Monday, June 2, 2008

Gardening days

It's that time of year in Geraldton when it's a delight to be outdoors pottering in the garden. We've had some nice regular rain over the last 2 months and the soil is doing its usual nasty trick that it does round now: pretending to look and feel like real soil! It's a dirty trick, because it lures me into thinking I can actually grow plants in this impoverished, sandy, hydrophobic material. The large pile of empty pots is testament to years of futility.

But I've learnt a few things, like only plant trees/ shrubs and bushes during May and June when it's cool and wet enough for them to establish roots before those wicked easterlies and hot summer weather hits. Water well once a week for the first summer and then they're on their own. I use grey water for this.

Expect one hot easterly to wipe out half your new plants. Yep, it's possible to have a perfectly healthy green shrub about half a metre high in the morning, and return in the evening to a brown shrivelled twig. Build wind breaks if you want to avoid this.

But at this time of year it's just glorious. Blue skies, wispy clouds, pleasantly warm enough to spend the whole day outside in a t-shirt (as compared to summer when about 10-15min is the max before needing to stop for an icey glass of water and a spot of shade! I no longer garden in summer, at all.).

I've spent the weekend planting more natives on the front verge, and refurbishing the second chook run. And popping some wetting agent through that nasty sandy soil so it behaves a bit nicer and my plants don't cark it. The vege patch is looking nice, with lots of eggplants coming on, though something's been eating the parsley and broccoli. Might pop some tomatoes in this week. I've planted a Ruby Red Grapefruit tree in the second run, well protected from those pesky scratchy chooks till it establishes itself. I've also got a Fig to put in.

Ah, the joy of getting one's hands dirty!

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