Saturday 10 November 2012

Terrace garden

Planting up seedlings

Over the early summer in 2012 the balcony garden slowly took shape as the seedlings sown and brought on in April and May started to flourish in their new environment. The courgettes and the squashes started to produce excellent fruits and it was obvious that they enjoyed an early morning and evening watering regime. Early every morning there was the constant buzzing and frantic activity of many wild bees working away.

Growing on

As the summer progressed and the temperatures were daily in the mid thirties the basil and peppers started to really flourish as long as they had a good watering. As I was using the continuing delay in any progress on the permission for the house build to gain a first hand knowledge of what it was like, personally as well as the gardens perspective, to constantly wake up to day long clear blue skies and high temperatures the importance of regular watering and occasional shading became quite clear.

And on and on....
On the way to full production
My only previous experience of being in continual high temperatures was when I was working as the National Statistician in the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific. The difference there was that the high temperatures was accompanied by very high humidity levels whereas it was a more pleasant dry heat in Crete. Hence the importance of a regular watering regime is paramount in order to keep plants fully productive unlike when I had a smallholding in South Wales where there was plenty of rain all summer but a notable lack of sun!

Another observation I made by watching the how plants fared with varying amounts of shade during the heat of the day - by moving the pots around the balcony! -  was that the courgettes, squashes and aubergines seemed to thrive best when in partial shade for parts of the day.

Lower terrace production

This experience over the summer not only bore out the obvious need for an efficient watering system but also how the use of shade/partial shade could reduce the rate of transpiration, particularly from the large leafed courgette, squash family of plants and how given sufficient water the likes of basil can grow in jungle proportions! All these findings are factors that I need to incorporate into the slowly evolving permaculture design I am developing for my whole plot in Southern Crete.

Aubergine to come