Sunny Australia.


We’re in the middle of a 5 day heat wave, where the temperatures are anywhere from from 40C – 45C/104F – 113F.There are times I thank all the gods that I was extravagant when I started the renovations and put in ducted heating and cooling. This is one of them. The cooling’s evaporative, but it’s still better than a house with none.

One of the jobs I did on the day before the heat wave hot was to move the chicken tractor. It’s been up since the September holidays and it’s in a sunny part of the bed. It needed to be moved to the bed to the far right, where from mid-afternoon it’d be in shade. Problem was that I’d intelligently planted the tomatoes and zucchinis in the middle bed in between, so the 3 younger boys had to lift and LIFT, while the panicked chooks fluttered around the garden bed. First taste of freedom they’ve ever experienced.
They didn’t like it much. I was a bit worried they’d take ages to get them back in but once they realised the door was open they skedaddled back into their home. Only Rosie, the Rhode Island Red is laying at the moment. The move put her off the lay for a couple of days but she’s all good now. Those Australorps had better get a move on!


So far they’ve survived the heat. You can see the piece of leftover weed mat that I’ve got there to let down to given them a bit more shade. When they moved into their new spot there was a comfrey plant there that’s sneaked its leaves through the weed mat edge and the cardboard. Next morning it was gone.

My assistants were alert and ready for anything.


Yesterday I couldn’t stand it any more. Bertie and his beautiful coat were not a good match for this weather. He was breathing like a steam train. I grabbed a small pair of scissors, sat near a cooling vent and got to work. Took an hour but he’s now comfortable. He’s unrecognisable and looks a bit like a velveteen toy that’s been gnawed by moths, but at least he’s happier.

I have to say though, that this heat wave has really proved the worth of the wicking beds and boxes. Have a look at the row of wicking boxes along my front verandah. I haven’t given them water for around 36 hours and they’re all still perky and happy. They get full sun from around 8AM – 1PM. The photo you’re looking at was taken at 7.30AM and you can see how fierce the light already is.


Look at the cos lettuce! I picked some of the outer leaves as part of dinner last night and they were sweet and crunchy. Actually, I asked David20 to make the salad. It’s handy having a son who has a part-time job as a kitchenhand in a pub in the city. He works quickly, efficiently and his presentation is excellent. Meanwhile, I was out watering the fruit trees in the back yard.

I find that celery is a good indicator of whether a bed needs more water. These ones are still upright and happy.


The chives and the mint are good to go, too.
After I finish here I’ll walk around and top them all up with water, but so far I have to say I’m pretty happy with how they’ve performed.
I’ve only had one casualty so far.


The tomato plants are fine but my scarlet runner beans have fried. I saw on Gavin’s blog this morning that he had the same thing happen. This bed at the back of the house faces west and gets the full brunt of the afternoon sun from 1PM till sundown, so if anything was going to be a bit delicate, even in a wicking bed then it’d be caught out. Annoying because I’ve persevered with these beans for 3 years now and this is the first year they’d produced masses of flowers. I was hoping for a bumper crop.


However, the other wicking beds are going great guns. This is the one near the garage, which also cops most of the fierce afternoon sun. Look at all the strawberries!

I didn’t take a shot of the wicking beds in the driveway, but the growth in there is still lush and rampant. I was a bit sad that I only had one trombone zucchini germinate out of the 4 seeds I planted. Putting it in a wicking bed was an inspired move. I’m thinking one plant is going to be MORE than enough for my family of 5.
Today I’m going to experiment with dehydrating apples in the sun, without using a dehydrator. May as well use the sun for something constructive. I also thought I’d drag out my solar oven (remember that?) and roast some pumpkin to use in a salad tonight. I thought it’d be a good way to roast them without heating up the house. Anyway, let’s see how it goes!
I have a week and a half before work starts again. I’ve discovered a handy little ‘reminders’ thing n my ipad. So far the list of jobs to get done before I go back is ENORMOUS, but I’m slowly working at them every day and knocking them off. I’ll be happy if I get to the end of the holidays and there’s nothing left on the list. Trouble is, I keep thinking of new things that need doing and adding them on…

When I went to Hong Kong last year for my free trip from Thermomix I bought a big bottle of gin in duty free. I only drink gin and tonics when it’s hot. I thought this recipe was appropriate:

Thermomix recipe: Gin, Tonic and Lime

By the way, does anyone use the kindle app on their ipad? I can’t access a lot of my books and it’s telling me to delete the books from my ipad and then reload them from the cloud. I can’t work out how to delete them. Help!

8 thoughts on “Sunny Australia.

    • I did mine in Aug/Sept from memory. Don’t make my mistake though – test any soil you buy for its ph level. I lost a year because of the alkaline debacle with the compost I bought to fill them. It’s all looking good now though!

      > Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2014 09:26:51 +0000 > To: >

  1. Pingback: Lessons from the meltdown | Foodnstuff

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