Permaculture-gardening

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Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in March / April 2018 – (Countdown: 17)

So, what have I learnt after seven years of seaside tropical garden pot gardening?  I would need to read all my blogs on this topic to recall.  Here are a few things, though.

  • So far I haven’t found anyone or anything that can offer good advice.
  • Get some plants from your neighbours if you can – if they grow next door you can probably grow them.
  • The plants that grow quite easily for me in pots and with sea air are:
    • Torch Ginger
    • Pandan
    • Hibiscus
    • Bougainvillea
    • Mock Orange
    • Duranta
    • Lemongrass
    • Lime tree
    • Blue pea
    • Papaya
    • Basil
    • Passion fruit
    • Canna lily
    • Mother-in-law tongue
    • Pumpkin
    • Neem
    • Curry plant
    • Aloe Vera
    • Plumbago
    • Roselle
    • Ginger
    • Tumeric
  • The plants I have had little luck with include:
    • Tomatoes – they grow from the compost, but at best supply one fruit, and then wilt and die. The one tomato is delicious, though.  Packets of seeds I have bought never did any better.
    • Rosemary – we kept plants for quite a whil, but some black bugs kept on attacking it, and it eventually succumbed
    • Root vegetables like carrots, potatoes
  • Some plants are only happy growing at ground level – others don’t mind balconies higher up etc.
  • Some plants seem to follow the northern hemisphere planting seasons
  • Composting works, so you can grow organically
  • Deliberately putting seeds into the compost is a good way to get them to germinate.  Particularly pumpkins and passion fruit.
  • Some plants don’t mind being transplanted, but some do. Papaya are better to seed where you want them to grow, for example.

We expected it to rain while we were away, but it didn’t so some plants suffered a lot and required heavy pruning and a lot of watering to help them recover. One of the lime trees was the most affected, and had to be the most heavily pruned. One basil plant died.  Others have all recovered.

Here are some of our plants:

neem

mini-eggplant

mini-eggplant tree

crepe ginger

lemon grass

kobu lime

rosemary and grape, which grew out of the compost

basil and mother-in-law’s tongue

tomato

aloe vera

plumbago – pruned a lot due to dryness of weather

pandan

I don’t knw the name of this one

papaya

grape vine

various plants in lane

various plants in lane – citrus, mock orange, crepe ginger…

fern

crepe ginger, curry plant…

papaya and citrus

lemon grass

small papaya

Bougainvillea and others

aloe vera

I don’t knw the name of this one, but it’s easy to grow and survies not watering well

hibiscus

lemon grass

I don’t knw the name of this one

Bougainvillea

duranta

Bougainvillea

young crepe ginger

crepe ginger

mostly mock orange

Canna Lily

lime tree

pumpkin vine

mung beans trying to germinate passion fruit

aloe vera

pandan

papaya

papaya

mock orange

lime tree

limes

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Rainy days are here again, with passion fruit ripening

Actually, it’s more like rainy late afternoon or evenings, with long sunny periods until then.

Having said which a few hours ago, it rained this morning briefly, and it’s currently overcast. It feels like the season is changing.

After a short hot and dry period around Chinese New Year it has cooled down and got wetter.  Evenings are cooler than before.

And the passion fruit are finally ripening.  I had more than 60 passion fruit on the vines, and now they are finally ripening.  It used to be the season ended in about November, then the vines were quite dormant until February or March.  So I’d prune during that period.  I did some in February. But I have had to wait until now to finish pruning, once the passion fruit have been picked.

And already the young passion fruit plants have started growing, so it’s really late to prune.

Here are about two days pickings:

Once I have picked the passion fruit I can prune the part of the vines they were growing on.  And then dry the leaves in the sun, and the dried leaves and stems go onto the soil as mulch.

But the pruning is a bit of a race against time, as pumpkin vines are rapidly growing and spreading.  The theory is that the pumpkins will grow and then die off before the passion fruit flower and fruit later in the year.  Already the pumpkin vines have flowers on them.  But once the pumpkins vines spread over the passion fruit vines, it’s hard to prune the passion fruit.

pumpkin vines spreading fast

Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in January/February 2018

The four month cool and wet spell lasted into January, and then at last it warmed up as we approached Chinese New Year.  Thereafter it was hot and rained only occasionally of an evening. I have to water the plants almost every day now.

Canna Lilies happily grow and bloom all year.

this I grew from two cuttings from another crepe ginger – now there are over 10 stems

a young lime tree – some of its first fruit – still small

plumbago seems to be happy in this spot

I normally prune the passion fruit vines at this time of year – dry the cuttings in the sun, and then put on top of the soil to add nutrition back

I had put a lot of pumpkin seeds in the compost, so now in places where I’ve put the compost sometimes pumpkin plants appear. Then I transplant them. This grew from a tiny transplanted plant.

Another pumpkin plant I recently transplanted.

Lots of baby lines on my original lime tree

Over 60 passion fruit are on the vines now

I’m growing several papaya on the roof – today the first flower opened

Aloe Vera like this spot – I should harvest soon. They always have little babies growing nearby so there is always another crop coming

bought from Cold Storage – this plant is struggling

Basil is OK here

Mock Oranges are usually doing well

some of the many passion fruit growing

passion fruit I recently picked – or fell to the floor

these are very easy care – just water occasionally

some more crepe ginger plants

Bougainvillea

Duranta are happy if they have plenty of water

hibiscus

mini-eggplants. Great in soup.

So many mini-eggplants grow on one tree in a big pot

We’re spreading crepe ginger all over the place. So easy to care for and they look great.

One of our pandan collection

The original crepe ginger plant, from which we’ve cultivated about 15 pots

just starting cultivating more crepe ginger plants – it takes a few weeks.

The tale of Greeney the grasshopper

Greeney the Grasshopper

Greeney the Grasshopper was with us for about two months.  She lived a quiet life in our garden, and being only one of her, didn’t eat too much and cause a problem for our plants.  When watering the plants, first I had to find her so that I didn’t drench her with water – or at least surprise her, as she was really quick – she leapt out of the way before the water reached her.  When it rained or stormed she moved under cover, nearby.   She lived in a radius of about six feet, and moved around onto different plants.

Then, three days ago, she disappeared.  Very sad. She was only fast when she had to hop – and I tried not to cause her problems.  She had generally moved very slowly – it looked like she was old.  Apparently their lifespan is about one year.

But then it turns out she was a mother! This morning we saw lots of little hoppers on one hibiscus plant that Greeney had spent a lot of time on. They are really cute.  However, if more than two or three grow up and stay it’ll be a problem for our plants, so we’ll see what happens.  At the moment there seem to be around 20 of them.

Growing stuff on hot concrete – gardening in tropical Penang – what’s growing in November/December 2017

Well, it rained most days during November and the last week of December, with it also being cool.  For the last few days there has only been a very, very light sprinkle of rain on a couple of occasions, and it has remained cool.

Uploading and the web page are not working well today, so here are what I could manage…