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Wife, mum and nan. Living simply is my passion, I enjoy growing food, living healthy and playing with a variety of crafts. I am always up for a bargain and love to op shop for vintage treasures.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

this morning in the veggie patch

Hello dear friends,

I am so sorry to be absent for such a great length of time. Mostly I have been trying to keep things alive here as we in Australia are having the worse time this summer. 

Most of you know about the fires that are raging, destroying everything in their path. I just wanted to let you know that the nearest fire to us is on Kangaroo Island and that is a long way from here. So we are safe. Thank you to all that have asked and were concerned.

We have been experiencing incredible weather so far this summer.  From cold days, cool days to extremely hot days, where everything wants to curl up its toes and die. It has been a battle to keep things cool enough to survive and sadly I have lost some plants, but mostly all of them are still alive and hanging on. And that is all they are doing, just hanging on. No growth or fruiting happening at the moment.

This week we are having a milder week, although tomorrow and Tuesday are supposed to be hot again, but otherwise it should be a lovely week.

Here are some photos of the veggie patch I took earlier today.

Not sure if I have shown you these tomato plants before, but they are planted in the ground as an experiment. They do not seem to perform well in the wicking beds, so trying something different. They were doing well until last Thursday when it was another 44C (112.4F) day. I had checked the garden in the morning like I always do as I had watered the night before. They all looked fine. 

Later in the day when I went out there, a lot of the plants were laying down with the heat, so this meant that I quickly watered them and they did bounce back. As a result, some of the tomatoes on these bushes have blossom rot, and the capsicum are showing signs of it too. So I am a bit cross at myself for not having kept a check on them like I normally do. I got so busy tidying up in our outdoor room that I forgot to check on them sooner! Hopefully I have not ruined them completely.



The capsicums are doing quite well considering, but they only get the morning sun mostly and not the heat of the rest of the day.


Most of the herbs, like this sage seem to love the hot weather.


Sweet potato vines are surviving.


 Oregano.


Beetroot and round zucchini plant.  I have picked two zucchinis so far (forgot to take a photo), but the heat is ruining the plant.


Here we have Salvia planted in a pot for the bees, it is just starting to flower.


Egglants are going really well, with lots of fruit growing on the bushes.



Kale.


Wrinkled butternut and beetroot. Not having much luck with the butternut. Apart from the heat, the lizards are eating the yummy flowers as they appear.


Jerusalem artichokes reaching for the sky, and now flowering.



Amaranth in a pot.


Cucumber and honey dew. I have picked heaps of cucumbers, and one honey dew melon, but they are being slowed by the shade I have had to put over everything.



Beetroot and sage. I am growing beetroot for my mum, as she is unable to grow in it her soil. I will also preserve some more like the ones I made last November.  We are on the last jar now.



I planted Ford hook giant silver beet.  It is doing okay except for going a bit leggy from having too much shade over them, but what can I do? I do not have any option but to cover them in the very hot weather.


I have two empty beds that did contain Zucchini plant and silver beet.  Still undecided whether to plant more now or just leave them. We will be going away for two months over winter, so it might be best left until next spring.


What the heat does...this was in the above barrel.


This big zucchini is struggling to produce fruit, the heat has beaten it I think.


A few tiny black cherry tomatoes growing.


These tomato bushes are just about finished for the season. I hope they shoot out again, maybe that will happen when we get a decent rain.


I have planted more basil to dry as I am nearly out of last years supply.


More silver beet.


Spring onions.


Kale and silver beet


Artichoke.  These were doing so well, but they are starting to feel the strain of too much heat. I picked these two up for a dollar each on the reduce rack.  They had one leaf left on them, but they boomed once I planted them out. A bit sad to see that they are struggling now.


More beetroot.


Paw paw, nectarine and pomegranate trees, all in pots. Also there are lemon verbena, and a bay-leaf tree.


Dragon fruit.


 Lemon thyme. I trimmed this today to dry.



