Abundance in a time of drought


Tomatoes! I am delighted with the dozens of tomatoes that we are about to harvest.  I planted Beefsteak GMO-free tomatoes and they have come up well.  They have been relatively pest-free and we have been harvesting a few at a time. Our biggest problem is keeping the birds off them.

On Christmas day I was able to use some of our own tomatoes in our salad, along with our own lettuce and some young carrots. I now anticipate dealing with a glut of ripe tomatoes in the near future.  I am planning tomato sauce and some puree for recipes.  Of course we will be enjoying them fresh with every meal too.

Our boxes are full.  We have carrots, beetroot, spring onions, leeks, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, lettuce, celery and of course tomatoes.  We even have a butternut vine creeping out of one of the boxes and bearing fruit.  I’ve planted another crop of cucumber and I’m hoping they won’t wilt or get attacked by aphids. I also have some rhubarb and I’m plucking up courage to make a rhubarb dessert.  I haven’t had rhubarb since my granny used to grow it and make a crumble served with custard.

I remember once hearing a quote at an IT conference that went like this: “Whatever you do today prepares you for something better tomorrow.”  That has been true for many aspects of my life since I first heard it in 2000 and it’s true for my garden today.  About eight years ago hubby installed our first rain harvest tank. A few years later he decided we need another one so that was installed in the front garden. It was a bit of an eyesore until a creeper covered it.

Earlier this year he decided we need an even bigger tank! That has also been installed in the front garden and it has yet to pull on a disguise in the form of a creeper so it looks rather naked and ugly.  Having three tanks has meant that we have been able to keep the vegetables going during this crippling drought that has affected the whole country.  Our main municipal supply dam is very low and households have been asked to limit daily usage to 400 litres.  We have been able to supplement the household water with tank water and we are managing to keep our consumption down by catching shower water and carting buckets around.  Anyone in the rain harvesting tank business is doing great business right now – but of course until it rains there will be no filling of the tanks so we are very aware of every drop.

This is some of my rhubarb.  Most of it died of dehydration because it was in the full sun all day and the temperatures have been very high.  I also have a good crop of lettuces growing in a gutter.

So, yes we are in a crisis as far as water supply goes. The grass is brown and starting to turn to a dust bowl, the days are hot, the wind is relentless but thanks to hubby’s planning ahead we are able to eat our own affordable vegetables for now.  We pray there will be some good rainfall soon and until then our tanks will hold out.

Water is precious. Save every drop.


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