You turn your back for a few days…..

For a deeply obsessed gardener there is no good time to go on holiday as there is always something to do or something to watch out for.   But I took my hand off the controls at what seems like a safe time.  The onion and garlic are in, the asparagus has been taken care of and the strawberries have been planted out.  The seedlings in the greenhouse can manage a week sitting in trays of water and all is looking well.  It coincided with the school holidays, so it was as good a time as any.  With 50 days until spring, it really is the right thing to do to take a pre-busy season break.

wind battered sunflower

Should I really be complaining about damage to plants that were on borrowed time?

So, we loaded up the car and headed off for our adventure without a care in the world…  until the boffins started freaking everyone out – tie down your trampolines there is a storm coming!   It will be bad, bad, bad with hail, thunder and lightning and winds gusting up to 110km straight of the coast.   This is the worst thing a gardener miles away from home needs to hear.  There was nothing I could do but hope the boffins had it wrong.  They’ve been wrong before.

We arrived home in darkness and so the post storm damage check had to wait.  To be honest I was too afraid to look and put it off as I turned over the extraordinary amount of laundry that occurs when you go on holiday.  I’m sure we don’t use that many clothes during a normal at home week!  Then I tidied the house and pottered about – delaying the inevitable… was there damage?  I’m not sure I could deal with it.   I just want to grow stuff without it getting wrecked all the time.  In my mind I had my pity party all planned…  I was going to wail and cry “why can’t I just for once have a garden on a flat, fertile spot of land with no wind and no drainage problems!”  I even briefly considered purchasing a tiny spot of perfect land and go there everyday like a job as I set about creating a nice ‘normal’ garden.  But it is my lot to grow in challenging conditions, and so I needed to put my brave on and have a look.

It wasn’t too bad after all and the weather station told me the worst it got in the garden was gusts of up to 30km an hour.  So, while not ideal it isn’t as destructive as 110km would have been.  Plants did get whipped about.  Some of the leaves got blown off my lime and the peppers I was thinking of overwintering.  Hopefully, they’ll recover.  My arch got mangled, but it was never a great success anyway.  I think I’ll need a new plan for growing my luffa up.  The artichoke got bashed about with its big voluminous leaves and I was about to moan about that, until I discovered there are actually artichokes growing in there… out of season, but I’ll take them.  Hmmm I love artichoke!    And the garlic has rust.  This is nothing new from last year, so I’ll just treat them as I did last year and hope for the best.  Super frustrating though – especially so early in the growing season.

eaten strawberry plants

This strawberry damage is so upsetting.

The worst spot of damage wasn’t caused by the weather, but to be honest I’m not sure what.  My strawberries weren’t doing well, so I had dug them up and let them recover in the greenhouse, prepared a nice lovely soil for them to go back in to and lovingly planted out 60 healthy plants – with flowers and berries almost ready to burst into berry goodness.  Unfortunately, while I was away, someone or something ate every last green bit.  The centre of the crowns look like they are recoverable – so now I need to find a way to protect them while they recover once again.  I really need to put my thinking cap on.   Grrr.  That is one thing I haven’t had a lot of luck with since moving here but I won’t give up.

Come again soon – some time in the future there will be a fabulous strawberry protection device!

Sarah the Gardener.  : o)

6 Comments on “You turn your back for a few days…..

  1. Is there such a thing as perfect land? Mine is on the flat with nutrienty soil but the winds still blow and the drainage is dreadful. Strangely, though, the lavender is thriving where the allegedly indestructible rosemary just turned up its toes.

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    • Thanks for that – it is a good reminder. Sometimes on the worst days it is hard to garden, but on the nice days it is actually quite lovely here. : o)

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  2. Sarah, I’m glad that the damage was minimal in your garden. I have come to the conclusion that all things are against the growing of vegetables in a garden. The weather does its best to damage the plants. The pests are determined to eat their fill. The wild animals think it’s a buffet grown just for their eating pleasure. It takes constant vigilance to tend a garden and still there will be disappointments. I just count on it. I always say, “It’s a good thing I don’t have to depend on what I grow to live or I’d be very skinny.”

    We have 90 days before the first frost here in Nebraska. It’s still a bit dry but I wouldn’t claim it was drought weather just yet. It is true that there’s really no good time for a diligent gardener to go on vacation.

    Schools here will start opening up on August 11th. Because of the pandemic they will have half of the students go to class on Monday and Tuesday and the other half on Thursday and Friday to keep the classes smaller. The two groups will alternate Wednesdays. When the students are at home, online studies will be assigned.

    Have a great day planning for next year’s garden.

    Nebraska Dave
    Urban Farmer

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    • It would be nice to have a garden that requires just a bit of pottering about, but at the end of the day that would bore me to tears… I do like a bit of a challenge, but sometimes the challenge can feel a little bit big! Stay safe, I hope your community finds a safe solution to the troubles soon. : o)

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