Getting ready for the Summer that I thought had forgotten us

This time of year usually sends us running for our airconditioners, or at least some shade and acid drink! I think my body’s forgotten what the heat feels like – it’s only a sunny 23°C as I write this, having come in for a break from gardening. I’m sweating like the proverbial pig. It is very cool for Wirltuti.

We’ve a warm, dry spell this week, even projected to reach 35°C this weekend but in general, weather patterns surrounding Australia are funneling moisture laden air from the north and piling it up against a cold front from the south, making it rain and rain and rain. In South Oz, it’s been a boon but on the east coast, it has caused disaster.

You can’t garden without adressing climate change or at least if you do, you’re a fool. Thinking along that line, we’ve been rejigging our garden to reduce our water use even more while increasing productivity (in a non-capitalist way, of course!).

A clear verge.
A clear verge.

A big step has been to clean out the verge gqrden. Removing a lot of the huge Lomandra along the fenceline allows more sunlight to reach the Chili, Strawberry Guava, Midyim Berry, Jujube and Berry plant (either raspberry or Youngberry, I’ve forgotten). Keeping the Elder tree under control also helps this little group. Where the Lomandra were are now Dianella – much more useful.

It’s time to take out the Nasturtiums that cover the soil and half way up some trees. We mostly benefit from the Nasturtioms because they are lures for some pest bugs, making it easy to pick them up in bulk and feed them to the chooks.

Removing the Nasturtiums makes the ground look bare but closer inspection reveals it to be thriving with life. Underneath one pile of Nasturtiums, I found that the Strawberry Guava was valiantly flowering like mad! The Chili by the front fence has passed away. It provided beautifully for 5 years now, so it’s time to go to wherever Chili plants go when they die (no, not the compost…I’m being poetic here).

As so much is being removed, I can see the form of the mature garden emerging. After this year, we will have established the best sizes for all of the trees, the extent to let understory grow and, simply, what grows best where.

With the heat sneaking in, I moved the Quail house to where the fodder growing greenhouse was and moved that out into the backyard to be disassembled and its parts repurposed into a larger, permanent greenhouse structure.

Happy Quails
Happy Quails.

The Quail love the move. They’re more protected and are loving being directly on the ground. They’ve discovered that they get fed before the chooks now, so are extra chuffed with their rise in status.

The area where the Quail house was is now (as it was originally designed to be) a Sun trap right in the heart of the garden. With so much cover, sometimes plants have struggled to get vitamin L but now thats resolved.

We have some large pots to move there. It is the perfect spot for growing Ginger and Moringa and the Oca that I bought on the weekend. Tucked in a shady spot under the Almond is a new Valerian plant.

That whole end of the garden has hade a make over too. I moved a lot of stuff and transferred a big steel garden bed to where my junk pile was and took down the old trellis that was there, transferring a garden arch into its place. The arch will be the support for Cucumbers and the bed, remaining empty, is housing our bag planted Tomatoes.

Grape vines have had a huge prune – I know, it’s a bit late but there’s only so much time. They are already providing shade for the raintanks and the shed door. They’ll grow soon and intercept the rapidly spreading Hops and, together they’ll shade the front of the house, supported in that job by the Melons that are streaking skyward along their wires.

Next, I’ve got to check the irrigation system and make sure the droppers and sprinklers are still there and unclogged, soak the wicking beds, mulch, mulch, mulch and remove the Winter covers from the chook run.

A gardener’s work is never done!

That’s a lot of change but only part 1. Part 2 is about the backyrd and the bioponics.

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