My apologies to those of you who live in the northern hemisphere. Here in Australia summer has just begun (officially) after having sweltered through the driest and second-hottest spring on record. Daily temperatures in excess of 30C, and sometimes 35C, have been the new normal here for several weeks. Hot, dry and windy days have increased the fire risk to ‘severe’ on many days. We live at about 400m above sea level and within 30km of the coast so our conditions are nothing like those facing the drought-stricken farmers further west.
Growing food in our current weather is a challenge but one I am prepared to try. Summer means salads and salads mean lettuce. So, I am growing lettuce. I have some in one of the main garden beds which was grown from seed as well as some in styrofoam boxes that were purchased seedlings.
I water the plants thoroughly twice a day – early in the morning and again late in the afternoon. I cover them during the day and so far this seems to be an effective strategy.
We picked the first leaves today and are looking forward to plenty more salads based on lettuce grown without chemicals within 10 metres of our back door and completely devoid of packaging.