vegetables planted in aadi (july-aug) 2012 did well inspite of the slightly deficient rainfall. we have been harvesting since november and have not had to buy much from the market for over 3 months now. star performers have been brinjal, bottle gourd, raddish, pumpkin, chillies, banana stem, raw banana and winged bean. from our tuber scale up, tapioca has done very well. elephant yam growth this year has been a bit of a disappointment and we suspect this is due to the deficient rainfall. we are yet to harvest dioscorea (vethalai velli kizhangu).
we have been busy planting a lot of vegetables since mid december post NE monsoon. after tying out various veg bed systems like raised beds, trench and mound, this year we have settled for a system that seems to work well and is easy enough to scale up. we sickle the bed area clean of all grasses and weeds, loosen it for about 6-9inches deep with a digging fork, add farm yard manure, mulch heavily and sow/plant. this does not raise the bed and so it does not dry out quickly and keeps the bed loose for the roots to grow. if we find a bed area soft enough after sickling (usually areas where organic matter was piled up before distribution), we give the loosening a miss. in our experience, with our hot/humid/windy climate, raised bed tends to dry out from the sides and takes a lot of watering to keep moist. even the trench and mound raises the bed enough to dry out from the side. however loosened bed at ground level works fine and saves us the trouble of finding soil for raising it. we mark and mulch walk paths as well and do not step on to the loosened bed area to avoid compaction. heavy and regular mulching keeps the bed moist and loose for the soil macro and micro organisms to work their magic. we also put a lot of chopped sticks/twigs around the beds for them to release nutrients at a slow pace as they degrade.
here are pictures of some of the veggies.
|monster tapioca - 13 kgs from one plant.|
|chinese cabbage & tomoto|
|pumpkin all sizes and shapes|