The plan is that the overhanging branches will protect the little seedlings from heavy rains and bright sunshine as they emerge . Yes, we are sitll getting some quite heavy rains. I have noticed not quite a nip in the early mornings, but certainly not the heavy humidity that we get from October to February. As the seedlings grow, the plan is to cut back some of the branches, letting more light and sunshine in. I still want to keep some branches on the pigeon peas - the theory is that every time you prune them,( since the seeds were innoculated), the roots will add nitrogen to the soil.
I originally planted these pigeon peas as a green manure crop to enrich the soil over the wet season. I dont always have a concrete plan of where I am going in the garden, and often just work with it all as it evolves, and some plants do better than others.
This is a great permaculture website where I first read about pigeon pea and all its uses. http://www.tropicalpermaculture.com/pigeon-pea.html
I was not sure what genus I was going to get when I ordered the seeds from http://greenharvest.com.au/ but they seem to be ones that will take a long time to harvest. I love ordering from green harvest as they have organic and heirloom seeds, and tons of information on their website.
I first noticed the lovely flowers that the pigeon pea would have through Liz's blog (she is in nicuaraga so grows a lot of plants similar to me.) http://gringaenparaiso.blogspot.com/search/label/pigeon%20pea - just reading back to that link I noticed that the plants take 8 months to bear fruit, so I might still get to taste some pigeon peas eventually. I have had a few flowers, but as yet no peas. I love being able to follow blogs from around the world growing the same type of tropical plants as I am growing. It is like having a bookcase of wonderful tried and true gardening books always available at my fingertips. Here are the cucumber plants next to the pigeon pea which they will climb up.
As a loose plan my vegetable section is split into four sections.
I was hoping to rotate my crops every three years, but then I assigned one of those beds to the asparagus and peppers as they are perrenial.
The asparagus is looking very straggly - they supposedly will die down now for the dry winter season, and by the time the next wet season starts I should get a good crop. I hope I have allowed enough room for them, as I read that the roots could spread five foot in diameter and five foot down! I think I will try and put some better stakes for them, but the roots are supposed to be very sensitive. Maybe stakes on either end with some string running down the length either side of the plants? Some banana pepper plants have survived, and I have started some small capsicum seeds in containers, which I will plant out once they are established. They seem quite susceptible to bugs, and I think I will put a little collar around each one when transplanting. At the fence end of that bed is a pineapple plant and the lemongrass.
Then the other section is the herb spiral.
The central bed, where I had my tomatoes last year will now have mostly green leafy crops, with the pigeon peas marching down the middle supporting cucumbers. To the left are the gem squash and beetroot, to the right are radish, bokchoy, rainbow chard, and lettuce. On the four corners of this bed are eggplant. I know they are the same family as tomatoes, but that is where they landed!
You can see how devasted the leaves were by bugs through wet season, but they are now starting to bear fruit which is good. I chopped some lemongrass leaves and spread them around - hoping they will deter some bugs. On the left are my gemsquash - looking good!
Gosh I didnt intend this post to be a total accounting of my vegetable garden, but here you have it! Just like gardening, I often start out with one idea and then go with the flow!