Saturday, June 20, 2009

Soggy Saturday

Mustn't grumble. There's bound to be another drought sometime down the track. But not today. Not a chance. It's a soggy Saturday in Sydney and all the little gardeners have their noses flattened against the windows, their breaths clouding the panes while they look out at the steady rain. It was meant to be "cloudy with showers" but they've got it wrong this time. It's rain, sometimes heavy, and everything is shiny and cold.

And so here's the soggy scene at Amateur Land one day shy of the shortest day of the year. By many gardeners' standards our midwinter is still a fairly green and lush affair, but look carefully and you can see the big slabs of brown dirt where seeds haven't sprouted and vegies haven't roared ahead to fill the open spaces carefully fertilised just for them a few weeks ago. The only spot of promise is Poppy Land, the green effusion to the left of the clothes line. They'll be in colourful bloom soon to put a smile back into the garden.

Of course sogginess isn't next to ugliness or anything like that. Here's a lovely bunch of Nagami cumquats just begging to be turned into marmalade.

But sogginess is definitely next to muddiness, and my garlic experiment is hanging in there but begging, just begging, for a few sunny days to dry out the soil there. Speaking of garlic experiments, tomorrow is planting day for Stage Three of the Grand Plan – the garlic cloves which have spent a whole eight weeks chilling out in the crisper section of the fridge. Having been tricked into thinking they're in Holland, they're now ready for planting on our 'shortest' day of the year, June 21. (This is purely based on the old saying of "plant on the shortest day of the year, harvest on the longest day of the year"). The other two rows are doing well (one was planted in April, without pre-chilling, the other in May, after four weeks' chilling).

The birdbath is constantly rippled with raindrops. If it gets any heavier there'll be waves.

Fortunately I don't have to venture out into the rain to read the gauge – that's a morning task anyway. But from a distance my estimate is that an inch of rain (25mm) has fallen since 9am this morning. By Sydney rainy day standards that's nothing exceptional at all, but it's funny when your expectations are for 'showers' and your gardening plans are thoroughly disrupted by 'rain', it just feels that much wetter somehow. You can potter around on a showery day, ducking under cover for a few minutes if needed. But rainy days are another matter altogether. Either you're out there and sodden, or inside, warm and dry.

But tomorrow, no matter what the weather, I am planting that last batch of garlic, even if it's blowing a gale, storms are lashing down sideways and I'm sinking deep into the mud. Actually that sounds like fun, come to think of it!


charlotte said...

Such beautiful photos, and yes it is too rainy for anything useful. I have planted a heap of teeny plantable pots with herb seeds, and am desperate for them to get some sun. But your pics make up for the sludge... stay inside and cook instead.

Kenneth Moore said...

Jaime, we have the same weather here in Washington, DC, today. It called for sun/maybe showers, but we had a thunderstorm all morning. Now it is sunny, but it has rained about 50 of the last 65 days here. The garlic may or may not be rotted, but garlic scapes are in abundance!

And... Yes, your garden is lush for such a time of year! I clearly must move to Australia so I can garden outside year-round--this indoors stuff is difficult!

Chookie said...

In my bit of Sydney we have moved beyond soggy to plain mud. The soil is completely saturated and you can hear water running off!

We went to Luddenham yesterday to buy a point-of-lay chook to keep Annie company, picked up some fresh strawberries and visited Warragamba Dam, then bought some old (but dry) hay bales for animal bedding. I can assure you that it is raining in the Catchment!

Onesimus said...

I could use a bit more sogginess.

My 10,000 litre tank was installed last week and it's waiting to be filled.

We had 11 mm of rain over the weekend but it barely registered in the tank.
According to my calculations it should have given me at least 1000 litres (10% of the tank).

Hopefully my guttering is doing its job and is directing the rainfall into the correct down pipes.

Kyle @ Yumoh said...

Here's some ideas for those ngami cumquats... (and a shameless plug of my own blog... he-he-he...)

There's links to other sites with various recipes, including cumquat pickle, cumquat curd, cumquat marmalade, cumquat-fennel-n-blood orange-salad, and Wickid Kumquatini Cocktails.