Friday, March 2, 2012

Closing down the garden for the season

It feels odd that, while the garden blogs I read are all talking about starting spring planting, we're just entering the part of the year where we need to not be gardening. Here in the mountains of western Honduras we can expect to not receive any rain at all from now until approximately the beginning of May. Starting around mid-April (the exact date depends on how the water in the river holds up) we have to severely restrict our water usage, so we don't completely run out of water before the rainy season starts.

At the same time that we can't use much water, the weather turns hot - we actually have our highest temperatures of the entire year in April. The combination of broiling sun, high temperatures and limited water makes this the worst time of the year for growing plants!

Once the rains start up again things quickly cool down, however the start of the rainy season hasn't proven to be a good time for gardening either. There is so much rain that many plants turn yellow, fall over, and die. I'm hoping to figure out some veggies to grow during the rainy season that really like lots and LOTS of rain, but I haven't figured this out just yet.

Currently, we have about 8 green pepper plants in the garden doing reasonably well, a couple of nearly dead cucumber plants, a dozen or so onions which refuse to swell up, a handful of cabbage and kohlrabi plants (these are inside a screened and shaded shelter, and they're looking happy in there), and a big patch of red bean plants. The red beans were planted from seeds grown by a neighbor, and they seem to be enjoying this weather and thriving. I hope I won't have to stop watering them before the beans are done, as they look rather promising.

Oh, and I forgot about the celery plant, which we grew from the cut off bottom of a bunch of celery bought for kitchen use. I learned about doing this on the "Chickens in the Road" blog, and it seems to be working out pretty well. Plus, there's a huge, rambling semi-wild tomato plant taking over a big part of the garden. I was counting this as mostly a weed, but it's bearing lots of teensy tomatoes (smaller than grapes), and Ben enjoys snacking on those, so I guess I'll count that . . . even though I didn't intend to grow it in the garden! My track record with tomato plants I've intentionally planted is pretty miserable, so I think I should be grateful for whatever tomatoes I get from my garden at this point.

I'm trying to figure out how soon I can start planting again, once the rains start. I think I need to wait until September or October, although perhaps I can start some seeds indoors a bit earlier, and transplant them into the garden when the rains decrease enough. I'm still definitely learning more than I'm producing, but I haven't given up yet!

2 comments:

Laurie Matherne said...

I pruned my plants severely this weekend. We are drying up, too.

Beth said...

Hang in there Trish, many of the best gardens are the product of trial and error for your climate and soil.
You are on the learning curve and it will pay off!