Monday, 5 December 2016

Celebrating the Rain: Heatwaves, Hailstorms and Hardy Plants

Heatwaves, hailstorms, supercell storms - summer has just begun here and in the past three days, we have had four hailstorms like we've never seen in our lifetime, and experienced gusting winds shredding leaves and snapping old trees in the valley in half.  The winds were dangerous on Saturday and knocked out our power for about 12 hours and ripped apart parts of our garden. The rain has been so very welcome though! It is a reminder too about the value of resilient perennial food systems.

Collecting hail and celebrating the break of the monthlong heatwave. 



Above is a little clip of the first hailstorm - the droughtbreaker. There have been another three hailstorms since (hail is not common here) some of which lasted half and hour and some up to golf ball size. Further up the valley there were images circulating of ones the size of tennis balls.

The main street of our local town looked like a shredder had been through - all the trees leaves were ripped up and covering the ground. The local school-kids were disappointed because their end of year concert was postponed - no power, smashed windows...

I will harvest what I can and then completely redo my salad garden. It was smashed by the hail and wind, BUT much of the food forest, including the perennials, tropical root vegetables and areas of vegetables growing amongst it are just fine. The hardiness of these plants and the resilience and protection that is created by interplanting is evident during periods like this.

Shredded rainbow chard and zucchini in my salad garden.
Hail-damaged Welsh onion - I will collect the tops for a sauce and leave the roots in the ground. They'll quickly form new shoots and keep going... and going....
Hail damaged comfrey - we'll harvest that tomorrow and add it to the liquid fertiliser bucket (problem is the solution). New leaves will grow quickly with this heat and rain.
The wind and hail cleared out a lot of plants. I'll mulch things back in and begin this area again - working my way around the perennials such as tarragon, Brazilian spinach, garlic chives, thyme ...

This amazing section of garden, nestled amongst the mini food forest has survived the heatwave and the hailstorm way better than any other vegetable garden bed. It is protected!
Society Garlic is a little battered by the hail, but a super robust plant and bouncing back already.
Anoher hardy perennial, Cranberry Hibiscus, hardly looked affected at all. Beside it lemongrass and Surinam Spinach are also fine - so too the pepino melon and sweet potato vine closeby.
All these storms have come after more than a month of intense heat with no rain. It certainly has been a challenging time to grow food! The kids excitedly welcomed the rain and hail. We collected some hail and made a hail slushie to celebrate the water soaking into the garden soil.

Hail slushie - delicious!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry to read of this damage to your garden. As you say, with the rain and this heat (and your hard word) it will bounce back.
    It was a bit scary here in Brisbane, but obviously you got hit harder. Best wishes.

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