Friday, August 5, 2011

Dry season vegetables

This is supposed to be the best time of the year for growing vegetables, or shall I say for growing  the more "normal" type of vegetables.  Lettuces, tomatoes, snow peas and bok choy.  I interspersed lots of flowers in amongst the veggies thinking that they might attract beneficial insects, but I cant really say that has worked very well.  Some things really got so chewed up there was nothing left of them.  The bok choy especially.
I see Malay Kadazan harvesting lovely leafy greens that she says have been attacked by caterpillars - gosh mine are down to stalks, no leaf left......  leafy lettuces have been ok though and I have kept up with demand by continual planting every couple of weeks.
 Radishes are supposed to be harvested in four weeks, but I am sure it is months since I planted them and now we are slowly seeing a few that are big enough to harvest.  Certainly not enough to trade them for chocolate the way Ali at Mud pie did!  The daikon next to them have not even started to radish out yet.  Could it be because I didn't plant them after the full moon?Successful crops have been the celery, lettuce, onions, parsley and basil. The gemsquash looked as though it was going to produce, but the female flowers never really opened up to be pollinated and so the little immature squash fall off.  I tried hand pollinating, but that didn't work either.... so maybe I wont try these again.  they looked so cute and promising.....
The tropic tomatoes that I planted in lovely rich compost along the fence line seemed as though they were successful. After all they didn't get the dreaded blight, but the first couple had blossom end rot!  Obviously being out of the way like that they must have been watered irregularly.  That has been rectified and the next lot look fine - perfect in fact :)

 The roma tomatoes grown  in the grow bag are not as tasty, and I think that is because the coir has no nutrients, sure I could add chemical fertilizers more often (I added some at the beginning as per advice with the grow bag instruction) but then wouldn't we just be eating chemicals in another form? The wild cherry tomatoes around the place are ok, but not as prolific as in previous years, and the snow peas gave up one flush and then succumbed to heatstroke and caterpillars.

I am saving the seeds of these tropic tomatoes, they are so sweet and juicy.
 the herb spiral is filled with lovely nasturtiums and parsley and other goodies that makes our salads extra special
 the butterfly bath sits awaiting the return of the butterflies, I have placed a painted rock that I bought from the local art school in the center.  Supposedly butterflies like to sit next to the water on a rock sunning themselves.  I am excited to be starting a silk painting course there this weekend - I will post my progress on my craft blog.
 I have never even tasted kohlrabi, but planted some this year, and not quite sure when they are ready to harvest.   I think I will try them roasted in the oven with a little olive oil -that is my favorite way to cook vegetables.
 Maybe I have waited too long to pick this one?  I think there are a couple that are ready for harvesting.
 The passion fruit continually drop their yummy fruit and I just have to go and pick them up - about 10 a day! I have a couple with my yoghurt in the mornings and we give bags and bags away to neighbors and friends.

So as the weather starts to warm up, I have been thinking ahead and planning my wet season garden.  I want to try some new things - Yakon and Rosellas, and will also grow the standbys of loofah and asparagus, snake beans,  sweet potato, tumeric and ginger. Gosh I even wonder if I have room for a choko vine! All those plants do so well in the hot humid weather, and the bugs don't seem so prolific, even though  you would think they would be.   I am looking forward to planting and wondering if maybe gardening in the wet season is not so bad after all.


  1. so nice to read about your tropical garden. I ducked over and read one of your stories too today.... I am not sure whether to go was so good I am never going to get the housework done.

  2. Wow, wow, wow. It all looks great.

    I LOVE kohlrabi. I started eating it in Germany where it's hugely popular. I like it in stirfries or even raw. I'm growing my first batch now and they are not ready to harvest. You harvest them when the ball is like a medium-sized onion (or so I believe).

    I'm using your eggshell trick and the pests have been almost non-existent. I have seen cabbage moths in the back yard, but for whatever reason, they aren't on my kohlrabi or Brussels sprouts (touch wood) or celery or lettuce or... Did you give up on the egg shells or have they proved ineffective?

    I have even less success at radishes than you do and I'm stumped as to why. I've tried so many varieties it isn't funny. I do know that one bed is a failure because the young shoots are eaten before the root can form (possums or bandicoot - either could be to blame). But I'm not giving up. I just keep planting rows of seeds every few weeks in hopes that it is a temperatue thing. They really don't like hot weather but maybe not dead of winter either!

  3. Those tomatoes look great. Ours are very sick from going without water while we were away recently.

  4. A great selection of veggies you have there, makes my garden look poor. Hopefully I can get mine up and growing to it's full potential this year...

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  6. Kim,
    Oh thank you for your comment, that makes me think I should really continue on.....
    I tried one raw but it has a very strong turnip y taste - think I might like it better oven roasted, so will try that next. I do see those little white moths fly up when I water, but they don't seem to be eating anything... really wierd. The eggshells are still there. My radishes seem to grow long stalks instead of bulbing.
    I know I was so excited and saved some of the seeds, then couldn't remember if they were a hybrid....
    well your winters are very cold....

  7. Ah, your passion fruit harvesting time is here.Lovely! So is mine. Am going to try out Missy's jam recipe. Do you happen to have kumquat jam recipe?

  8. Your vege garden is doing good even after all the bugs do their thing. I have lots of passion fruit ripening now too. I prefer mine on vanilla my butter fat! I also blend a dozen or so up with a cup of water, strain off the seeds then freeze it in a zip lock bag until I want a jug of juice. Then Ijust thaw out the contents of the bag and put in a jug. Top up the water to fill the jug and add a big spoon or two of sugar for a really nice refreshing drink. Aloha

  9. You seem to be harvesting the fruits of your labor now, congratulations. The plants are vigorous, what about the butterflies?

  10. Your garden looks marvellous to me! Those tomatoes and your basil! Wow! I see your passionfruit looks different from our granadillas. I thought they were the same thing, just named differently. Love your butterfly bath and painted rock :) Can't wait to hear all about your craft classes and to see the first results of your handiwork :)

  11. Rosie,
    we just enjoy them fresh, and give away an awful lot. No I have never made kumquat jam.
    It does make a lovely drink - I mostly leave the seeds in - lazy I suppose :)
    I think the cold weather must have chased the butterflies away!
    Thanks Desiree,
    These passion fruit taste the same and you don't have to wait until they are all wrinkled up :)- even sweeter I think than the ones in SA, and have a lot of pulp in them.

  12. Everything looks ripe for the picking and your tomatoes look especially good.

  13. Wow! Growing your own veggies, the perfect way to good health! Your collection is amazing. And harvesting more than enough Passion fruits to enable sharing with others... how exciting! That's the reward and fun of gardening, huh! :-)


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