Live and learn...
Life is all about lessons. From creating and raising children, creating and maintaining a healthy diet and no less for gardening. We make mistakes, we take them as they are and we learn from them... well, most of us do.
I am no expert in the garden and I have had my fair share of failures and miserable attempts at growing food. I like to examine why I have failed a crop and research and contemplate how I can avoid this next time around. I have also grown a LOT of things successfuly so this to me, means I am doing something right. 5 years ago I killed a lucky bamboo, now I can grow food for my family given the requirements are available to me.
This past year has been trialling for my garden. We have received very little rain. In fact we got LESS than half our yearly average rainfall. With such a dry year, winter was harsh, cold and frosty. We lost a LOT of our food to those frosts, sadly.
Follwed by this dry summer we are now experiencing, the small number of food crops I put in are just not as happy as they have been before. We were blessed with a good downpour just after new year which provided us enough water for an extra two weeks and revived the gardens somewhat. Now to keep them happy until the breaking rains.
My past lessons have taught me to mulch well, provide plenty of manure rich soil, feed with seaweed solution regularly and water well. These few lessons have kept alive what little I currently have growing.... all but the last one.
We are not hooked up to scheme water. We rely on a small 30,000 litre water tank. Little piece of advice: DON'T rely on a city salesman to advise you on a water tank big enough to hold the water needed to provide a family of four and animals!
We have had water trucked in four times in just the past year. It costs around the $600 mark to truck water in. The actual water itself costs around $20, the rest is the price of the truck and driver.
Our melons are doing GREAT. Our artichokes are coming back in good numbers. Our zucchini fruited well, until a lack of water in our tank and a few hot days set them back. Though I did find a surprise zucchini plant amongst the rockmelons. Our tomatoes were late, but are now doing well and hoepfully will provide us with autumn food. Some seeds just didn't germinate and water has been the main problem.
Now I look to the next lot of crops and am planning our autumn winter plantings. The vital thing to keep it successful will be.... you guessed it, RAIN!
If it rains, it wil not be frosty, the gardens will have enough moisture to sustain them and we have a good chance at growing plenty. As the price of food rises and the availability of food deminishes, this is an extremely important task.
In my planning I look to last year and the problems we need to learn from. More manure, more mulch, more water... please rain, oh please please rain!
Now I leave you to go and contemplate lifes lessons and learn from them.