I can proudly say that we survived the great heatwave of January 2014, only being a bit frayed at the edges! I hope we don’t see another one of those for a very long time. Chances are though, we will see more of this heat as summer is only half way through.
After yesterdays peak of 45.4°C (113.72°F), it has cooled right down to a comfortable mid 20’s (about 77F). We are having a very lazy day, enjoying the outdoors and surveying the damage.
We lost one hen, as mentioned in the previous post, a few apples that cooked on the tree, Scarlett runner beans, but guess what? That was it! The citrus trees have never looked so good, and loved the heat. There is a flush of new growth on all 8 citrus trees, so it just goes to show that one plant’s misery is another plant’s saviour. Four of these trees even started to flower again.
|New growth on the Mandarin tree|
Our tomatoes, zucchini, capsicum, cucumbers, and chillies survived unscathed. The pumpkin vines are looking a bit worse for wear, but the main plants are intact with the already formed pumpkins still growing. I even picked two rather large cucumbers this morning!
|Cucumber, less two I picked this morning.|
I also relearned that a thick layer of mulch of at least 5 cm (2 inches) stops rapid evaporation during these extreme conditions. I re-mulched all the garden beds on Monday night after the first hot day and found that each morning, before watering, the soil beneath was still moist. All beds only needed a light watering to keep the veggies happy. You cannot have enough mulch. Mulching is good.
|Zucchini growing strong|
Speaking of chickens, thanks so much for all the comments you posted on the last post. I was really having a bad day, and welcomed the overwhelming support. You will be glad to hear, as I am, that all the remaining chooks are in good spirits and doing all their normal chooky antics.
|The mulberry tree that kept them shaded.|
|Edwina II and Poppy Chicken|
|The girls checking to see if I have food.|
Over breakfast, Kim and I discussed our adaptation plans now that these temperatures are becoming more common place due to climate chaos.
I never thought I would have to say it, but my thinking has now moved from prevention to adaptation. The climate express train shows no sign of abating, with very little global action from the big greenhouse gas emitting countries. I will still be energetically promoting Green Quick Tips to the masses, and reminding folk how to cut their emissions at home via this blog, all the while saving lots of cash. However, that is more longer term, and does not solve our heat induced issues.
So what is a bloke to do, but to adapt. We are going to call in some experts to review our home to see if we can insulate the roof better, and see if there is anything else we can do to make it more comfortable all year around. We already practice passive heating and cooling, and cover the north facing (southern hemisphere) windows with awnings to prevent light and heat entering the house. If there is a cool breeze at night, we open up all the windows and doors to release the trapped heat.
We are going to get super serious and spend a bit of money on this. Because you know what the alternative is? Move further south. To Tasmania.
Although I love Tassie to bits, and many folk are a lot greener down there, I have thrown a fair bit of money in this place and I love the community we have built around it. It has taken a lot of work and social investment to get to where we are. Our town needs our help, even though many probably don’t know that yet.
So our decision was kind of made for us. We know where we have to be. We are staying put, and adapting in place, here in Melton West.
I will let you know how this plan progresses as we do more research and results come to hand.