Monday, 19 November 2012

Veggie delights (or lack of)

Like many in the tropics my veggie patch is looking quite sorrowful at the moment. It is coming toward the end of the dry season and the hot, humid climate is intolerable to many plants. To be honest the garden, lawn and paddock are looking brown and is desperate for actual rainfall. A storm had been prodicted over the weekend but until last night we were still waiting. We did have a light show and a shower last night, but this morning the rain guage read 1.5mm. Barely enough to dampen the paddock. Which suprisingly is looking greener than anything- though this may not last now our cows are restricted to just our plot (the neighbour has separated his to worm and feed up).
But the veg patch beside being brown, is looking tired and bare. The last batch of lettuces bolted, and has taken weeks to seed. The basil has finally seeded, so these will all be pulled and dried this weekend, leaving a few ‘pre-eaten’ cabbages along with a waning brussel sprout plant in the basilica garden. I have a few bean seedlings sprouting and the odd ripening strawberry, along with the last of the beetroot and fennel bulbs  in between the bamboo supports of the bean garden. Whilst the third raised patch is bare. The pallet gardens have barely been started- since none od the seeds sown came to anything. The most vibirant area is the the ‘vine garden’, which is largely self propagated plants such as pumpkins, tomatoes and eggplants (aubergines).
Seems strange to see the garden looking lack luster through the summer, as I always remember my grandparents gardens (Bamp on my Mam’s side and Nan on my Dad’s) gardens flourishing through this time of year...And we reaped the rewards come autumn. But then we don’t really have 4 seasons here either. So I just have to learn to adapt and grow what will sustain the heat and in a few weeks the wet too.
So, having had little success from planting seeds direct last month. I returned to planting seeds in trays last night; in the hope that these maybe transplanted in a few weeks. Though I think I may need to sow the next months before transplanting these out. So will need to source some more seedling trays and bases to stand them in (for water). I had read something recently about using toilet roll tubes as starter trays. I think I will look into this, as with a full house over Christmas (us and 7 guests) we may go through a few. Am guessing that either the roll would decompose, or could be cut off, so the transplanting process would be less stressful to the seedling- Something that I haven’t had the greatest success with to date. So can only be worth a try.
Well, as I explained the warm and humid, wet conditions of the Queensland summer does limit what plants will survive. But it doesn’t mean my garden has to look as for lone as it does. Pretty much, as my ‘vine garden’ is testament to; anything vine based will thrive. So pumpkins, zucchinis/courgettes, tomatoes, eggplant/aubergines, chillies, capsicums/peppers. I also planted a few summer lettuces (not all varieties will thrive at this time of year but a few can), a few containers of Asian vegetables, as these should with stand the conditions. A few heirloom carrots and radishes, so hopefully they will produce. But also a couple of unknown, they will apparently grow through these summer months, but as I haven’t eaten either Ceylon spinach (a vine variety) or okra, let alone grown them. It maybe interesting to see the results.

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