The rhubarb has managed to survive and doing quite well, and the comfrey is still going okay.  In the background is a blueberry tree that has new growth and a taro plant.


In between the shade, are seven year beans. They have reached the roof and branched out to the outside.  These handle the heat well, and will hopefully last seven years.



Last night I planted out garlic chives.  I am hoping to replace garlic with these, as I cant eat garlic anymore because of stomach issues. I already have chives growing, and they are doing great.

  
Chives.


Silver beet, mostly grown for chicken food.


Capsicum.


Our little tree stump we had in a pot has shot into a fig tree.  So happy about this.


My sunflowers grew beautifully and flowered last week. The bees are loving them! As you can see they protect the tin from the hot afternoon sun.


Dragon fruit escaping from the garden.


Seven year beans on the outer side. Loving the sunshine.


The sunflowers are starting to droop now, but there are still a few to come into bloom.


Bee food.


Love this happy looking flower.


The saltbush are progressing, but the heat has taken a toll on them too. Now this is a tough plant, and this is saltbush country, so it shows how hot it has been.


The extra shade we put up over the veggies.



We have lost some of our quandong trees due to the heat and lack of rain. Very disappointing indeed.

A bit hard to see the trees dying in the photos, and these were only young quandong trees.



I had to share these photos of a goanna from Christmas day. He came right up to the house, and my little grand daughter was squealing with delight. Once we went outside he ran up the nearest tree and was not coming down.



This kangaroo was so hot last Thursday, that she came in to our yard, had a drink and then ate some our lawn. I took these photos carefully through the laundry window just so I didn't disturb her.







And to finish with a couple of smoky sunsets. Although no fires are near us, we still had smoke drift over our town. The sun was actually blood red, but the camera wouldn't pick it up.



Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year. I know that many of us didn't because of the fires. So much suffering for our fellow Australians, and the animals. Those poor animals, this makes me the saddest of all.

See you all soon,

xTania


35 comments:

  1. What a wonderful post Tania! Considering the weather it is amazing you have any garden at all and you have it so fabulous! It is a credit to you. The sunflowers look glorious! You are proving that even in the heat and dry we can all produce our own food. xxx

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    1. Dear Annabel,

      I am hoping the weather cools down soon so my garden can start to produce again. I am thankful for what I have been able to achieve, but the water expense is going to be high when the bill comes in. Thankful that we have water coming out of the tap when there are so many in the world without this luxury. There is a price to pay for growing your own in the desert. I hope our God blesses us with a decent fall of rain soon.

      xTania

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  2. I loved looking at your photos..it's a all white here with snow on the ground in Michigan. I can't imagine the heat and I'm amazed at how well your garden has survived.
    I also love the patio stones (and the kangaroo) that go up to your clothesline. I'm going to copy that this Spring. It's gets muddy around mine so this will help a lot!
    I'm glad you are away from the fires. Have a great day!

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    1. Thank you Vickie.

      I love my pathway too, its a lovely feature. Pity I cant get the lawn to grow properly, it would look so much better.

      Enjoy your day!

      xTania

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    2. Tania, do you use your grey water? This summer I have because we are on water restrictions . So my washing machine water has been saving some of my lawn and garden.
      Alex's x

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    3. Hi there Alexa, thank you for your question.

      Our grey water goes out into a French drain that helps to water our fruit trees. Wish I could use some to keep the other plants alive. I use rain water in my veggie patch, so that saves quite a bit.

      xTania

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  3. Lovely to see your post pop up on my blog roll Tania. Your garden still looks great despite the heat. You are doing a wonderful job of keeping it all going. It has turned really hot & dry here now too. We had some cooler days & nights & it was wonderful but the heat is back. I am relieved to hear you are a long way from the fires. It is just heartbreaking to read what is happening to your beautiful country. Have a great week Tania. Yes we all pray for rain. xx

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    1. Hi Julie.

      So lovely to hear from you.

