for this as I was completely lost to the garden that evening and enjoyed being completely immersed in dirt and weeds and the imagining how the new occupants of the bed will fill it, that I completely forgot to take a before photo.

And this is where it stopped!

And this is where it stopped!

I didn’t get the bed finished, and I didn’t even get the remnants of pulled weeds and massacred brassicas to the compost as the family’s hunger was becoming increasing obvious and I had to abandon my work to feed them.  And it is all still there where they lay as the weather has changed.  It now feels less like summer is possible and more like we are being dragged back into the depths of winter.  We are at the mercy of a seasonal tug of war.  I am so pleased my peas are growing safely in the greenhouse as this seasonal turn would have possibly been the last chance for peas for Christmas for any attempting to grow outdoors.

An army of peas rise up

An army of peas rise up

Before the weather took a turn for the worse, the soil had finally dried out enough to sow my carrots.  It has been such a sodden roller coaster so a spring.  Just when you thought it would be dry enough, then the rain would come again and saturate the soil.  Now I am pretty particular when it comes to my carrot patch.  I obsessively work through the soil removing any sticks, stones, lumps and bumps that could cause my carrots to take a turn or split into a forky odd shaped carrot.   This is next to impossible to do with damp soil.  So I took a chance and dug out three deep rows – as deep as I want my carrots to be long.  Each row will be planted at intervals so I can have a continuous supply.  Then I sieved the soil back into the row so it was light and fluffy and perfect for carrots and sowed the first row.  I take my carrot growing very seriously.

I take my carrots very seriously indeed

I take my carrots very seriously indeed

And now all I can do is stare out the window at my garden through the rain and wait for a repeat of that glorious day, with a bit of luck, it will come back with friends and we will soon be able to forget – for a few months, what it is like to be cold.

Come again soon – while it is raining outside, my greenhouse seedlings still need watering – now where is my brolly?

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

 

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10 Comments on “Spring turmoil

  1. I’m very envious of those peas and what a great tip regarding the carrots! One question though… How do you know when your carrots are ready to be harvested? I always find its so hit and miss what size they are when I pull them.

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    • HI Marisa. For carrots, and most things I usually mark the date on the calender. If the seed packet says 20 weeks then I count it out and mark it down. But the thinnings are often big enough to eat as baby carrots so from then on they are ok to eat. Sometimes when they are big enough they start to push themselves out of the soil. The problem is leaving them too long as they can go woody. I hope this helps. Cheers Sarah : o )

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    • Hi Cheryl. I am still holding out for the winning season. We are still very much in the midst of very competitive battle! This is proving to be a very harsh spring.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  2. We always complain about our lot don’t we? We have had gorgeous sunny conditions but when the temperature hit 19C the other day, I realised that my internal temperature valve has been reset to Tassie time now. I used to be AOK with 30+ temps but 19C had me wilting! I love rainy days. They are a good excuse to get inside and plan other things ready for the sunny day attacks. We finished our fence and now I can start planting out my carob trees, my bay tree, my loquats and my hazelnut trees where the wallabies can’t get them. Obviously they weren’t tasty to possums as they remained uneaten inside Sanctuary when the possums had free rein (they can’t get in now 🙂 ). I love spring. It will stop raining soon and you will be back out there wallowing in mud and brassica remains to your hearts content 🙂

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    • Hi Fran, wow carob trees – how cool is that. I never thought about growing those. I don’t even know if you can grow them here – but you’re not a million miles away from us so …. this comment was interrupted by a quick google search and yes you can grow them here and I found some seeds too! You do need a boy and a girl tree though. Hmmmm, sounds like a new project is brewing. There is no way we can grow chocolate here, but the next best thing – gotta give it a whirl…. Thanks Fran. Cheers Sarah : o )

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      • Yeah, I bought some seed from the mainland (ebay) and we managed to grow 3 carob trees that I am going to plant out with my fingers crossed that at least one of them is a girl and the others are boys. I know of one other carob tree in the district so if mine are all one kind I STILL have a chance of fertilisation occuring. Call me the optimistic gardener 😉 I love experimenting and grew my own hazelnut, walnut and chestnut trees from seed sourced locally. Easy peasy stuff and you never know if you can do it/get it till you try. I love that you experiment with things as well. I am going to grow peanuts this year so wish me luck and I have planted seeds! I have all kinds of weird and wonderful seeds in seed trays that hopefully will grow and be planted out into the fecund mass that is now Sanctuary. I found a stack of organic soil ammeliorants that I purchased from Steve Solomon (International gardening guru) who lives not too far away from us and who gave a free talk at a past permaculture event that I attended. I have NO idea what they are good for but I now have bat guano, local Mole Creek lime, some sort of organic potassium in brown form, Canola seed meal (organic and locally sourced) for nitrogen and lots of other things including a half bag of semi soggy kelp that I completely forgot I bought and that Earl was delighted that I found in the shed as he got to roll in it when I emptied it out in the garden beds. I dug in 8 bags of completely decomposed worm filled mushroom compost, a heap of home grown compost that contained all sorts of strange things and a heap of ex grass that had rotted down into little decomposed straws…gardening is like a huge science experiment with the potential to go BANG. Love it and love that you share the love. Let me know if you grow some carob trees. Ours germinated very easily and they will grow in the desert so no problemo with dry conditions

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        • Hi Fran. I have 10 carob seeds on their way, I found them on TradeMe. (our homegrown version of ebay) You know I never thought to grow nut trees from nuts – now you really have me thinking…. I have some peanuts already on the go and recently read about someone growing sesame seeds… I’m really surprised because I normally like to think outside the box and give things a whirl… maybe I am getting set in my ways. I think I will have to nip that thinking in the bud…. bring on the fake chocolate trees! Our Easters will never be the same again! Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. Hey Sarah .. Great post as always. I know exactly what you mean about the weather! Grrhhh .. Gosh aren’t you good with those carrots? Maybe that’s my problem – not enough TLC. Laughed when I read about the brassicas .. Mine are still in the garden. Go girl! Love those peas 🙂

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    • Hi Julie. I think I may be a little obsessive with my carrots! I still haven’t finished sorting out the brassica bed – the weather is just to nasty. So everything is still there. Last year was a much nicer spring.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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