I know winter is upon us because:1. my tomatoes, eggplants and other sensitive plants are lying in
mouldering heaps on the ground
2. several doors in the house have started to stick (this is not a
problem the rest of the year), and
3. virtually everyone in Canberra is wearing black!
Why do we wear black in winter? No doubt because black and charcoal grey seem to be the only ‘colours’ offered by the stores in warm winter coats! Personally I’ll like to see some burnt oranges, deep mustards and warm moss greens – that would lift my spirits.
On the plant front not all is bad. We now have open slather to clean out all those remaining summer vegetables and prepare the garden beds for spring. This might be through adding compost and letting the bed lie fallow or planting a green manure crop, legumes, clever clover or bio-mustard to help renew soil nutrients and assist in dealing with unwanted pests. TB is already removing spent plants with gusto.
Of course the frosty days are also one of natures great ways of killing off garden pests. A far more pleasant way of dealing with them than using chemicals.The polyhouse is up and running, but we are unsure how well it will perform once the temperature goes below minus one and two overnight. Our current temperature readings inside the polyhouse indicate that the internal temperature is sitting some two degrees above the outside temperature. The idea of using the stored heat in the concrete slab the polyhouse sits on to maintain a temperature to over-winter sensitive plants is a good one but we hadn’t fully realised that the polyhouse only gets sun in winter from about lunchtime onwards. There is also obviously a benefit from having overhead cover to keep direct frost off the plants – however this may not be enough. We will have to wait and see.