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This month marks the end of my first year of in-the-ground gardening! I did do a bit of container gardening the year before that. I haven’t produced much food, but I’ve certainly learned a lot, and I’m trying to feel encouraged by the increased knowledge, rather than discouraged by the lack of results.

From what I’ve learned about the weather here, I’m treating November as my version of “spring.” We’re currently cleaning out the garden, which had become weedy and overgrown during the rainy season, and we’re starting to plant. So far we have onions, radishes, green beans, green peppers, cabbages, kohlrabi, cucumbers and beets (plus one volunteer tomato plant) in the ground. We recently had trouble with the cow pushing over the wire fencing and walking around in the garden (I’ll show our solution to that in another post). All that to say that the garden is a busy place right now, and it looks a bit messy at the moment, as you’ll see in the pictures.

During the rainy season we improved the garden by putting down gravel on the pathways, to keep down the weeds. Who wants to have to weed pathways?

One of our experiments has involved growing plants inside of a screened, shaded shelter. As you can see in the photo below, the cabbages and kohlrabi inside the shelter are looking good – they haven’t be gnawed much by insects or stressed by the intensity of the sun. We’re considering expanding our use of this type of gardening.

My biggest gardening challenge (among my many gardening challenges) thus far has been my lack of knowledge about what to expect from the weather. The seasons here aren’t easy to describe. The year is roughly evenly divided into rainy and dry, and there’s definitely one cold part of the year for about 2 months and one hot part of the year for about two months (and a whole lot of nice warm months the rest of the time), but the changeovers between these “seasons” don’t line up with one another. It is rainy and warm-to-hot from May until October. It is quite cold and humid (but not rainy) November through January, but then, as the dry season progresses, the temperature rapidly rises until we have our hottest time of the year, in April. So basically, we have both the hottest and the coldest months of the year during the dry season. In spite of the drastic temperature change and the lack of rain during the dry season, it still appears to me that this time is my best hope for growing veggies.

I’m still working to figure this all out, though, so I’ll have to let you know later if my analysis and conclusions turn out to be correct!