Tropical Heritage Garden Diary:
The last mini-floating garden runs aground with a
-definitely needs redesigning!
Young Citrus tree with compost and the monster Durian
weekend, I spent almost the entire weekend watering the garden:
Not because the garden is so big -but because when I water the
garden myself, I'm able to see what is happening in the garden
and make small interventions that often have a positive
the British call this "pottering": An aimless (but creative) shifting from
one spontaneously invented task to another, according to some
intuitive set of priorities that only reveal themselves through
the process itself. As part of the process, I'm able to observe
closely how plants grow in their various environments and this
understanding helps me with planning and planting.
Yesterday, I put around several
young Citrus plants
green, immature, coconut husks -thrown down from the trees by rats
or bats, who like to eat the soft fruit inside. The husks provide
a slow form of compost to the young plants and perhaps help
preserve the moisture in the soil around the young tree's roots.
Today, I also trimmed and thickened up some of the hedges
-especially where Terri has placed a kind of temporary fence made
from fallen coconut branches (Lukai)
to stop local dogs and our chickens destroying the plants to make
entrances and exits.
The recently sowed Banana patches seem to be responding nicely -so
that encouraged me to continue. Today, I sowed heritage Miriah Amaranth and Black Seeded Sesame plus Red Creole Onion and Tokyo Long White Bunching Onion in both the new
patches. The earlier transplanted
heritage Onion seedlings
(in one of the two patches)
seem to be surviving quite well.
Before sowing, I collected a handful of Narra seeds that had blown down from a
neighbour's trees onto the small Banana
patch. Narra are
supposedly rare and protected trees -but they are like weeds here
in the garden. I'm sure one could populate the whole island with
just the seeds found in our garden. The same is true of Mahogany
-it is virtually a pest -and yet I hear of western "Green" tree
schemes raising money to plant them in Asia.
I also planted some seeds saved from our own Okra (of unknown heritage) in
N.1B and N.1C -in
order to help prepare the ground and provide some shade for
seedlings when they are sown later.
With the last of the mini-floating gardens falling apart -it looks
as if the whole concept will need to be rethought.
Seedlings (sowed end of May)
growing in Banana Patch
Narra seeds collected from
Lots of rain today. After the
rain, a mixture of (Known
You) Red Radish,
(Chinese) Carrot and (Seed of Hope) Tomato were broadcast in
areas T.1A, T2A and
Cucumber time! More rain in the
morning. After lunch planted the two remaining Poona Khera Cucumber seeds
in BP.2 (the other Banana patch which is
not on the May
map), (Chinese) Cucumber
in BP.1 (the Banana patch
which is on the May
map) -and birthday (Known
in areas N.1A, N.1B and N.1C.
Seeds from Burmese Okra, house Okra and the market Squash (eaten for lunch) were
saved for drying and planting.
A start was also made with marking out a new
mini-garden under a coconut tree near the house.
The chickens continue to devastate any attempt to grow
climbing vegetables on the fence of the chicken pen.
Seeds and Fences:
Starting a new mini-garden
on the Chicken
Collected Okra and Squash
Fallen Fences, Frames and Nets
-Lots of work to do in the
Worked today on tidying up the
fallen fences, frames and netting in the southern garden -which
has been somewhat neglected due to the drought.
At the end of the day, planted some of the (local market) Squash seeds drying on the
balcony. Also broadcast some Dragon
Mix in the second Banana
Patch. Noticed that the Poona
Khera Cucumber (planted
5 June) and the Zucchini-Gray
Squash (planted 30
may) were starting to sprout. The Durian
continues to flex its muscles -but is not yet free of the ground.
Tonight, it rained quite heavily. We are still waiting for the new seeds.
Rain all day today. The Durian is
now free of the ground -but not yet free of the shell.
Prepared patch V.3E (next to the compost heap -see May for map) and
redeveloped an unmarked patch between V.1C and V.2C.
