Growing Garden Update October ’15

Our backyard before the garden started going in
Our backyard before the garden started going in

How good is your memory? Above is how our back yard looked just over two months ago. All grass and flowers. No garden, no herbs. A lot has changed since then.

The garden progresses
The garden progresses
Walking paths marked by bamboo
Walking paths marked by bamboo

All the grass was dug up and then we were able to plant the garden which took a couple of weeks.

Things started sprouting and growing. It has been interesting to see what varieties of seed are flourishing and doing well, while others never germinated at all.

Of all things my eggplant didn’t germinate! Two different varieties never came up but we had some serious rains and flooding that went through our yard and garden that did do some damage and potentially buried the sprouting seeds. Our two varieties of peppers never came up either so I ended up replanting both the eggplant and peppers.

None of them have come up from the replanting and with it raining everyday (sometimes hard enough to have more rivers running through the garden) it’s possible they got washed out again. I’m thinking about starting some inside and transplanting them.

The garden has progressed from just the tiniest sprouts to huge plants in just over two months. Here are photos of how the garden has progressed.

week-old okra
week-old okra
Some collard greens emerging
Some collard greens emerging
Some squash seedlings
Some squash seedlings
Growing squash seedlings. They are doing well.
Growing squash seedlings. They are doing well.
Rivers running through our garden
Rivers running through our garden
Rivers or rows of corn?
Rivers or rows of corn?
Some flooding in the garden
Some flooding in the garden
The squash and melon plants had huge bursts of growth over two weeks time.
The squash and melon plants had huge bursts of growth over two weeks time.
The trellaced yard long beans and cucumber planted underneath. It was planted after the rest of the garden.
The trellised yard long beans and cucumber planted underneath. It was planted after the rest of the garden.
The Zucchini plant beginning to flower
The Zucchini plant beginning to flower
A Zucchini flower
A Zucchini flower
Amaranth bent over from the wind and rain
Amaranth bent over from the wind and rain
The harsh wind and rain was hard on the plants
The harsh wind and rain was hard on the plants

The garden was coming along great but our organizational annual family conference was scheduled for the middle of October so we were gone from our place for one week. Boy did the garden change and grow while we were gone, including the weeds!

The plants are growing but after a week of being gone the weeds are too.
The plants are growing but after a week of being gone the weeds are too.
A zucchini that is almost ready
A zucchini that is almost ready

The zucchini growing, flowering and now producing is especially exciting! Why? Because no other expat who has lived here, that we know of, has ever been able to grow them successfully (despite many attempts apparently) and I am the first to cultivate them!!! There is some worm that likes to bore into them so they will need sprayed but the squash are still usable and are something to celebrate as a victory among the gardening challenges here. I’ve been able to share a few with some other expat friends here who enjoy them. They make a special gift when they are something that is so rare.

The corn is waist high
The corn is waist high
The carrots and greens
The carrots and greens
A Kohlrabi
A Kohlrabi
The butter crunch lettuce
The butter crunch lettuce
The Amaranth is as tall as our papaya tree!
The Amaranth is as tall as our papaya tree!
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The Spaghetti squash has been flowering and producing already.
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Giant Amaranth that are beginning to head

Right before we left for family conference I got some herbs planted in the back corner of the garden and also along the flower beds right behind the kitchen. The corner of the garden with the herbs has been overrun with weeds and needs to be rescued from our time gone but all the herbs planted in the flower beds are doing well. There are some spots in the flower beds where the herbs have been washed out by the rain or buried when it flooded. Hopefully what is left will continue to grow.

Cilantro
Cilantro
Parsley
Parsley
Basil
Basil
Methi
Methi
Susie the 9 week old Rottweiler puppy
Susie the 9 week old Rottweiler puppy

Another addition to the homestead at the end of our week that we were gone was our new puppy! She is a 9 week old Rottweiler puppy from Kampala, Uganda. We named her Susie after my aunt. Our kitten, Sadie, was not very happy with the new addition to the homestead but has over the last week and a half settled down some and gotten used to the new normal. It’s still not her ideal but she’s going to have to live with it.

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Sadie
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Sadie sleeping on the window
The very first harvest from the garden
The very first harvest from the garden

So things are coming along and our life is piece by piece coming together. We have already been eating from our garden and have really enjoyed harvesting our own food. It is so convenient to just walk out into the garden and select what I would like to cook up for our meal. The rest stays alive and fresh until it’s time to eat more, which saves on our limited fridge and freezer space. It’s just amazing to put some seeds in the ground and then after watching it grow, pick your produce and feed it to your family.

Flowering Okra.
Flowering Okra.

The garden is growing at an amazing rate, but there are some challenges already including the huge amounts of rain and flooding, tropical weeds and especially the insects! They have done some damage eating some collards, Kholrabi, beans and surprisingly the okra too. Despite the damage that the insects have done to multiple plants they are all still growing and doing well; some are already fully producing!

Kholrabi damaged
Kholrabi damaged
Heading collards eaten up
Heading collards eaten up
Bug damage on the collards
Bug damage on the collards
Out spraying the young melons and squash
Out spraying the young melons and squash

The melons and squash were eaten more when they were younger and I was spraying them more. I will need to get out and spray some more with a homemade spray again but it has been raining so much lately it would just be washed away.

The Golden Hubbard Squash plants are yellowing and parts are dying. It is still alive and flowering but not happy.
The Golden Hubbard Squash plants are yellowing and parts are dying. It is still alive and flowering but not happy.

The large amounts of rain and moisture have also been troublesome to some of the plants mainly the golden hubbard and a few of the melons. Everything is still alive and hanging on but the hubbard squash in particular isn’t happy. Hopefully it will start raining less soon and all of the plants can recover some. We should be heading into dry season soon which will make some of them happier but that also means having to water the garden. You win some, you loose some.

Other projects are coming along as well, especially the chicken house, and I will do an exclusive look and update on that soon.

5 comments

  1. Wow, your garden turned out great – way better than mine. Such a great blessing to eat something out of your own garden. I love seeing all the pictures of what life is like for you. I pray you are all well and not discouraged. I want you to know that we are praying for you. keep up the great work.

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  2. Ben and I were discussing you folks yesterday and how we look forward to your blog. I even told Ben that it had been a while since you had posted anything. It is now obvious why that is! May the Lord continue to grow your garden and you and family in His provision.

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    1. Thanks Don we appreciate that! Yes, its been a very busy few weeks for us with being gone and trying to get caught back up from that. Its been raining everyday sometimes multiple times a day so laundry in particular is hard to get caught up. Let us know if Bayview would like to skype sometime!

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