My ideas for the blog were overflowing until actually sitting down to type today. Poof all gone! Thus my writing will be what I know. My Garden.
My garden is in Zone 10. Having grown up in Zone 5, it can honestly be said that this is a whole new world of gardening. In the gardens first year I remember reading when to plant tomatoes and peppers. We bought bags of topsoil and built a single raised bed. The plants were never thinned and the peppers grew gangbusters. The tomatoes grew lush and green and once they set and the tomatoes started to turn a light red color they all succumbed to blossom end rot and god knows what virus. Overnight my lush garden turned into a bedraggled mess. It was almost enough to make me give up.
In the seasons since there are a few things that have stuck with me and have helped me through the past few years.
1) Raised beds are a priority. With nematodes as an ongoing issue raised beds are a must. You will get one year of good tomatoes on a new bed. Then you must solarize the soil to kill both nematodes and pathogens or fumigate the soil.
2) Varieties that grow up north may not grow well here and in some cases they may not even grow at all. Summer squash, may not do too well. Italian cocuzzi has been a prolific item as has crookneck squash.
3) Rhubarb- not going to happen. We get no chill time and the nights are exceedingly hot. Add that to the humidity and it rots in the ground.
4) Onions. Bunching onions are the onion of choice in this climate. Short day length onions are an option and my success has been limited thus far. Northern onions will not grow here as the day length is not long enough for the length of time necessary for the onions to bulb.
5) Spring planting does not apply. My garden goes in throughout August and September. A second planting can go in during February or March. Hot months the options are limited but one can grow sweet potatoes, collards, some peppers, and some tropical vegetables. Herbs do well year round if they are protected.
6) My garden grows items that can't be grown in the north. It contains persian limes, calomondines, barbadoes cherries, figs, carambola and avocado. There will never be apple, plum or pear trees in my yard.
7) Beans grow like crazy here. Italian flat, Pole beans, Purple Pole Beans, Asian Yard Long Beans...they all grow well in this climate. So much so that my husband groans toward the end of the season when they are on his plate for dinner.
8) Plants in the bug box stores are not bred for this environment nor are they in the store at the proper growing times. Last week they had cabbage in Lowe's. Really??? That goes in the garden in December or January.
Gardening in the tropics forces you to learn a new way of thinking about the food you eat. New varieties are a must. It has made it easier to try one or two new items each season to figure out what exactly will grow in the climate. Doing so also gives me time to figure out how to cook the new items properly an the hubby time to determine if he likes it or not.