Roots and perennials planting days this week, and when I look back over my “Garden” posts, I find this planting break is the skinniest of the year, every year.
Partly it is because one of my other lives is teaching vocational education teachers and early summer is end of term madness. Partly it is because by now the zucchinis and squash and cucumbers have launched a takeover bid on the garden. Every year I am left wondering why it is so impossible for me to remember that those cute baby seedlings that looked so innocent back in October when I decided to plant out so many of them are really triffids and will leave me with no room for successive plantings of anything. And partly it is because this time of year is often very harsh gardening conditions in my part of the world – the end of a long hot dry windy spring with the real frizzle days just starting to bite and the water supplies running low.
This year though it has been glorious gardening weather. So far we’ve dodged the “Godzilla El Nino” at is causing starvation level drought through SE Asia, New Guinea and Pacific Island nations. There have been a couple of heat waves but mostly mild days and the tanks and dams are full enough to water.
So this week I’ve planted passionfruit vines and pawpaws and tamarillos. I’ve divided up the ginger and given it a nice new, well composted spot on the south eastern side of a garden bed where it will get light shade for the afternoon and water runoff. I’ve planted another bed of asparagus, and I’ve planted some madagascar bean seedlings to climb the bottom fence.
Madagascar beans are a tropical semi-perennial bean – they kinda take the niche occupied by seven-year beans (aka scarlett runner beans) in more temperate climates. I find that though I am theoretically at the margin between the two, Madagascar beans do much better in my sub-tropical climate. They live for about five years and though they like enough water, they cope with heat and dry and wet and humid (but not frost). They bear very prolifically after year two on a rampant climbing vine. I plant at three metre spacing along the fence and they will use every bit of that.
The beans are the size of lima beans but a very pretty speckled maroon and white. Cooked they turn pink and taste pretty much like a lima bean and go well in bean patties for burgers, soups, stews, dips, patés and spreads. They dry and store well so they’re a great staple, storable protein. One of my zombocalypse essentials.