Garden Report

It has been some time since I reported my gardening successes and failures.

As for success, as I write I am eating breakfast which includes watermelon and cantaloupe from the garden. The watermelon is a bit over ripe and quite sweet. The medium sized cantaloupe is firm and, though acceptable, is not as sweet as those I buy from Luis at El Mercado Santa Ana. I am eating and giving away tomatoes from the garden and also eating carrots which, because of the poor soil I think, are small and not very sweet. There is one habanera just about ready to pick, and others coming on even though the plants are no more than 6 inches tall.

Also on the good news front is the large amount of killer compost I’ve produced and which I have been incorporating into the soil for new plantings.

The bad news is that both the tomato and cantaloupe plants succumbed to Tomato Mosaic Virus and Downy Mildew, respectively, so I have pulled them and began anew. I am hopeful that incorporating generous amounts of compost into the soil and mulching heavily with compost will produce more resistant plants, and as a backup I have ordered seeds of resistant varieties from a company in England which ships to Mexico at very economical rates. I have also planted more watermelons in a heavily composted bed, though something, perhaps a gecko, ate the leaves off a couple as soon as they emerged.

I have constructed two rectangular raised beds, where the tomatoes had resided, incorporated lots of compost into the soil and mulched them heavily with more compost. I have started more tomato plants which I will plant into one of the beds when large enough. In the other bed I have planted more cucumbers and will plant more onions and lettuce, though the weather has become very hot and dry so the lettuce may not do well.

I have also begun transplanting papaya trees in an area behind the garden. Though the hot weather is not conducive to transplanting, I am refining my method, using lots of compost, mulching heavily, and hoping for the best. Sr. Lopez, my landlords, tells me to use all of the water I need and to not worry about the cost. Water is apparently quite inexpensive here.

My container trees are all doing well and I have an addition of a mystery tree from a seed I found and planted in the avocado container.

Additionally, I found in the last batch of vegetative waste, the next door neighbor practically begged me to take, a large, juicy bulb of some sort that had been hacked up by a machete. You Know Me, I said to myself “what the hell” and planted it. Within days flat, broad, light green leaves emerged and earlier this week a stem emerged from which blossomed four trumpet shaped white and pink flowers. I haven’t the slightest idea what it is but it is indeed a beauty. Or I should say, was a beauty, as I accidentally cut the flower stalk with my soil sifting screen while preparing spots for the papayas.

Off to prepare another papaya hole before it gets too hot. Later I’ll tell you about my amoebic banking experiences.



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4 responses to “Garden Report

  1. El Macho Grande

    Don’t blame the geckos. They eat insects mainly I think. And I’m pretty sure that they don’t have giant leopard slugs like in the NW. Maybe it’s an iguana or a turtle. You could set a hair trigger on your camera to take a picture.

  2. You Know Me

    Hola el macho,

    You are right. No slugs here, which is reason enough for me to leave the NW. And it’s not even the giant loogee slugs that are the most annoying, it’s the little ones that can crawl up a leaf of lettuce, for example.

    You’re right also geckos, so it couldn’t have been them. There are indeed Iguanas here, in fact last weekend I spotted about a 3 footer crawling down the wall of the bus maintenance garage across the back yard wall. I took pictures and will post them when I have them developed.

    Thanks for checking in and for your comments.

  3. WorkingGringos

    Those poor iguanas always take the rap. But it’s not them. They usually just sit lazily on top of walls, sunning themselves and eating insect targets of opportunity.

    The two most likely culprits are either caterpillars or the dreaded leaf cutter ants.

    The caterpillars are masters of disguise. You can stare right at them and not detect them because they blend in so well with the native foliage. Some, which are small with black fur, actually bury themselves and only come out at night. If you find a half-eaten plant and there are small, round droppings scattered around below it, then these monsters are probably the guilty party. You’ll have to root them out. The upside of the caterpillar stampede is that every year around April and May, we get wonderful displays of butterflierworks.

    There is no upside to leaf cutter ants. If they find your garden, then it will be all-out war, and you’ll need to consult with a specialist to win it. They can strip everything bare in one night. The only good news is that they seem have very discriminating tastes. They never touch ferns, for example, but they love hibiscus.

    Buena suerte!

  4. You Know Me


    Thanks for the authoritative word on garden pests. It must have been a caterpillar, as I have yet to encounter leaf cutter ants in the garden area, only the aphid herding variety of ants, though I have seen their caravans marching through the front yard.

    I have found the carcasses of black, fury caterpillars and a variety of other larvae in my garden rootings.

    I have erected defense perimeters consisting of sections of large pop bottles around the young plants that seem to work well. The only problem with the pop bottle fences is that they attract my neighbor’s pain in the ass, but very sweet, little dog who loves to play with them.

    I’m learning. Thanks for furthering my education.

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