Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Don't you just love free stuff?

I had been bemoaning the fact that the grocery stores had a very limited choice of dried beans, and then walked into the expensive local health food store and saw their variety!   Wow!  Black beans, azuki beans - I was in heaven, but at 5.00 for  a little bag I didn't think buying those beans would be something I would be doing very often.  Then I started thinking about the climate that black beans grew in - well, if they can grow in Mexico - why not here? After making a batch of my yummy black bean and corn soup  into the garden went a handful of my health food store beans, and they have all come up!
 Now I am not sure if they are growing in the right season, but they sure do look healthy, I am so glad that I saved some seeds back.  How exciting - I might be able to grow my own black beans here!  then I tried with some azuki beans - same thing, yeah!

Then I started doing a bit of research on chia seeds.  Amazingly these little seeds have more omega 3 than salmon.   Well I can't grow salmon in my garden (sure wish I could!)  but..... maybe I can try some chia?  So once again I ventured into the very expensive health food store and picked up an 8.00 bag of chia seeds and a handful have now been broadcast into the area vacated by the radishes. Look at them ... no, I cant see any coming up yet either!  Oh well I suppose you win some and you lose some.:)

 we had some small trees cut down around the place, and they left us the mulch, there was a bit of green mixed in and I thought it would act as an accelerator, but it seems to have formed a mold which I don't think is a good sign.   I wet it down - put the hose right into the middle of the pile so that it got good and wet, and stirred it up a bit.  I want to get some coffee grounds to mix in - I would like some seaweed, but there is no seaweed on the beaches at the moment.
 Since everything already has a layer of hay mulch I have distributed some over the gardens.  I hope that layer of hay is enough to stop the nitrogen draw down that could occur if the mulch was placed directly onto the soil.
 This middle bed has very poor soil and I hope that once the rains come it will perk up.  We might have to invest in some chook poo or something to give it a boost.   I think everyone will complain about the smell.
 My poor pawpaw trees keep getting what I have been told is a fungus, so I went ahead and sprayed with milky water to see if that will do any good.  The pawpaws are just sitting there big and swollen and green, waiting for it to warm up.....  yummy I am looking forward to some nice ripe pawpaw.

I have planted loofah, pigeon pea and jicama from the seeds that I saved,  yakon tubers and rosella seeds were procured from  friends.   The sweet potato that I left in the ground have started to shoot up again, and there is plenty of ginger just waiting to shoot up again as soon as the rains start.

What a wonderful feeling to know that I have completed my wet season planting without buying a single packet of seeds.

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.

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