In November in the tropics the heat is building for us and rain is scarce. By the end of November we’re hiding from the heat indoors and only venture outside very early or around sunset. The plants however, all seem to be loving the warmer temperature and are growing fast so long as they’re watered and given regular buckets of our homemade worm tea.
Our first banch of vermicompost was ready in November (Year 1 of starting the garden) and we experimented with starting mung beans, dwarf red snake beans and butternut squash directly into vermicompost. They seem to do well but we didn’t set up control plants to see which did better.
It’s officially spring here, late spring and the birds are nesting. We have tiny golden sunbirds nesting in our garage and an abundance of birds in the garden. There are fewer butterflies now, I didn’t note the months when the butterflies are around because I just thought they were here all the time, they’re not. There are noticeably fewer sulphur-crested cockatoos flying over and a lot more rainbow lorikeets. It’s interesting to note the changes. I saw my first ever blue striped bee this year and some of my frangipanis are still flowering. They’re much healthier after treating them for rust earlier in the year.
What else is happening in the tropical food garden this month?
We harvested the last of this year’s jackfruit in November.
They grow so fast! Probably 2 or 3 square meters are covered by just 3 or 4 pumpkin plants now. They’re in very poor soil but doing fine, still flowering. 4 or 5 pumpkins forming and we harvested the oldest one to see what it was like.
The first of our large purple aubergines are ready along with the smaller white aubergines. The tiny Thai aubergines have self-seeded again from bird droppings and there are plenty of these plants, around 2m rall around the garden and flowering now.
Dozens of ruby grapefruit have set and they’re around ping pong ball sized now.
6 lemons on a tiny potted tree are almost ready. Not yellow and maybe not quite full sized yet.
Bush beans and snake beans are now producing still. We have various other types of beans coming on and we plant more beans constantly, wherever there is a space, we add a bean.
Kaffir limes are falling from the tree, there are dozens. Presumably they are ready but it’s a pretty useless fruit, we only use the rind. I wonder if we could use them for anything else?
Kale, chard, a spinach like plant, water spinach, we have plenty and pick individual leaves to have raw of cooked. There’s plenty of rocket too. The curly leaved kale is struggling. It probably needs to be in the sun more but the sun is south of us now and some beds are barely seeing sun at all.
We have hundreds of chillies! The yellow chillies have all been harvested now and are drying in the sun. I’m hoping the plant will flower and fruit again, but it may not. There are dozens of long green chillies, one or two have gone red. The Thai chillies are starting to go red too.
Ginger, Turmeric and Galangal
Earlier in the month I dug up my first chubnk of home grown ginger because the top died back. We left some in the ground and it should shoot again, when? I don’t know. Other small pieces of ginger, turmeric and galangal are shooting well.
The sweet potatoes we started just for fun are putting on lots of green growth, more than previously. Maybe as the weather heats up. Hopefully, we can move these from a pot to a proper bed soon.
We started passion fruit plants from seeds a few months back in raised beds. It was time to move them, they were growing fast. They’re now planted in the ground to grow along the pool fence, hopefully, if the high daily temperatures and transplant shock doesn’t kill them off. It was stupid to move them when it’s so hot and dry.
The mint is going crazy! We have mint everywhere, growing fast. The Vietnamese mint is starting to come back after dying back in winter, the garlic chives are growing well. Asian coriander isn’t looking too good, no leaves after flowering. Tha basil still grows like weeds. Mother of Herbs is growing well now too.
The papaya plant, well under a year since we planted it, is flowering constantly. but no fruit has set. It’s bisexual, it should set fruit. We’ll see.