Tuesday, September 13, 2011

In the Garden: Working in a dustbowl.

[Veggie seedlings amongst the peastraw mulch]

It's been a few months now since we've had a decent rainstorm. The last big wet came at the end of summer, around February when La Nina was providing her Grand Finale. Since then the months have become increasingly, worryingly dry.

[Teeny-weeny apricot tree & tomatoes in ground]

Over the past few weeks we have been busy in the garden, planting flower and vegetable seedlings, and noticed just how dry and parched the soil is - soil that at the same time last year was still soggy from frequent downpours. Now our yard is almost a dustbowl: There is no subsoil moisture and any water soaks away and disappears within minutes.

[Lettuce in pots and newly mulched agapanthus, lillies and alyssum]

We spent last weekend trying to work against this dry spell, planting lettuce in pots rather than in the ground, and mulching the flowerbeds and veggie patch. In the past we've not needed to mulch until late-spring, around November, right before the really hot weather arrives, but not this year: Winter is only just over (we are still getting the occasional light frost at night) and the ground is just so dry.

[Attempting to grow lawn - and a peacherine tree - in a dustbowl]

We're having to water far more often than usual for this time of year also. We've planted more lawn seed in those patches that simply didn't take last year, and of course the soil needs to be kept damp in order for the seed to germinate, which is almost impossible considering how quickly water is being absorbed, so it will be interesting to see how successful we are!


  1. Didn't you get any rain the other day/night...We got 9mm. It's gone now though and back to watering again already!

    This weather is breaking you in for a long HOT Summer!

    Have you checked the weather? 33C,34C,34C Friday, Saturday and Sunday :)


  2. Hiya - just a left-field kinda thought - how about covering your lawn seeds for a few days with hessian or an oled sheet or something that will retain the moisture - it works a treat for carrots which also need to be kept moist.
    If you try it - let us know how it worked
    Greenie x

  3. Have you thought about wicking beds Sorcha? Details on how to make on my blog if they are of interest:)


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