      I am safe from bush fires because there are no crops or thick scrub (trees) to burn here. The nearby hills where my family members live are at risk though.

      I just looked at the long range weather forecast and it appears the extreme heat may have passed, so all we need now is rain.

      xTania

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  4. Tania, we had 6mm on Saturday but there were heavier falls elsewhere due to storms. It is still tinder dry here though. Having that shade cloth and the wicking beds seems to be the way to go for keeping your veggies alive but I have let all mine go even the wicking bed for the time being. I go to the farmers market each week and support them as they must be paying a lot for their water and the market isn't that far from us. I do hope there is widespread rain soon to put out the fires and give some relief from the heat down there.

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    1. Hello Nanna Chel.

      Farmers markets are a great source for veggies etc but the only one near to us is in Wirrabara and only on once a month. It is also 1.5 hours drive to get there.

      I am seriously thinking of letting it all go until the drought has passed, but what do I do with what is still growing? They still need water. I will not plant any more for now. Herbs grow easy and are heat tolerant, so might stick with them.

      We are having milder weather at the moment, so the garden should love that. I am leaving the shade off even though it is 38C today to toughen the veggies up a bit. Hopefully they start to take off again.

      xTania

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  5. I think you are doing an incredible job under the circumstances. A couple of years ago I visited the remnants of an old market garden in Winton Qld, where a Chinese Market gardener called Willy Ma made his living, growing and selling his produce. I was in awe at how this man could grow anything in one of the harshest, driest places in the country, but he did! He also lived his whole life in an unlined tin shed!!!! (They breed them tough out there apparently 😩) Your endeavours remind me of that pioneering spirit! I’m in awe, I don’t know how you do it under the conditions. Well done!

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    1. Thank you Cheryl. I need all the encouragement I can get!

      I know people grow in harsh environments, and I think shade is the key. Alice Springs has a beautiful community garden growing, so that gives me hope. My veggie patch sits in direct sun as there are not many trees around here.

      xTania

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  6. Your garden is doing extremely well under the circumstances and it's great to see so much produce is still available for your family.

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    1. Thank you Kathy, your encouragement means a great deal to me xxx

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  7. I can't believe the amount of stuff you have growing in such adverse conditions! I have 4 measly tomato plants and 3 strawberry plants. Lol!
    This summer certainly has been weird so far. At the start of December I was moaning that we hadn't had any real summer weather and then Boom, we had that horrific hot day which resulted in bushfires in the Adelaide Hills and then Kangaroo Island. Poor KI, I don't know how the people will recover? The trees and bush will sprout anew but the farm land will need a lot of rain to get that going again. It was so dry there last Easter, sheep were on dirt in paddocks and I don't think they've had much rain through winter. We hope to go visit when things settle down over there.
    Happy New Year to you and Phil and family xx

    Cheers - Joolz xx

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    1. Hi Joolz.

      Sadly Kangaroo Island will take years to fully recover. Although with rain it will burst with green, this needs to happen very soon so the remaining animals have something to eat. As for the bees, they will have a harder time as the food they eat can take up to seven years to flower. One of the bee keepers said there is still plants alive for them, but not enough for long term. So devastating for this little creature.

      Also on ABC Country Hour the other day, they said that Australia's hay supply will run out in March. This is because we export so much of it nowadays, when disaster strikes there isn't enough to go around. And the price will go through the roof along with everything else. What a big mess!

      Wishing you, Gus and family a fantastic year ahead.

      xTania

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  8. Tania I wondered how you were going with the heat. Your poor beautiful garden. We got home to not a lot growing. We now have lots of cucumber vines growing beautifully and flowering prolifically. There are bees all over the vines but not one fruit has formed. I have one pumpkin that the fruit fly missed. I hope a few more make it. We have gotten rain the past few days and it has been wonderful. Now the weeds have all started poking up their heads.

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    1. Hi Jane.

