Monday, 11 August 2014

Be careful what you wish for!

We have been enjoying a wonderful summer, which has kept me busy outside in the vegetable garden, and watering copiously in the polytunnel.

Little rain has fallen since the potatoes went in and unfortunately the carrots have not appreciated the hot dry days. Onions have thrived with bulbs the size of tennis balls, and all from seed sown in January!

For days now I have watched the forecast in the hope that the showers indicated would help the potatoes, which are beginning to look in desperate need as the soil is dust dry. Nothing has arrived of any note; drizzle which made the foliage damp. I did resort to an earlier watering with the hose but the foliage is so thick that the hose needed to be put underneath it and consequently the watering was patchy. To get decent sized potatoes the plants need a reasonable quantity of water as they start to flower and boy did they get it last night!

The tail end of Hurricane Bertha arrived during the night with squally winds and heavy showers. The potatoes got the soaking they wanted and managed to withstand the wind, but my sunflowers at the end of the brassica patch are prostrate. The rain is unlikely to make much of a difference to the carrots, I should have watered more frequently during June/July, but a prolonged holiday didn't help with that plan.

I recently sowed some spinach, mizuna and rocket outside, and have been watering daily so now I can take a break from that for a few days. Even the polytunnel plants will benefit as water will flow through the ground under the tunnel and get to the deep roots which they are encouraged to develop. (The raised beds are only a few inches above the ground level, and I water well but not frequently, a good soak once a week or so when the plants are beyond seedling stage ensures they seek for water at deeper levels rather than relying on regular light waterings.)

I'll stop wishing for rain now as I have yet to assess the impact that the wind has had on the fruit trees, and if wishing for rain brings hurricanes, even if they are at the end of their strength, then I'll put up with watering by hand.

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