You can grow your own food. And we can help!

Dry season in the tropics

Aug 11, 2011

 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. - 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.    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 did pick some and tried them raw in a sald, but the tste was very strong. Next 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 as it has split open?  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.

this is the most succesful my dry season garden has been and I think a lot of the credit can go to continually adding my own home grown compost.


Hi Gillian I always enjoy reading your blogs. Maybe it is because your climate is so different from ours, but they are always interesting. One thing i would suggest with the Kohl Rabi is to put some lime in the planting holes. I think this makes them grow more quickly and be more lush as they take up the goodness more readily. They will also get bigger with a little more space between the plants. I understand that golf ball to tennis ball size is the optimum. We ate Kohl Rabi for the first time this year as well. My wife roasted them after par boiling them. She put them in a roasting tray with some sweet potato and they seemed to absorb some of the sweetness from the sweet potato. I am going to grow them next year as i quite liked the taste. Happy Gardening. Glenn
Hi Glen, I think that is the same reason I enjoy looking at your garden. Isnt it amazing though that we can grow some of the same things. I have been wondering about adding lime since I use compost as my main ammendment and they say it can make the soil acidic. I have one of those little stick in the ground ph meters, but not sure it actually always reads right on 7. Well my kohlrabi was definitely bigger than a golf ball. I liked them roasted as well - my favourite way to cook any vegetables in fact. I found them very easy to grow so yes I will grow them again as well. I do like to plant things close together - it allows less room for the weeds and I do have a tiny garden.
Great blog with beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing your lush tropical garden. My garden is virtually non existant this summer due to the worst drought since the 1950s and 2 months of temreratures over 100f/38c to 112f./44c since early June. So you can understand how beautiful your garden is to me. Stay natural, David
yes I am glad to see that now the photos come up, dont know what changed, but I like it. so sorry about that heat and drought. Is it too cold to grow anything in the winter there? we are so blessed to be able to grow food here year round. Our winter has been quite cold with lows down as far as 17*C !
We can grow some vegetables in the winter here. Leafy greens, carrots, beets, turnips, and a few others. I will plant a few tomatoes just to see if they will grow before frost, which is usually late November here. Our winters are mostly mild with light freezes, rarely getting below 20f/-6c, but who knows what this strange weather year world wide will bring? Stay natural, David

Add comment

Log in or register to post comments



Join our e-list to stay in touch




Praise for KGI:

"A group that can get
things done"

-Mother Nature Network

"One of the web's best sources of gardening info"
-Washington Post 

"The meeting place of the world's gardeners"
-WorldWatch Institute

more here



About us:

KGI is a nonprofit community of over 30,000 people who are growing some of our own food and helping others to do the same.  

Join our mailing list:


Connect with us:

Contact us:

Kitchen Gardeners International
3 Powderhorn Drive,
Scarborough, ME, 04074, USA
(207) 956-0606