      So happy for you about the rain. That is exactly what we need. We had a bit recently but it was followed by very hot humid days so it didn't really benefit anything. We need a big downpour to get deep down into the subsoil, then more again. At this stage we are expecting nought!

      Hope your veggies take off for you :)

      xTania

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  9. Hi Tania, Great to read your post. I was wondering how your garden was doing in all the heat. You have done an amazing job keep so much alive and looking good. I am finding that the wind is my challenge at present. Old sheets are working well to shade the potatoes and the pumpkins at the moment. We have huge pepper trees and one is providing shade for part of the veggie area. Seems like any shade is working to help keep stuff going... just. The bees love the peppercorn trees so I have plenty of them. This year I am really just taking note of what works where and what is still growing.... hopefully the observations will help next year when I plant summer stuff. The herbs in pots are doing ok as I have them in the shade. Strangely my ruby/climbing spinach is loving the heat and providing leaves for salads each day. Our new lemon tree is still alive... fingers crossed that it survives.... time will tell. So very sad for all those impacted by the devastating fires and for all the vegetation, animals and insects lost. Having some green pickings and water for that kangaroo is wonderful......the goanna looks very comfortable! Hang in there...just save the plants you can.....that is all you can do. Take good care. Thinking of you. Jo

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    1. Hello there Jo!

      Snap! I have been wondering about you and how you were going too lol.

      Thank you for the update and your encouragement too. So happy to hear your garden is doing okay. Observation is the best option, but who could have predicted the year we have just had. It seems to be ever changing, and I guess we have to adapt as best as we can.

      The extra shades are off today(38C), any plants that don't survive I am going to let go. I just checked on them and had to water a few as they were droopy, but they need to toughen up now. Tough love Lol!!

      xTania

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    2. Hi Tania, How is your water supply holding up? I remember you put in new tank/s but not sure if you have had rain to put water in them. I am just so thankful that I still have a home and garden......putting it all into perspective, there are so many people who have sadly lost it all. (Still hard looking at the effects of no rain on the plants we have but....)
      You are right about adapting....we will see what the next season brings.
      How are the bees doing? Yesterday I heard an interview on ABC radio with a bee expert who detailed the impact of the fires on the K.I. bee population. She spoke about the "buzzing bees" which pollinate differently to the ligurian bees(no idea how to spell that!)Must do some research about that. Stay safe and as cool as you can. Cheers, Jo

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    3. Still have plenty of rain water Jo. But my mains bill is up with all the water I have been giving the fruit trees etc to keep them alive. I just use rain water for the veggies at the moment and have had to refill the allocated tank a couple of times so far. We gravity feed from the two new large ones. We have had a little rain to top them up a bit.

      Bees are doing great, they have settled really well and making lots of honey. Phil rescued another hive so we have more bees now. I think he has another addiction...it is bee everything at the moment lol!

      Today is the last day of heat for about a week, so happy about that. We have a bee workshop to attend this Sunday at Jembella Farm in Angaston. Really looking forward to it. So sad about the bees in KI, they are going to have problems finding enough food for the hives.

      xTania

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    4. Hi Tania. Enjoy the journey to Angaston. The bee workshop sounds great as does the new hobby! Always good to learn new stuff and network with like minded people. So much cooler here today.... I can see the plants smiling...Safe travels. Cheers Jo

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  10. I'm so glad to hear that your area is safe from bush fires.

    Your garden looks amazing though the weather is not cooperating. It shows how hard you work. I hope you will get enough rain very soon.

    Have a wonderful week, Tania!

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    1. Hi Nil,

      The garden looks good, but I am not harvesting anything. I am leaving the extra covers off for a while to toughen the plants up and hopefully they will produce flowers and in turn veggies.

