Sunday, 27 May 2007

Autumn in the hills

Garden wise autumn in the Adelaide Hills is vastly different to what is experienced on the plains. The hills has four distinct seasons that follow the sun & its rotation. We have just over a month of autumn remaining to get those autumn jobs done then the winter will be heralded in by a community bonfire at Mylor. Celebrating the winter solstice in a wonderful way.
The hills climate varies greatly & many micro-climates exist. As a gardener you need to know & understand your own patch. In general here at Nirvana from the beginning of June to September it is cold, wet averaging 1100mm but frost are never an issue, sometimes an odd one in July, August which do no harm & are beneficial to some vegetables. Built in design protect from cold southerly weather, you get used to drizzle & fog

In the garden long before the seasons change from summer, preparations for the winter garden are well under way. The seeds of all the cabbage tribe compete for space amongst the summer bounty.
The tunnel house (a most valued space) is cleared of cucumbers, finished tomatoes (there is usually a couple still busily producing) in preparation for continuous harvest. Still producing & very happy is a capsicum preparing to go through its third winter, a couple going into their second & one from this summer’s outdoor gard

en. They all still have good crops of green & a few slowly changing to red. They will now all stay inside & produce well next summer & beyond it seems. There is one remaining tomato, the few basil plants have been joined by leftovers from the summer garden & will produce some more leaves up to the start of winter.
Seedling lettuce, celery, chard, spinach, beetroot, parsley, cabbage, broccoli & cauliflower from the garden now begin to fill the beds .of the tunnel house. While seeds are planted regularly in both gardens to ensure a continual harvest.
It is always an extra challenge to grow in an artificial environment... The main problem I have was getting the watering right, so the soil & plants flourish. In the past I have tried drippers in many combinations both automatic timed & manual, soaker hoses. I think I’ve managed to get the results right with my current system. Although those on mains water may not be able to use such a system. I use one ‘wobbler’ a garden sprinkler that puts out a low volume, over a large area of big, rain like drops. Over summer I put out about 15 mm once a week – this takes around 4 hours. In winter it’s around 1 hour every 8 days. This method allows the soil to develop, mulch to be cool & damp & plants love it.

Out in the garden the garlic is well developed –It’s always (last 24 years) planted on the autumn equinox & harvested on the summer solstice. The watercress has taken off with the onset of cooler weather. Secession plantings of carrots, lettuce & other greens, spinach, parsnips. Swedes, turnips, peas, board beans, kale, chard, and onions find themselves in little groups scattered around the various beds. As winter approaches the growth slows dramatically & the garden is a store for some vegetables, while others will be transplanted into the tunnel to keep up the supply of fresh vegetables.

1 comment:

Kate said...

I would love to see your garden Deb.My place, being at Mt Osmond, is a bit like Old King Cole's men : when they were only half way up they were neither up nor down ! Our climate is definitely different to my mother's at Lockleys, where she grows mangos but it is not quite like your's either.