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  • Writer's pictureToni Kenyon

Managing my mid-summer vegetable and fruit garden

As I sit here writing this, I can feel the little beads of sweat dripping down various parts of my body. might think, but this is the reality of living in Auckland in mid-February. It’s one of the muggiest times of the year. But do not feel sorry for me, I’m heading down to the beach for a swim as soon as I’ve finished writing this.

Do spare a thought though, for my garden and the wildlife that live in my garden.

It’s pretty hot out there at the moment. In fact, it’s currently 27C (that’s 80.6F for my American friends) which may not seem hot to some of you, but the humidity factor is 63% which kind of adds to the heat burden.

We’ve also had no rain to speak of for over three weeks now, which means that the garden is very dry on it. In fact, portions of the grass that we have has gone into complete hibernation mode. The photo was taken a week ago and the green is slowly disappearing. We’re left with brown (baked) grass and expansive cracks in the earth where the crickets emerge from at night--much to Freyja's delight!

Nice side note: Freyja loves this time of the year. If I’m not rescuing cicadas or lizards from her that she likes to bring inside the house to play with, she’s lying in wait at night for the crickets to (stupidly) enter the house.

All this dry means that I had to prepare a couple of months ago by making sure that all the fruit trees and vegetable gardens had plenty of thick mulch laid over the soil. The mulch (and the comfrey groundcover that grows around the roots of the fruit trees) creates a nice little eco-system that traps moisture and holds it where the plants and trees need it the most.

It also creates a happy little eco-system for the bugs to live in that Freyja likes to hunt and bring inside…

At this time of the year, you’ll find me watering by hand, late in the evening or early in the morning. I love watering by hand because I can carefully manage the amount of water that the garden needs. It’s a wonderful time of the day to contemplate what’s been happening in my life.

In the morning I love watering because the practice becomes part of my morning meditation and in the evening I love it because I can practice gratitude and go over what’s happened during the day, prior to writing my Passion Pulse.

The rewards for careful management of the garden through these drought conditions is fresh fruit and vegetables and a manageable bill for our water. Yes, we have to pay for our water where I live, so it makes sense to manage it carefully at this time of the year.

I also like to put out trays of water for the birds and the many insects and little creatures that visit the garden. It’s a tough time for them. Also, if I put out water, there’s less chance that the birds will attack my fruit and vegetables because they’re thirsty. I also happen to love sharing the garden with the birds. They deal to all manner of insect pests for me--even if they do take a few bits of fruit as well.

But don’t ask me how many grapes they got this was quite a lot! I don’t think my husband’s ever going to forgive them ;-)

The garden (along with coming to the page) is one of my happy places. I’d find it dreadfully upsetting if I couldn’t keep it looking lush through the dry season.

Yours in love & gratitude,

Toni xx

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