Saturday, 31 January 2009

heat-proofing

Well the 43+ degree weather is over ... for now.  For the record, there hasn't been three days in a row of 43+ weather since records began in 1855.  So whilst we shouldn't have anything nearly this bad again, I'm not letting my guard down.  All next week, for example, it will be above 30 which is no picnic.

So this morning I got organised!

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/heatproof1.JPGFirst I bought more shade cloth, in a bigger piece this time.  I found before that I was having trouble tying up the cloth - I tried stapling string to it but the staples fell out, I tried tape but it kept falling down and I ended up just draping the damn stuff over my pots.  So this time I got out the sewing kit and stitched the string to the corners of the cloth!  Then I tied separate pieces of string to the door under the house, the lamp, and a nail in the porch so I could adjust the length as needed.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/heatproof2.JPGAnd now voila!  Permanent, secure shade.  It should cover off the whole side of the porch without blowing over.  Not bad for only $9 worth of shade cloth and some string.

Behind it you can see my tomatoes.  I used the old piece of shade cloth just to wrap around them, nothing fancy but it's better than the linen blanket.

But that's not all I got up to.  Whilst I was at the garden centre I noticed these watering spikes, on special for only $6 for 6.  What you do is fill the spike with sand and they have a few small holes in them.  Then you take any kind of bottle, from a small water bottle to a milk jug, fill it with water, and put the spike on the mouth.  Then you put the spike in the ground or in a pot, and theoretically it slowly feeds it water down by the roots instead of from the surface.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/heatproof3.JPGI decided to try it out.  Some of my smaller pots, including my tomatoes, dry out so quickly in this heat that if I water them before work they're already dried out by the time I get home.  Here it is with one of my spray bottles until I can get a used water bottle or something.

http://www.alexareynolds.com/garden09/heatproof4.JPGAnd I decided to try it on my Japanese maple.  The poor thing.  First it got water-logged in the wet spring and I didn't notice until it took some foliage loss.  Then I dug it up to raise the bed.  But then when it dried out I didn't keep on top of watering it, and after the heat it looks like this.  I still haven't given up on it though, because the branches haven't died, only the leaves.  In fact the tips of the branches have little buds of new leaves!  I hope they don't come out for several weeks when this heat is over with.  In any case, I thought it could use some nice, deep, consistent watering so I used a milk jug.  There's a bit of Seasol in it which is why it's brown.  I had to poke a little hole in the top, though ... it was creating a bit of a vacuum and the jug was crumpling over on itself.

So now I feel much better prepared, because we will have more 40+ days this summer.  Just hopefully not three in a row.

2 comments:

Mari said...

What in the world are you going to do for 14 days when you're here? Surely you have a garden nanny coming to check on your lovelies?

Alexa said...

Indeed. Tom's younger brother and his girlfriend our house-sitting. Apparently he'll take care of the cats and the garden is "her problem".

I'm sure it'll survive two weeks without me ...


... somehow ...