|Globe artichoke in flower|
Finally, summer has arrived. We have had a sporadic, half-hearted attempt at summer, up until now! The Land of the Long White Cloud has certainly lived up to it's Maori name, Aotearoa, ALL summer long! Up until now, that is. Yep, world-wide, weather patterns have changed. When most Kiwis should have been out in and on the water, yelling, whooping, skiing, surfing and swimming, we've been holed up inside, scrounging for wet weather gear and even the odd woolly jumper to ward off the unseasonable chill!
So all's not been roses and sweet peas in the garden, I mean, everything is late in the edible veggie patch! God, in all his wisdom, forgot to put stop-cocks into plants, so much of our tomatoes and plums split while still green, in the persistent, non-stop rainfall, inviting fungal infestations and fruit flies, way before they were even ready to be picked! But such is the life of the gardener. We run with the ups and downs and do our best to dodge the weather gods' wrath. Mouldy nectarines had their "good bits" chopped out to make nectarine compote (still yum!) and the fruit fly-infested plums were thrown to the birds (double treat for them - fruit and flies!). Luckily, there's still some left though, and to ensure a steady supply, I shall have to bag the remaining fruit on the trees, or else the birds will continue their feasting and leave us with nothing. I simply tear up strips of recycled fabric and peg them around the fruit or tomatoes. Then there's the plight of my beans. Beautiful bean wigwams one week, rusty the next from too much rain! Had to pull them all out to stop the fungal spores spreading to other veggie crops! And the weeds.......Weeds that love all that extra rain, having grown to Empire State Building proportions! Oh, boy! The joys of weather gremlins!
At times, we have wondered how the sky could hold so much rain up there! Huge reservoirs of mammoth proportions! While parts of our country have had not a drop, we have considered building an ark in our backyard! It was consolation to hear that we weren't as bad off as Wales, who had 81 days of continuous rain!
So in the middle of summer, the rain seems to have moved on and the sun has managed to part the clouds in a last ditch attempt to shine on us and finally ripen our fruit! The sun is so very, very welcome!
Having been thwarted by weather and other events and circumstances, my garden has been a little neglected, but since then, I have been working methodically, slowly but surely on trying to control the jungle it's become. Patch by patch, I am gaining control and winning the war on weeds. You don't realise how big your bit of turf is, until you hand weed it, every square centimeter of it!!
I have begun a systematic clean up programme, and am happy to say that finally, I can look out and see a little order arriving in my backyard!
After a gigantic herb garden sort, chop, divide and ruthless weed culling yesterday morning, our compost bin is overflowing with the fall-out, but now we can see the lovely herbs and access them for our meal prep enhancement. All the "off cuts" have been put to good use and I have dried many herbs in my second-hand dehydrator to be stored and used over winter. I try not to waste much in the food production arena, it would seem self defeating! Which reminds me, I have a big bowl of Omega plums waiting to be processed today. I may just freeze them for later processing into jam or compote in winter when fruit is scarce. I have already made 8 bottles of spicey plum chutney.
After our gardening mission yesterday, we headed off for a drive and then a splash into our local waterhole on the Uretara River. Cool and refreshing! What a lovely way to end our summer's day. I LOVE summer! Especially, a long-overdue one!
|Before: Herb Jungle|
|After: Herb Garden|
|Splash into Summer!|