Burmese Okra was soaked
for about 4 hours and planted in V.3E
3 Patola (from Catigbigan), 4 Ampalya (from both Jose and Naning in
Catigbigan), 2 market Squash (still being air dried), 2 Cucumbers (Known You) and 5 Thai Yard Long Beans were
planted in the new patch (see
Preparing the Ground
A new patch for climbing plants
drainage ditch used to cover organic matter to make mulch (V.3E)
Baby Dragon Fruit -and the Durian Rises!
Terri repaired the climbing frames
in V.1A and V.2A. The Winged Beans seem to be
Assorted Hot and Sweet
Peppers (including the
last two Heritage Red Marconi
Sweet Peppers), Amaranth, Black Sesame and (Chinese) Carrot and White Radish broadcast
Terri's new Framework
No rain today.
Watered parts of the (freshly sown) garden -until the water
pressure became too low.
Terri rebuilt the climbing frames.
Planted 3 different
types of Luffa (Known You Angled Luffa, Chinese
and home grown) around the various climbing frames and
added a variety of different (home
grown) Winged Beans
(of various vintages)
along the chicken fence and where they were already growing but
add (optional) Compost,
And another small hill of
beans.............. Down in the jungle
assorted Sitauw (long beans), Angled Loofah (known You), various Cucumber and (market) Squash in the new bean hill.
Two Patola (of different origin) were
planted by one nearby Ipil-Ipil
tree and two Ampalya (of
different origin) were planted by another, so they can
grow up them.
Assorted Sweet Pepper seeds
were planted behind the Coconut
in the chicken fence garden
Finally, Chinese Chives
(Known You), Rocket (the last remains), Chinese Chay (Kangkong) , Green and White Pechay, Chinese Mustard and assorted
Hot Peppers were
broadcast in the "Instant
Garden" created by Penny. Then some cuttings from the Talinum (given to us by Terri earlier)
were planted to kick-start the garden.
Young Chico seedling -and the Durian struggles to break
(Hot or Sweet?)
Second Chicken Fence.....
Hot and Sweet Peppers in the above locations.
Also improved two planting hills in the undefined area between V.1C, V.2C and V.2E. Planted Cow Peas, Patola and Cucumber (Known You)
Young Mandarin seedlings -and the Durian heads for
Instant seeds or
The Mini-garden is firmly grounded
heritage Squash (Zucchini-Gray, White Bush
Marrow and Seminole Pumpkin) in various (labeled) locations around
the Northern garden (N.1B, N2A, N.2B). So far, only one labeled Zucchini-Gray (planted 30th May) seems to
be sprouting under a banana tree.
Also started planting Peanuts
to improve the soil in V.4C,
V.4D and V.4E
-but rain stopped play.
new climbing frame -and a natural climbing frame
climbing frame was planted with extra Patola (Loofah) and Ampalya (Bitter Gourd) -where it
extended the original frames.
-and the Durian
bean feast: Thai
Long Bean, Asparagus Bean and Cowpea (first
and second generation)were planted in the Northern
garden. Also three different batches of Sitaw (Native Yardlong Bean) -from
Naning and Jose in Catigbigan plus our own home grown
(originally from Penny). Also three batches of homegrown Winged Beans (from February, March and April).
See diagramme above.
While planting the beans, I noticed that the (market) Squash growing on the
compost heap is now starting to flower. This prompted me to
plant around a dozen assorted market Squash in various mini-compost heaps under more
Coconut and Banana trees.
Unfortunately, the remaining heritage Squash growing on the compost heap seems to be
dying. Perhaps in the winter it will be cold enough to plant
imported "summer" Squash here.
Also some Lychee seeds
(from fruit bought in the
supermarket) were planted in pots.
Additionally, a Dragon Fruit
seedling (also from
supermarket fruit) was transplanted from a pot to where
two larger cuttings (from a neighbour) have been planted
Bananas and Squash
One month after dispatch
Some of the
newly arrived heritage seeds might prefer the shade offered by a
mini-garden under a tree.
