Havin’ a heatwave

I wouldn’t quite describe the weather as tropical, but a heatwave we are definitely having. Keeping a productive garden going when you are on your third day hovering around 40 degrees C (104 degrees F) is no easy task, particularly when we are trying to use our water responsibly.

The back garden in January, another 40 degree day to come.
The back garden in January, another 40 degree day to come.

Thankfully the drip irrigation system that TB installed before Christmas is taking care of the bulk of the veggies. However some beds still need additional watering by hand. The ‘3 sisters’ bed with its thirsty corn gets an extra 10 minutes watering every second day.

But sometimes just water isn’t enough. These tomatoes got a nasty case of sunburn.

The pale patches on these Roma tomatoes are sunburn.
The pale patches on these Roma tomatoes are sunburn.

To help the remaining tomatoes get through the hot weather I’ve put up a shade cloth barrier, which will hopefully provide enough protection for the rest of the fruit.

Not attractive but at least practical. Shadecloth barriers to protect our tomatoes
Not attractive but at least practical. Shadecloth barriers to protect our tomatoes

It’s not just the veggies that need extra care. We are letting the chooks out to forage in the cool morning air, while we enjoy the garden eating breakfast in the shade of our Japanese maple.

Three free-ranging chickens
Three free-ranging chickens

Like us the chickens are not fans of hot weather. They spend the hottest part of the day lying in their specially dug hollows underneath the hen house. To help them feel a bit cooler we are also giving them cooked veggie mash straight from the fridge.

Cooling veggie mash is a welcome treat.
Cooling veggie mash is a welcome treat.

It must be working because the girls are still laying despite the heat.

Our resident brushtail possum has been helping itself to the leaves of our young beetroot plants. I found this converted double birdcage – designed to protect your plants – at the tip shop this week. It’s enough to let the plants regrow their leaves and the possum can still get to eat other leaves in the meantime.

Possum protection for our beetroot.
Possum protection for our beetroot.
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