Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – one year on

Today I counted 20 passion fruit growing on my vines, in various stages of ripeness.  The vines are less than a year old, and have many more flowers on them, so I think it is a pretty good result.

One year, and so little to show for the effort.  The bitter gourd were the biggest success. A huge crop that lasted so long I was sick of them, and I have plenty left in the freezer, which I consume on occasion.  Passion fruit may be the second biggest success – they provide beautiful shade, under which it is cool to sit, and the fruit are delicious, although not yet plentiful.  The wind blows down many flowers, which perhaps weren’t pollinated, but many more remain, and will fruit, I hope.

six passion fruit

Apart from these two successes, I harvest a lot of chillies – these grew up from the compost I created.  The basil is still growing, and I put some on my home-made pizza with the chillies.  Mung beans, which I sprout, grow well, but the birds attack the plants as soon as they sprout in the ground, and if they happen to grow, they eat all the beans.

Almost everything else has been unsuitable for the conditions, or attacked by rats, birds, or bugs, or a combination of these.  The cabbages’ stems often just rot from too much moisture, and they have been growing so slowly, anyway.

This is not so encouraging.  I had hoped to grow vegetables and fruit to make us partly self-sufficient.

But there is a local plant that my neighbour partly lived on, and I am growing it.  It tastes like spinach, and doesn’t mind the weather, and holds no interest for bugs or birds.  I will continue with this, the passion fruit, and then try out other seeds.  Sooner or later I will have more luck.



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