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It has taken me some time – years, really – to figure out how the seasons work up here in the mountains of Lempira, and how that should influence our attempts at gardening. It doesn’t help that I’m a complete novice gardener, without even a good working knowledge of which plants like cooler weather and which enjoy the heat, which would thrive with lots of rain and which would handle the dry season without tons of help, etc. It has been a slow, tedious process.

I learned last year that there is too much rain during the rainy season for most of my vegetable plants, in spite of our having planted them in raised beds that drain well. I watched a lovely, healthy patch of bush beans turn yellow and fall over last July, and I determined to wait until late in the rainy season to plant my garden this year. Well, it’s time to get going!

Since our attempt at planting special beans which would act as an organic fertilizer failed, we have added fertilizer to the garden, and worm compost AND hog manure, and stirred it all up. I hope this will result in a better harvest this year!

The weather in September and October is still rainy, so for now most of the work involves cleaning up in the garden, preparing the raised beds for planting, and starting plants indoors. Boo has planted beet and carrot seeds directly into the garden, but we might have jumped the gun with those. We’ll see how they do. We’re trying to start some tomato plants and some lettuce in the house, and Boo started two celery plants from the bottoms of a couple of stalks of celery we bought in San Pedro Sula. The last batch we did that way were eaten by some subterranean pest after growing nicely for a while. We’re hoping for better results this time.

We already have about half a dozen bell pepper plants in the garden. These are perennials in this climate, if I can keep them alive. They are susceptible to  . . . something . . . that keeps eating off every leaf on every plant. With care, they come back again, but the plants are quite small and don’t produce many peppers. Hmm, I think that’s because they’re using up all their energy just to stay alive!

Here are some of the amazingly resilient pepper plants, now inside of a little screened house
This is the largest pepper we have growing right now, and it is really weighing down its little plant!
This squatty, stunted pepper plant is blooming its heart out!

In addition to the peppers, there are a few other plants already growing in the garden:

This cantaloupe plant started itself from seeds in our worm compost. Although we didn’t plant it, we’re glad to have it – and it already has 5 melons growing on it!
Today Boo found flowers blooming on our healthy-looking sweet potato plants. These plants were started from some sweet potatoes we bought at the market, and which sprouted in the pantry.
This is the one surviving blackberry bush we have from the sticks we received from up on Green Mountain last year. Only two of the sticks ever sprouted, and one of those died during the dry season – but this one looks good. I wonder when it will be big enough to grow berries?

Yesterday, Boo and I planned out the rest of the garden planting. Neither of us are planners by nature, and our garden has not benefited by this aspect of our characters! We NEED some gardening success, and obviously thinking ahead more would be a good thing! It is my hope that, with the help of Boo and Josiah, we can get the entire garden (nine raised beds, each approximately 3′ x 7′) planted or ready to receive seedlings this week, as we head into what I hope will be the best gardening weather of the year for us.