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Leafies in Mid Spring – the Frizzle Weather is Here

Pretty well every year we get some days like this, and we have had them as early as this before.  It’s in the high 30’s today (that’s up near 100º for US readers). Most years it’s only a few days in the whole season but I am feeling for gardeners in USA who had a whole summer of drought and searing temperatures this year – the warmest year on record.  We have better water storage now than we have ever had, but still I am looking at dam levels and wondering how much we should reserve for firefighting, and how many days like today I can keep water up to my garden.

Our house is well designed and defended – a dam in front and downhill from the house, and another at the top of the drive. No gum trees close to the house.  Firebreaks and tracks. Lantana and weeds brushcut for a good distance around, and the geese are doing an excellent job of mowing.  But the recommendations after the Kinglake fires were that no home is defensible in the kind of catastrophic fire conditions that have always been an outside chance but are now fast becoming an inside one.

I’ve had sprinklers on early this morning, and I have mulch several inches thick over all my beds.  But still, planting leafy greens in these conditions is a big ask.  These lettuce seedlings were raised to advanced seedlings in the shadehouse and planted out into deeply mulched bed with lots of water-holding organic matter in the soil.  I only planted half a dozen of them – I don’t want to try to keep water up to more.

The beans are much better at coping with frizzle weather than lettuces. Even cucumbers are better.  I’ve planted another round of lettuces, rocket, and basil (sweet, lime, and Thai) in a seed box in the shadehouse, and potted on those germinated last month into individual pots to hold for another month in the shade, where I can individually water them.  But with the chances of frizzle weather increasing exponentially as the Arctic melts, I’m watching where every drop of water goes.

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • celia October 21, 2012, 3:49 pm

    It is hot down here as well. I am trying to think of what shade options I can provide the beds…

  • Liz October 21, 2012, 10:29 pm

    We are having a really cool Spring this year, so far anyway… I’m wanting a bit of warmth to get the plants moving. The weather can be cruel can’t it?

  • Julie Maloney October 22, 2012, 8:50 am

    Thanks for your inspiration Linda. I am in a temperate area and planted some basil, fennel and spinach seeds yesterday. Next weekend I’m planting some fruiting vege seeds. I’m also hoping to get some more seeds planted through this week. I love it all and I love your blog. Thanks. xxoo

  • Joy October 22, 2012, 9:09 am

    I am surprised at how quickly our area in northern NSW has dried out, particularly after such a long wet period. I have kale and silverbeet growing quite literally next to cracks in the ground in my veg plot. Its a battle to stop the area drying out, even with loads of compost and cow manure and mulch on top. You have to love that asparagus though. Never watered once but coming up in leaps and bounds. Joy

  • Jeni October 22, 2012, 12:56 pm

    I agree with Joy. We dried out here so fast! We are showering at Nimbin Caravan Park and waiting on the tax cheque to order a tank of water. I’m watering the veggies but oh so careful with each drop!

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