Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Pigeon peas and cucumbers

There is lots of color out in the veggie patch.  The pigeon pea are flowering - they start off red and then open up to yellow.


Aren't they pretty close up?
These have taken a while to form beans, but in the meantime they have acted as a support for the winged beans, and of course they are nitrogen fixing plants, so are continually harnessing and trapping nitrogen for the other plants to use.  You can see a fuzzy bean just beginning to form.  I have not been so keen on the taste so use them mainly for amending the soil.
The cucumbers are also twirling up into this bush - it seems to be a great year for cucumbers.  The flesh of the cucumbers is green and they are soooo crunchy.  My little two year old grand daughter loves them - it made my heart soar to pick a cucumber and then watch her eat the whole thing - not wanting to share! I planted a few more seeds a couple of weeks ago as the lower part of the vines is already dying off. 
 I am also picking snow peas,  and the cherry tomatoes should start ripening soon - we have some green ones on the bushes.
This year  the tomatoes are slow to ripen, and I have lost a few bushes to wilt, the older gardeners in this area say it is only worth growing the cherry tomatoes - guess I should listen to the old timers. Even in a pot with sterile coir they don't thrive.  I have cabbage tokyo bekana, Kailaan and bok choy and have had a few stir fries of all those leaves mixed up with onion and garlic.  Very tasty!
The zucchini did not do too  well- it often does not in this tropical climate.  It got downy mildew and then every zucchini that formed got slimy, so out both plants came -  and they left a little space :)  I had a few tiny red lettuce seedlings I had started from seed, so in they went - nicely tucked in with some new sugar cane mulch. I am sowing lettuce seeds more often and then picking off the leaves as soon as they are big enough to eat.  Lovely flavor and they don't tend to bolt if picked early and often.
The first crop of carrots was sown in March, so 70 days is just about now, I don't normally think about how long veggies take to mature, but with trialling these seeds I have tried to be a  little more attentive. I picked a few, and yes they are purple, but are still quite tiny. I think most of my veggies seem a little slower than they state on the pkg - has anyone else noticed this?  I am thinking harvest date might be a good date to add to my little marking sticks.
I also built a little teepee so that I could plant more snow peas, they are my favourite vegetable, and I want a continuous crop, since it is a short season.
I have lots of variety this year, and in part this is due to the lovely seeds that I got from MrFothergills - I heard they are getting ready to send me more - great!  I feel this year I am actually beginning to get more of a feel for what to grow and how much.   I have a little extra to share with neighbours, and with continuous sowing and a large variety I am able to add something homegrown to most meals.  I want to make sure to save some heirloom seeds that have adapted to my particular little micro-climate.
 I feel that at last I am developing favorites, and some sort of system.
1. Plant seeds direct where they are to grow.
2. Continuous sowing.
3. Try small amounts of different variety.
4. If there is an empty area, stick some seeds in there!
5. Mulch well with sugar cane mulch.
 Do you feel that the more you garden in your particular area the more comfortable you become with what you are growing?  Do you branch out and try something new each year?

15 comments:

Missy said...

Your vegie garden is doing well. You've got a great variety. Snow peas are my favourite as well. I probably need to do more continuous sowing. I seem to have feast or famine at times. We've had so much rain and so little sunshine lately that some plants are suffering and some are doing very well.

KJ said...

my pigeon peas are also flowering and I think they are lovely. I have some near the garden that the chooks love to sit under and some down by the creek where I am also going to put winged beans. Such useful plants and so easy to grow.

I agree about the cherry tomatoes. Mine are growing wild and healthy and are all self seeded. We get lots to put into salads and I don't actually look after them, my favourite type of plant :)

Kalantikan said...

We have pigeon peas too, very suited to our dry climate, however the pods are infested with insects. Our variety is different from yours, as the flowers dont have that pink color. I already forgot how pigeon pea tastes like.

laurarittenhouse said...

I love point 4 - just stick some seeds wherever you find space. That's what nature does, why not the backyard gardener?

Giga said...

Masz sporo warzyw, a że nie zawsze wszystko rośnie jak by się chciało, to problem. Ja nie mam warzyw w swoim malutkim ogródku i nie przeżywam takich problemów. Pozdrawiam.
You have a lot of vegetables, and that things do not always grow as I had hoped, it is a problem. I do not have vegetables in her little garden, and not experiencing such problems. Yours.

Rohrerbot said...

Sounds like you have a nice garden going:) Bok choy is my absolute favorite:) We were having problems with tomatoes this year as well. They were green and splitting before ripening. Sounds like you'll have a good harvest though:)

Kate said...

The light is so bright in your garden! Its great to read what you are doing and what does and doesn't work in the tropics. I cannot imagine gardening in that heat. I guess that's why I moved to Tasmania! People either love it hot or prefer the cool-cold. One day I'd like to visit your garden though, Jillian.

africanaussie said...

Roz, it has been a crazy winter weather-wise, but I have quite enjoyed the rain this last week. I probably should go out tonight and see what ready for picking now that I come to think of it :)

africanaussie said...

KJ,
I have heard the leaves are edible, but haven't tried them, but mostly grow them for the lovely flowers. I have heard you can plant winged beans year round, so must plant out some more seeds.

africanaussie said...

Kalantikan,
I also get lots of insects - mostly flying ones - but havn't really enjoyed the peas so much so don't mind. Maybe yours are tastier.

africanaussie said...

Laura,
I am thinking of sowing all the leftover bits of seeds in packets for a green manure crop later this year. My seed box is a big mess!

africanaussie said...

giga,
I find vegetables can cause lots of problems and heartache, but then you eat something out of the garden it all seem worth it!

africanaussie said...

Rohrebot,
That problem with the tomatoes sounds like it might have to do with watering. I know mine got blossom end rot once from inconsistent watering.

africanaussie said...

Kate, funny that you commented on the bright light - I had to scroll back and have another look :) Oh I don't think I would like gardening in the cold - you better visit in our so called winter then :)

Jacqueline said...

Lovely to read about your veggie patch and how well you're managing it with many kinds, Gillian! I'm sure you must feel exuberant with their produce! Congrats on your success.

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