It's been way too long since I've posted. In fairness, I will say that it took me awhile to get into a gardening groove here. Topsoil is almost non-existent, so any gardening that I do is limited to containers (there was once a 4x4 bed out in the yard, so I'm working on building that soil to make it fertile). I brought lots of containers with me, but soil availability is sketchy. Home Depot usually has it at a price I refuse to pay, so I have to wait until the NEX Homestore has it in stock. Which they usually don't. Once the stars aligned, however, I bought a ton of it, along with several bags of steer manure/compost, and I was able to get started. It was probably January once I'd gotten everything together and started seeds... a little later than I'd like but next year I'll learn my lesson. Gardening during the rainy season (June - Dec) is not easy, especially in pots, so I wanted to take advantage of as much of the less-rainy season as I could. Turns out, it's actually pretty dry here and I have to water all the time (being so close to the equator, the sun is HOT).
I'm happy to say that the cherry tomatoes are doing well. I have a couple of plants... one has small fruits perfect for my youngest to pop in her mouth. I got it at Home Depot only because I think it was mismarked, and really cheap for its size! The other cherry tomato I grew from seed that I'd saved from a plant that volunteered in my VA compost pile. It was the only tomato that grew for me that summer, so I was determined to save the seeds. I was happy to see they were still viable and have produced a great plant loaded with fruits and blossoms, so I can continue to save seeds for next season.
Large tomatoes don't tend to grow well here (it's too hot/wet), but I did plant some Juliet seeds that have done really well. I know I won't get enough of them for saucing, but I do hope to make some salsa. Notice the spider. They are everywhere here!
One of my surprises has been the Alma Paprika that I planted... I've had the seeds for awhile, as I tried to grow them in VA but didn't have any luck. The compact plants are loaded with blossoms, so I am excited to harvest them and make my own paprika (and, of course, save some fresh seeds!).
I acquired several fig trees and one of them is growing like gangbusters. Just the other day I looked out and realized that it was growing baby figs. This makes my very happy! I am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing happens and I can harvest them!
My friend Joan in VA had given me a "Korean Mint" plant, and before we sold the house I made sure to collect seeds. Also called "Korean Hyssop", it's a lot like Anise Hyssop but taller. So far, it is doing well, and I love to rub the leaves for their black licorice smell.
After several attempts, it looks like I've finally gotten the hang of Malabar Spinach. When it gets a little bigger, I'll start harvesting the leaves for our smoothies.
Also for smoothies is Dwarf Moringa. This is a tropical plant I learned about on island and it's loaded with protein and vitamins. I have several growing and am interested to see how large they will get in pots. Even though they are dwarves, they would still grow to 30' if I put them in the ground!
This Jurassic-looking plant is a "Naranjilla". When I ordered the seeds from Baker's Creek, I didn't know that they had such monstrous THORNS! Supposedly, they will produce small fruits that look like oranges and I will make some jelly with them.
This 'little' guy was waiting out there for me this afternoon and I was stumped!
The ONLY way for him to get up on the deck was to climb all of these stairs! How did he do it?
I am trying not to get too excited, but in the next couple of weeks it looks like there could be bees on the homestead. You all know how happy that would make me, so keep your fingers crossed!