Friday, 4 December 2009

Preparing for the Wet

Posted by Bel
From Spiral Garden

We always seem to have a lull in the garden in Spring, which is our dry season (and often hotter than our Summer). But now it has begun to rain, so we're finishing off preparations for planting our warm season crops.

Firstly I prune, weed and cull the last of the winter plants. Some go directly into the beds to be mulched over, a lot go to the chickens and ducks, and a bit goes into my attempt at compost-making.

Next I add manure I've collected, and animal bedding material, as well as some fresh sugar cane mulch on top.

Now everything is ready to sit for awhile and be soaked by the rain. Whenever I have time I poke in plants I've propagated or bought, cuttings, seeds, tubers, sprouting things from the kitchen. I have a basket in the shed where I gather all of these things, so they're handy when I'm pottering in the garden. In Spring and Autumn I order seeds I don't have through saving my own, or the local Seed Savers Network.

And then the real rain comes. And when it's raining every day and night for weeks on end, we reap the rewards of our work - the perennial plants flourish. Asian greens, tropical tubers, and pumpkins abound. Regular European vegetables often can't withstand our wet season, so varieties need to be carefully chosen.

Whilst it's raining we also plant our trees for the year. They get a few weeks of good solid rain and thrive without much care or attention. We try to plant a variety of trees - native food and timber trees, native trees and shrubs for birds and other animals, unusual fruit trees selected for our climate and tradition fruit trees such as oranges, lemons and the like. We also try to plant vines each year - various passionfruit and choko seem to like it here. I've also planted grapes, berries, dragonfruit and other non-tree plants in the wet season.

And next we mow. And mow! But now with more gardens (less lawn) and two cows, we're hoping to mow less and dance in the rain some more...