Rosey the Riveter

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Neglected Plants


I've been off island for almost 2 months... and we're smack dab in the middle of rainy season.  I had no idea what would happen to my plants in my absence.  I knew the tomatoes had run their course before I left, but I didn't have time to pull them up.  I half expected to find a bunch of dead stems.

We got in late at night, so I was pretty thrilled when I woke up yesterday morning and saw that there was still life on the back deck!  The only plant that didn't make it, as far as I can tell, is the mulberry, which was on its way out when I left.

After I yanked the tomatoes and over-grown New Zealand Spinach, things started to look pretty decent.  See for yourself:

On the left is a Strawberry Guava plant and on the right is a Barbados Cherry (acerola).  At one point, the cherry was so over-taken with blackspot that I had to wash each individual leaf.  It bounced back nicely, and if you look close you might even see some of its pretty pink blossoms.  The Strawberry Guava usually takes 18 months to blossom, so I am hoping to see some anytime now.

The two bottom plants are figs, and the one on top is a Surinam Cherry.  I was happy to see that all 3 of my figs were still alive.  The Surinam is looking good, but they are slow to fruit.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will get some before we move in 2 years!

The plant on the left is actually a sweet potato!  The leaves are great to add to smoothies and it's a really easy plant to propagate.  They are slow to grow actual sweet potatoes, though, so I'm really only growing it for the leaves.  On the right is a Thai Basil that is doing splendidly.

The Sweet Basil reseeded itself everywhere!  I had some growing with each tomato plant, but they'd pretty much all bolted when I left.  I didn't expect to see any alive when I returned.  But, like I said, I had them in MANY pots!  I transplanted the babies into their own containers and will probably use them for hostess gifts and such.  The plant in the aqua container is a pineapple, which  I had bought right before I left island.  It's as easy as cutting the top off a pineapple and sticking it in/on soil.

This weird looking plant is what remains of a Malabar Spinach plant.  As you can see, the original lost all of its leaves and is nothing but berries (the black things) which I will harvest for the seed inside.  But look at all the baby Malabars that popped up!  Eventually, I will repot them and share with fellow gardeners.  I also plan to grow them in a more shaded area this time, as that will encourage leafing.

Out in the yard, I was very surprised by my monstrous lemon grass.  Going to have to harvest that and dry it for teas and soaps.

Another surprise was the mango plants that popped up.  I'd harvested a bunch of them and composted the peels and seeds before I left.  It's too bad they grow so big and take so long to fruit... I'm going to have to pull them up.

Having been through a full calendar year in Guam, I have definitely learned some good lessons about growing in the tropics.  I'll be doing a lot differently this time around!

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