Around the Garden

It’s been awhile since you had a look at my garden. We are winding down here, summer is the time of rest, too hot and jungly. Being mid-June, my summer crops are already succumbing to all manner of weird diseases and unknown bugs, and I’m slowly replacing them with a cover crop. Beans, peppers and eggplants are the only things I have still to look forward to.

My garden is sorely lacking any collards. I don’t understand how I let that slip. I do have one straggly looking start, which might still grow up to take over the world. I have trouble planning my garden right. I mean, I plan it beautifully, but I have trouble actually implementing the plan. It’s quite a bit more challenging here where there are essentially three growing seasons/year. A continual in and out, the ground is never bare all at once, I dig it up and amend in little chunks as plants finish out.

I’m really excited to have some eggplants growing. I hope they make it. I’ve never grown eggplant before, to my Alaskan self it seems quite exotic. I have two melons growing too, in the little bed at our house, but one of them has some kind of abscess so I don’t hold much hope. I harvested a few winter squash, which are equally exotic and exciting, but the plant got killed off by squash vine borers before they had a chance to fully ripen, so although they’re perfectly fine eating, they’re not sweet and luscious.

Gardening here is so anti-climactic. In Alaska things grow slow, but as long as you grow the right crops and the slugs don’t get them when they’re starts, they do mature and you get to eat them eventually. Here, you might have a big beautiful plant, covered in green tomatoes and next week a bunch of rotting, bug eaten fruit falling off of a withering diseased plant. Geez. You have to be strong. Keep up the morale.

my two community garden beds

Climbing yellow romano beans along that fence in back, and a lot of purple bush beans all over.

don't count your beans until the pod forms, right?

I pulled up some of my cover crop beans already, they grow crazy fast here. Look at those nodules of free nitrogen! Oh boy!

These pretty Striped Romas have since spoogified, the plants died and I pulled them up to plant cover crop. Boo hoo.

The only tomatoes I’ve had any success with here are hybrids, which they locally call “Creole Tomatoes” to make them sound fancy. They’re just Big Boys. This looks like a good harvest right? This is about all I got off of two plants. I got a bigger harvest digging through other people’s spent plants thrown into the compost heap in despair, still covered with half green tomatoes. Why do people go to all the trouble of growing a garden and then not even use the food they grew???? Oh, maybe because they, like me, still can’t stop ‘planting the dream’ instead of the reality…

My chard on the other hand, is finally giving up the ghost after many months of quiet, faithful service. Gotta love that stuff.

As the chard fades out, the peppers step in. Peppers and beans are the backbone of the summer garden here. Both are pretty hardy to the heat and buggies, and both keep pumping food out for quite awhile.

Well, okra is the backbone, and I suppose I should plant some just to be a good guest. But my kids don’t eat it and I’m only marginally fond of it myself, so although I bought the seed, I can’t bring myself to stick it in the ground. Anyone know any unusual, reliable crops for semi-tropical places? I’m open to ideas.

6 thoughts on “Around the Garden

  1. What about some ginger and sweet potatoes? Those are things I would grow if I could. Our climate is closer to Alaska! How about a coffee bush? A passionfruit along the back fence as well.

  2. It’s challenging stuff at times, isn’t it… but I’d be happy with some beans and capsicums (peppers) right about now!! Hope you eggplans comes good, I know ours took ages to get going but by the end of Summer they’d done really well…

  3. take a look at the book perennial vegetables. It has many suggestions for hot weather veggies. We are in South Florida and growing okinawan spinach, chayote squash, lima beans, cranberry hibiscus, sweet potatoes, and more.

    1. great suggestions! i’d love to plant perennials, but we leave for home (alaska) next year. i do have some limas going. i know chayote, it’s not really a squash is it? that might be great. where did you get the seed? and do you mean the tea hibiscus? is that a perennial? i adore iced hibiscus tea. i’d love to try sweet potatoes, but the local nursery doesn’t carry slips, and i haven’t looked into ordering them. is it pretty immune to bugs? is okinawan spinach a brassica? thanks for the good tip. i do need to branch out.

  4. Hey CJ. Your weather sounds a bit like ours – I’ve been growing spinach since about this time last year, and it’s still growing even though we went away for about 5 weeks at summertime AND I hardly touch it. Just keeps going. Just when I think the heats gunna kill it off, we get a nice humid day and it just perks right up. Does me great, I put it in everything, literally.
    I love your community bed, though, what a source of inspiration to others. Ironically, I have enough front land space that I could offer up about four times that turf to others, but am nervous of the ramifications of that! I don’t get out there enough myself (lil ‘un not roadwise yet, and nor does she like sitting on my back much for anything but a big long walk) so I can’t exactly expect others to.
    I received my dvd the other day, and this friday it will be playing to us all while we knit and plan our next big moves on the homefronts.

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