Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in October

A short update on what is happening in the garden this month:

At the beginning of the month there was very heavy rain and subsequent flooding, followed by terrible haze.  Most of my papaya trees and some of my Bougainvillea were badly affected.  They are still not looking healthy three weeks later.  I hope they will survive, but I don’t know.  Many other plants showed no signs of damage.

As I said above, the papaya trees are now unhealthy.  Here is a photo from last month and one today of the same tree.

 

papaya

papaya last month

2014-10-25 08.09.42 (Copy)

Having lost a lot of fronds, it is less healthy than before. The smaller one on the left also unhealthy.

Otherwise there is not much change from last month.  October is supposed to be a rainy month, and it has rained a lot. Almost every day, or evening, but usually for a maximum of an hour or two.  And it has for the most part been pleasantly cool, too.

My water collection - this is enough to water the garden for four days.  There is copper in every container to keep mosquitoes away.

My water collection of rainwater from the roof – this is enough to water the garden for four days. There is copper in every container to keep mosquitoes away.

The passion fruit vines shed some leaves every day, and I used to compost them in a container, but I have recently found it is better just to lay them in direct sun for a day, and then they turn brown and can be directly put on the garden as mulch.  Very easy.

drying passionfruit leaves in the sun

drying passionfruit leaves in the sun

The tomato plants have died – killed by mealy bugs and the fact they don’t like the climate much.

 

tomato plants finally died

tomato plants finally died

however, another tomato plant has come up in a pot where I sewed mock orange seeds

however, another tomato plant has come up in a pot where I sewed mock orange seeds

The blue pea flower plants are as usual – the older ones dying down and newer ones growing and flowering.

blue pea flower

blue pea flower

Passion fruit vines are yielding one or two ripe passion fruit per day.

ripening passion fruit

ripening passion fruit

The tiny seedlings I planted a few months ago have grown to around 1 metre high.  Vines last a few seasons, so the plan is for these to replace the older ones in a year or two.  These younger ones can grow using the older ones for support. I might soon sow some more seeds as the growing season will soon be upon us.

And there are many green passion fruit growing.

so many green passion fruit

so many green passion fruit

I picked two pumpkins this week – the plants  are not currently growing any more full size ones, but the pumpkin vines are growing, including some new ones.

pumpkin this week

pumpkin this week

Sometimes the garden is full of bees, but at present there are not so many flowers, so not so many bees around.  But there is a bee in the photo below – in the centre of the flower.

young pumpkin vine

young pumpkin vine

tiny pumpkin growing - most will not grow to full size

tiny pumpkin growing – most will not grow to full size

The Cana lilies are flowering sporadically, as usual.

cana lily

Cana lily

And the plumbago are happy – they like rain.

plumbago

plumbago

Mock orange bushes also like rain, so they are almost all happy.  I have repotted two or three to larger pots, and a  couple of seeds germinated into little plants, which I potted.

repotted mock orange

repotted mock orange

tiny mock oranges recently germinated

tiny mock oranges recently germinated

I have also discovered that the mock orange bushes that are in the sun, or the parts of them in the sun, will produce ripened seeds.  The others in the shade produce seeds, but they don’t ripen. I have sewed many seeds, but my experience is that they tend to germinate around Christmas and after, so nothing has happened mostly.

ripe mock orange seeds

ripe mock orange seeds

another variety of ripe mock orange seeds

another variety of ripe mock orange seeds

However, two plants became sick.  Both were only 4″ high or so, and turned brown – with many of the leaves falling off.  This is a first for me.  They were in the sun – but mock orange generally grow faster in the sun and like it. One of them looks like it will recover as the top part of the plant is green with green leaves, but the other looks like it won’t survive. For me this is a mystery.  I have so many mock orange, and this is the first time to have such a problem.

very sick little mock orange

very sick little mock orange

The lime trees continue to survive, flower and even get tiny fruit growing.  Few grow into full size limes.

lime tree

lime tree

The Roselle are happy, and we’ve grown some more from seed.  We collect flowers every morning and Mrs Tropical Expat makes syrup and jam from them.

roselle flowers

Roselle flowers

roselle flower

Roselle flower

roselle flowers

Roselle flowers

The hibiscus plants are growing and flowering a bit.

hibiscus flowers

hibiscus flowers

And the Bougainvillea seem to have recovered from the haze damage and are happy again.

bougainvillea recovered

Bougainvillea recovered

I wonder if the rainy season will end soon, and the weather will heat up again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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