      You have a lovely week also.

      xTania

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  11. Your doing amazing to be growing all that with this weather
    I’ve given up. I’ll grow lots during the winter

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    1. Thanks Angela. I am the opposite, I don't grow much in winter, as most times we are on holidays somewhere.

      xTania

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  12. I am so glad that you are not affected by the fires, although it does look as though you have the smoke haze. That heat sounds unbelievable. We are hot, but not that hot, and of course we have the high humidity. I love your shaded area, and thought that the plants would thrive in that, so sorry to hear that you have lost plants. It must be nice working under the shade. I am amazed to see how many of the same plants you grow that I also have in my garden. I grew the curly kale last year , but might try cavalero nero this year - I love the look of it.

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    1. Yes the shade is lovely to work under while the weather is cool. It can get hot in there though as there is not much air flow. We were told to put 50% shade cloth on the top if we wanted to grow tomatoes, but it is not good enough in extreme heat. That is when I add the extra shade. If we put more than 50% rating it would be no good for growing winter plants. Cant win either way :)

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  13. Hi Tania, I love the animal photos. It's so sad to hear about the fires and devastation that they are causing. I'm glad to hear that you are far from the flames. That must be difficult, having to give up garlic. I rely on my daily dosage.

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    1. Good morning Stephenie.

      I love garlic, but sadly my stomach does mot. This applies for onions too, so its a challenge for cooking meals.

      xTania

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  14. Gee, it's hard to keep plants growing and thriving in the heat and with so little rain, Tania. I completely understand what that does to a gardener trying to grow food. My veg patch has produced very little this Summer besides a few cucumbers and one lonely volunteer pumpkin. (It's a lovely pumpkin though!) I saw on the news that veg/fruit prices are set to soar and that really drives home how frustrated I feel in conditions that make it hard to grow food. I can only imagine how our poor farmers must feel!

    I have been running wash machine rinse water out onto our backyard patch of lawn and prioritising established trees and shrubs for watering as they would be the most difficult and take the longest to replace if they died. AND THIS MORNING IT IS RAINING...I've been listening to the wonderful sound of good rain on the roof and it trickling into our tanks which were pretty well empty. Later on, I'm going for a walk down to the little creek as I know it will be flowing and that will make me smile. I hope you get a reprieve from the heat soon and rain too. MegXx

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    1. Hi Meg,

      I have poured so much water onto the garden this year to keep it alive, and now the water dept have sent me a letter to say I have used excess and need to check for a leak! Dreading my bill to come in, although I do pay some fortnightly to cover the usage. I cant bear to let things die.

      So glad that so many are receiving rain at last. Unfortunately we haven't had anything substantial yet, will need some soon to top up our tanks.

      This week has been cooler and next week much the same, I hope it continues this way because the veggies have really taken off.

      Have a lovely weekend,
      xania

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  15. Lovely to read how your doing with all the fires in Australia. I'm so happy your okay, but it's so hard when extreme weather wreaks havoc on vegetable gardens which are purposed and planned out with so much expectation. I still think your garden looks wonderful and you have a huge variety !!! We have similar problems every summer where I Live in New Zealand with persnickety weather. One day its hot and humid, next its cool, then its cold etc etc. At the moment only hand held hoses are permitted and no sprinklers allowed. This happens every year. With a big garden there is no way I can get around everything, but I think the plants are all quite hardy now and if they're not they don't last long. The vegetable garden is what I tend to focus on most as that's what will feed us. Blessings to you ~ Linda (So sorry for all that Australia's people and precious animals have gone through) :(

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    1. Hello there Linda, so nice of you to pop by.

      Thank you for your lovely comment.

      Since this post was written, the weather has been beautiful and the plants are going leaps and bounds ahead. However hot weather is due again next week, so hopefully the plants are now tough enough to get through. I may have to cover them, but hopefully for not as long this time around. I am watching the weather report with interest.

      I never knew you had water restrictions in New Zealand. We sometimes have them in drought conditions, but not so far. I mostly water with a hose but once a week put the drip lines on for a couple of hours, just so the water gets down deeper to benefit the plants.

      xTania

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