10 May 2007

Vegetable Garden in Autumn

Finally: a little rain!  After weeks without a drop, we finally got 8mm of rain yesterday.  Not nearly enough, and things are looking a bit grim.  We have not had "decent" rain since March -- only a few half-arsed showers in AprilTo my mind, anything less than 15mm does more harm than good, and a rain only really qualifies as "decent" when it hits 25mm or more.

The dam that provides irrigation water is nearly empty, and, unless we getgood rains soon -- at least 30 or 40mm -- I shall have to investigate ways to pump water from the Big Dam at the bottom of the farm.  Renting a pump isvery expensive; local equipment-hire places demand R300 and up for a day's pump-hire.  You can buy the damn thing for around R1200!

On the upside, the year's Garlic (pictured left, though the plants are barely visible) is doing really well, and I managed to get a full bed of Onions transplanted before the rain, so they're all looking good, and starting to stand upright again after their move.  Broad beans and Lentils haven't shown-up yet (no surprise there, though), but Turnips (Golden Globe), Carrots, Beets and Mangels have!  I've never grown giant Beets before, and am mainly doing so now to get experience with them, and to save some seed as a bit of "future-proofing" insurance.  Broccoli (Early Purple) and Cauliflower also got transplanted just before the rain, so they're also quite happy.  All of these are Winter crops around here, as are Peas (still to be planted.)  Lettuce is an ever-ongoing story, here; the only time of year we have trouble with Lettuce is in December and January when temperatures get high enough to inhibit germination of Lettuce seed, though shade-cloth over the flats does help a bit.

I've also put in a few Potatoes.  People around here give me funny looks for planting Winter Potatoes, but they have been reasonably successful (if not terribly prolific) on the few occasions I've done so in the past.  It means that come Springtime, we're eating homegrown new Potatoes at a time of year when the shops are charging more for them than their weight in gold.  If I can free-up a bit more space -- and I think I can -- I can perhaps get another 1/2-dozen plants in.  All good provided the Porcupine doesn't find them!

All we need now is a lot more rain!

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