When you are in the garden you lose all track of time. I was out there the other day watering until 8pm. I wasn’t in the garden the whole time but in bursts of several hours and with the lovely long summer daylight hours it is so easy to blur an afternoon into an evening without realising it. It was actually quite pleasant. I had decided to leave the watering until later as it was just too hot in the middle of the day and wouldn’t have been an efficient use of the water.
I’m very conscious of water right now as we only have tank water. We have two 30,000 litre tanks and one is specifically for the garden. The thing is, it is well enough to have big tanks, but it they have no water the size is meaningless. We almost ran out of water right before Christmas so we ordered in two deliveries and then had a decent rain fall so at my best guess we had at least 30,000 litres to get us through the summer and I was feeling good. But then on Christmas Eve the taps stopped working. It turned out someone had fiddled with a remote tap outside somewhere – not even going to find out who to blame – there is no point. And all of our water drained away overnight. In finding out the cause we also discovered there was a slow leak in the pipework from the tanks to the pumps, so this was a bit of a blessing and that has now been fixed.
Unfortunately no one would deliver water late on Christmas Eve, let alone Christmas Day or Boxing Day. But we managed with buckets and bottled water and had a lovely, if not a little different kind of Christmas. The first opportunity we could get we paid a fortune for 10,000 litres. We have had a little bit of rain since and with strict water usage we haven’t run out yet, but each time I water the garden – irrigation set to exactly 9 minutes per bed or individual plants watered with a watering can, I worry – will this be the time the tank drains? We could buy more but I’m loathed to spend more money after the wasted amount that hasn’t been paid for yet but will be soon. The boffins were predicting heavy rain on Monday and I was hanging my hopes on that but another quick check reveals they have changed their minds and Monday is going to be perfect summer conditions.
Now that I have waffled about the weather I’m going to have to jump about a bit and tell you about Sector 5, which I took care of on Thursday as I suspect that would take the least amount of words so I don’t bore you too much. If you haven’t read about Sector 1 and 2 you can check that out >here< and >here<.
Pumpkins: The pumpkins are in two beds facing each other about 5 metres apart, with an arch in the middle of it. The theory being I could guide their rampant growth with landscape staples and encourage them out into the middle and do their wild abandon thing there, out of harms way. It was starting to look like it would work, after I amended the beds to be more nutrient rich than they were and lush growth was trailing out of the beds. Then the wind kept coming and knocked them back each time. But there are some good pumpkins set – even a giant one. The arch was for the luffas to climb up but I don’t think they are going anywhere as they are quite stunted. I should have protected them better in the early days.
Flowers: There is an unexpected bed I have used for overflow flowers that just get dumped there and they seem to be doing best of all the flowers, with little care or attention. I did a spot of weeding and some dead heading and they are fine to go again!
Raspberries: They haven’t come to anything. There were no summer rasberries from the summer plants, but I can only hope the autumn ones decide to do something. The boysenberry bush had a few berries and I thought “I’ll leave them one more day to ripe up a little bit more.” Yeah Nah. Don’t do that. The next day they were gone – birds got ‘em.
Strawberries: I am still valiantly trying to save them from their near death experience in November. I can’t believe I gave over 800 runners away in the spring and I haven’t even had a small bowl full. Some plants are definitely toast, but others look like they might make it. The runners I do get this year will be carefully nurtured to restock the bed.
Other fruit: I have two of 4 blueberries still alive and one of two gooseberries. They will be ok but I don’t expect fruit for a couple more years. The cape gooseberries are very slow to get going and I thought they were supposed to grow like weeds!
So that just leaves sector 3 to tell you about, and leaves sector 4 for me to deal with. I’m not looking forward to that one – it is a mess in the middle of the garden!
Come again soon – you’re almost up to date.
Sarah the Gardener : o)