After a few days in mid-December with no rain, I thought the rainy period had come to an end. But then rain resumed, so we’ve had three months of rain and cooler weather.
So all through Christmas it was cool, and thus more Christmassy than usual.
The Great Flood of early October eventually killed off all the papaya but one – and the ants and mealy bugs are trying to finish off the last one.
I have fought back by putting more papaya seeds into the soil. A few have germinated.
It rained almost every day until about the second week of January, when the rain became less and less frequent. When it hasn’t rained we’ve had glorious sunny and reasonably mild days. As of the middle of the month it hasn’t rained for a week, and I have had to use town water instead of collected rainwater on the plants for the first time in three months.
So, with all the rain the passion fruit, which had decided the fruiting season was over and had stopped producing, reevaluated the situation, started flowering again and produced more passion fruit. A second crop. There are about 40 green full size passion fruit on the vines waiting to ripen, now. As a result vines weren’t growing. And now in mid-January, the baby vines are starting to grow as the rainy period appears to be over. Baby vines which have really done nothing for months are growing tendrils in order to grasp onto something higher and grow up.
Every day now for the last month I have been gradually pruning back the passion fruit vines, then drying the leaves in the sun, and putting the leaves on the garden. This allows more sun and air in as the vines get thinned, and seems like a good idea. According to web articles I have read, one should prune back one third – which is more or less what I am doing. I just have to follow the vines first to ensure I am not pruning anything which has fruit on it. Once I have picked the fruit I can do that part of the vine.
Strangely two mock oranges I have grown from seed are now very sick – they had spent some time with a smaller pot of mock orange that wasn’t well. All the others are very healthy, so I don’t know what is happening.
Mock Orange loved the rain and produced lots of fragrant flowers, but not so many seeds thereafter – and the birds come and eat many of them. From memory, around Christmas many mock orange seeds germinated and I could then collect tiny seedlings and repot them as they grew. This year was cool and wet, and perhaps that’s why this hasn’t happened.
Mostly squirrels are leaving my passion fruit alone, as eating mangos, with their relatively thin skin is easier, I suppose. But still the passion fruit are attacked sometimes. I always pick the ones that have just started to turn purple, to try to beat the squirrels, but they can tell which are ripe inside better than I can.
Pumpkin vines have still been producing tiny pumpkins that just then rot – unless I pick them first and eat them – steamed and then with butter. However, I notice one pumpkin that is growing towards adult size. Other baby vines are starting to grow some more and spread.
Now I have to use town water again for the plants, as I have used up the rain water supply.
I have put some more passion fruit and mung bean seeds into this pot. Let’s see if they germinate this time.
And just for fun I am growing a couple of papaya in pots at the moment. I don’t know what I will do with them when bigger.
Aargh – chasing the squirrel away from my passion fruit again.
And the lovely weather continues. This is normally the sunniest and hottest time of year.