Planted with local "mums" and
newly arrived edible Chrysanths
So, the mini-gardens by the house were slightly reshaped and
planted with both local "mums"
and newly arrived edible
In order to get some extra soil (to mix with seeds when broadcasting them), the
last row of the Southern garden (V.4A - V4E) were cleaned by removing the fallen
Mahogany leaves (which were thrown onto the Cassava
patch along the Southern hedge). Some soil could
then be taken from the drainage channels around each patch.
our household helper, found some viable Rice seeds while sieving the
rice for lunch. So (as a test
run for the Blue Bonnet Rice) some was planted
in V.3C and V.3E -plus N.1B and N.2D.
late sleepers rising
and Purple Taro along the hedge
The planting instructions said
coffee beans don't store well and they should be planted as soon
as possible, So today, everybody (Terri, Penny, Fatima and myself) all planted Miniature Coffee beans
(after soaking them for 24 hours).
I planted most of mine along the hedge, in the area of the pig
pen, with some under a Banana tree.
The others I planted around an old tree stump, also near a Banana patch. Now we may have
to wait up to four months to see if anything happens.
A lovely bunch of Bananas
the baby pup
...... and the neighbours
Penny and Terri have harvested some Bananas by cutting down the
tree (which otherwise falls over
after fruiting). Fatima is
experimenting with fermenting some of the trunk (in combination with other things)
for chicken feed. The rest of the trunk was used as compost for
the next generation of Bananas.
Some of the Dragon Stir Mix
and the new heritage Mesclun Salad Mix were
planted in two different (labeled)
areas in V.3E (see today's photo, newly sown -and
renovated plot, 9 June) and the other banana mini-garden (not on the map) as a
Finally, some more (local
were planted (mostly along
the Northern hedge) where it has a good chance to
Planted heritage Wild Dagga, Korean Hyssop and Marsh Mallow in various
sunny patches around the house.
and Sauna plant
Although the floating
mini-gardens have not been successful technically (i.e. sinking, capsizing or simply
falling apart) they did appear to be successful regarding
germination of certain "difficult"
seeds. As a result, I'm now experimenting with a new non-floating
variation.This involves two polystyrene pots -one inside the
other. The inner, earth filled, pot has holes in the bottom and a
strip of cloth inside which covers the bottom and hangs out over
the top edge. The outer pot is filled with water. The idea is that
water inside is sucked up by the cloth and allowed to evaporate
-thus reducing the local temperature. Three pots have been
constructed and planted with (non-heritage)
Parsley, Kimchay and Coriander. Perhaps a second
strip of cloth could be added inside the outer pot -to increase
evaporation rates. Water from the Tilapia pond is used to water the pots -as this
presumably contains extra nutrients produced by the fish and other
Some (heritage) Mixed Cacti
were also potted in a specially prepared mix of sand and garden
soil with a few bits of chopped coconut husk.The seeds were mixed
with a small amount of sieved soil and then broadcast. The (plastic bonsai) pot was then
put inside two plastic bags to preserve moisture and placed under
the house to germinate.
Young Avocado seedling -but the Durian still struggles
Leading in the "Bean race" (planted
19 June) seems to be the plants that seem to have the
most trouble dealing with the heat. First out the ground are the Asparagus Beans, followed by
the Thai Purple Yard-long Beans.
Until now, the Asparagus Beans
appear to have been the least productive of all. Perhaps the
change of season,
and/or the change of location (from
Southern garden to Northern garden) has changed the game
Penny's new pig -and his housemates
Another Avocado -and the Durian struggles on
Another Plot with compost and soil
Banana and Coconut trees
Some of the
Banana trees were looking a bit poorly -so we tried improving
in the rain
When the rain stopped, planted Artichoke
and Cardoon in T.5A, N.1A and BP.2
but still useful
as food for the pig
fermented chicken food
...and the siblings
Newly sown -and protected
A drainage channel was dug around
patch V.3D and the soil
thrown up onto the plot to cover the weeds. It was then sown with
a mixture of seeds including Asparagus,
Artichoke, Cardoon, Korean Hyssop, Edible Chrysanthemum, Wild Dagga, Mesclun Salad Mix and Bird seed.
Some Mesclun Salad Mix was also
broadcast in T.2B and
Mung beans were broadcast around the roots of several seedling
trees -as green manure.
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