The Sun

In the sun...

In the sun..

In Perth the seasons seem to be slipping. The summers are finishing later each year. This year we had our hottest temperatures only days before summer ‘officially’ ended.

As luck would have it we were all away for that week of over 40 degree days. Before we left Paddy and I road tested a Gardenmate two dial automatic tap timer from Bunnings.

As usual we left things to the last minute so we were unable to test it fully. We knew that the reticulation would work, just not whether the timer would switch on.

We had to check the camera remotely for the first few days to assure ourselves that Paddy’s Garden was safe in the hands of the timer.

We returned 2 weeks later to the garden and while everything was a bit dry the timer and garden had held up.

We set the timer for 5 minutes every 12 hours. This seems to be the minimum for keeping the pots damp during those 40 degree days of Perth summer.

Unfortunately regularly watering twice a day seems to be classified as over watering and many of the tomatoes have developed a wilt which we think may related.

What we should have done was applied proper mulch along with some shade cloth. What we did do, we did a bit late..

On one of our previous garden adventures Paddy and I learned the hard way that good mulch is an absolute necessity in Perth. At the time we thought wood chips would work but it turns out their acidic nature can really challenge young seedlings.

Inspecting the mulch

Inspecting the mulch

If you are using wood chips it’s best to leave a gap up to 5 centimeters radius around the base of the plant particularly when dealing with seedlings or sick plants.

Its best not to use fresh wood chips so grab some already weathered chips from the garden as they will have already leached most of their acids.

Our experiences in Paddy’s Garden have show us that mulch seems to work a lot better than wood chips when transplanting vegetable seedlings. The mulch is better at retaining moisture, less toxic than wood chips and just as effective at preventing weeds competing with your plants for resources.

The mulch seemed to help the plants but it was clear that the eight hours of direct sunlight was taking its toll as well. Paddy discovered that for protecting plants from the sun loose weave hessian cloth is considered perfect by many Saturday afternoon gardening programs.

We found 1 metre squares of hessian hemp cloth for $2 at our local RedDot store and Paddy and I used the existing lattice with some drawing pins to hold up the cloth. We reasoned that while Paddy’s Garden now looked like a giant hippie ghetto at least the soil wouldn’t ‘sweat’ us much moisture and the garden would need less watering.

Paddy's Hippie Ghetto

Paddy's Hippie Ghetto

For the individual pots (pictured) we used bamboo satay sticks and twine to hold up the hessian.

The hessian blocks some light but still allows a lot of sun through because of the loose weave. This provides plenty of airflow to let the plant breathe and decreases your chances of molds or fungus. I’d say that the hessian we found filters out about 15% or more of the sunlight.

Hessian sunshade v2.0

Hessian sunshade v2.0

Between the mulch and the hessian many of the plants are now happier, but as usual we were a bit late in recognizing that the plants were getting burnt.

The fatalities for this post included two French Bean plants, two cherry tomato plants and another coriander 😡

Posted in Weather | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

One response to “The Sun”

  1. Nomagugu says:

    Absolutely aimnazg!Good for you for working in the rain too!Can’t wait to see the progress continue & what it looks like in full growth! You’ve got a wonderful perspective to take the photos from.

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