Every move you make here in Sydney at the moment, you sweat. It's sticky. On these uncomfortably humid, end-of-summer days, the weather forecasters endlessly repeat their "chance of a shower" chant each morning, and that means it's very warm and humid, mostly sunny all day, then in the late afternoon there's rain or, if we're lucky, a storm as well.
While it's not my favourite time I year (the humidity knocks me around more and more as I get older), I do enjoy this season because it's time for the changeover from the spring/summer crops, to the autumn/winter plantings in the vegie patch. Rip out the old crops, plant new ones. That's what I call fun.
So the garden looks like a mulch farm at the moment, with not much to show for all the effort, but I do like digging soil. That's one of the best bits about gardening. Digging over soil. I also enjoy adding a bit of dolomite lime to sweeten the soil's pH, then working in some cow manure and compost to give the worms and all the other soil-borne critters a treat. At the end of it all, smooth over and level the rich dark soil, stand back and admire your work...
The digging takes some time, the planting seems to be over in minutes. I've been a bit lazy this time round. Instead of conscientiously raising everything from seed I went down to the garden centre and bought some punnets of seedlings. I've sown seeds, too, but only here and there. Here's how things are going, in the Changeover Season of autumn 2014.
|At least the lemon tree is flowering its head|
off. It smells lovely in the still morning air,
and hopefully the recent rains and the big
dose of chicken poo I gave it will restore it to
health and happiness.
As for the things I can't show you, I have sown more seeds of collard greens, as these big cabbage-family leafy greens were such a success over spring and early summer. They're meant to be even better in the cooler months, so here's hoping that's true. And I have also sown a few rows of seeds of the love-in-a-mist (Nigella) seeds I collected in midsummer, following the end of its spring flowering.
The first of the collard green seeds are already up, after only five days in the soil. The Nigella seeds are on a more leisurely schedule. They'll appear in a couple of weeks, and the flowers won't do their thing for at least another six or seven months. I can wait. It's one of the very nice things about growing plants from seed. They offer the chance to share in a full life-cycle, especially if you harvest the seeds at the end of it all. I like that idea.