I don’t know if my garden will look as good as Turtlepatrol’s garden but I certainly want my vegetables to grow. I live in the tropics. So far I have had success growing lots of basil in the Wet Season but many of the plants that you take for granted in temperate climates just have to be grown differently. Growing stuff in Heat Zone 14 and Cold zone 11 is a challenge!
Take the humble tomato. The first time I tried I put a tomato in the garden and did all of the usual things. It grew and it even flowered. Then all of the flowers dropped off due to high humidity. Now THAT was a new experience. My only success with tomatoes so far was last year when I resorted to putting a Grosse Lisse in a pot and putting it where it would get shade for at least half a day.
The soil here is pretty crap too. I live about 10 minutes walk from the beach but the soil isn’t necessarily sandy. Everything gets leached out of the soil during the Wet Season. So this year I hit my assortment of gardening books and the Gardening Australia website and decided to do an organic no-dig garden plot. Went out and bought heaps of stuff to add on top of the soil: lucerne, compost, manure and straw. I’ve been watering it down faithfully so hopefully things will work. One side of my little plot is my front fence so hopefully that will provide a bit of shade as well as the palm thingy that is growing there too.
The kids have grabbed a few seedlings of watermelons, tomatoes and opal basil. I’ll add eggplant, courgettes and maybe some okra. I have some pumpkin seeds from this GREAT Jap pumpkin I bought a couple of weeks ago from the organic greengrocer down the road which I am trying to get started. I also want to try growing some heirloom tomato plants from seed. I don’t ever think you can have too many tomatoes. And I’m planning to get an Aerobin to do my composting.
Why all the trouble? Well, I want my kids to learn that vegetables can be grown and don’t need to come from supermarkets. And that homegrown tastes fantastic.
Come September, there will be a new addition to this family so things will be a bit tighter around here in a financial sense because I need to survive 7-8 months before I go back to work.
Gardening is something that is not only carbon neutral but carbon positive. If you plant a garden it actually sucks out carbon from the atmosphere into the soil. You can’t get much cleaner and greener than that. I’m trying very hard to be carbon neutral these days. In reality I’m going back to basics and trying to live in the same way my parents did.
So wish me a little luck! Otherwise I am going to have the healthiest weeds on this side of the Equator!