All that lovely fresh produce! Tomatoes, basil, zucchini, capsicums, eggplant, corn, beans, lettuce, rocket…
Did you plant some seeds or seedlings and are now just waiting for your first pickings? (If not, you can still pop some seedlings into soft soil enriched with plenty of compost. ;))
Growing your own food is a wonderful, healthy way of reducing your greenhouse gas emissions as well as other pollutants.
(That’s because nearly a quarter of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the food chain…when you take account of the direct emissions from agriculture and the emissions from the energy and transport involved in producing, processing, distributing and storing food to get it from the farm to your table. The general rule of thumb is that the closer you eat the food to where it is grown, and the sooner you eat it after harvest, the lower the greenhouse gas emissions embodied in your food. In other words, eat local and eat fresh!)
But growing your own food only works if you look after the plants.
And in summer that means 2 things:
- shelter from hot winds
And these are particularly important if you are planning to go away. Where I live, the critical time is the 2 weeks from Christmas…the exact time when most people just want to kick back and do nothing but relaxing, let alone having to water plants frequently.
You can easily rig up some shelter from wind and very hot sun. That will certainly reduce the worst summer stress and damage to your plants.
Lots of mulch (applied after rain or watering) will go a long way to reducing water stress and the amount of water your plants will need.
But they will still need water.
And the 2 easiest and most efficient ways to water are to set up:
- wicking boxes to grow your smaller vegies
- drip irrigation that works off a timer.
You can install drip irrigation yourself or have someone do it for you.
And once you have irrigation in place, there is one very important thing you need to do : make sure it works…
At the start of every summer…
Especially before Christmas…well before Christmas.
Because, in my experience, at least one critical part of the irrigation system decides not to work just as you are about to go on holiday.
This year, all my timers and 2 pumps are not working properly. But at least they decided not to work well in advance of Christmas. (Usually they are working fine until about a day or two before…;))
So now I am off to my friendly irrigation supplier to see if I can get everything working before Christmas…so I can spend my holiday time relaxing instead of worrying about my precious vegetables being burnt to a crisp.
I’d love to hear your questions and stories about growing food over summer. Just leave your comments in the box below…or send me a voice message by clicking on the tab on the right.
Till next time, be gentle to yourself and our world!