With long warm days and plenty of rain, now is the time to get new plants into the ground. These will have a good six months to establish before having to survive through the dry season, so don’t delay – give them the best chance possible.
In the vegetable garden, now is a great time for growing:
- Beans, including snake beans, New Guinea beans and Madagascar beans
- Lemon grass
- Sweet potato
- Rosella (from October)
- Vietnamese mint
Root spices such as turmeric, galangal and ginger love the warm, wet weather. Plant rhizomes now for harvest in the dry season, when the plant will naturally die down. You should then have enough to enjoy over the cooler months, plus some to plant back in the ground for next season.
Check your garden mulch and if necessary top it up with a 100mm thick layer of coarse, chunky mulch. This will help protect the ground during coming heavy rains.
The wet season is a great time to get a compost heap going, as the high humidity and consistent warmth speeds things along nicely. Layer up dry material such as hay, plus garden prunings, lawn clippings, manure and weeds. The soil-borne bacteria plus critters such as worms will soon get to work breaking down the organic matter into a rich, nutrient-dense treat for your plants.
High humidity also makes for more successful propagating. Take cuttings from the green tips of the parent plants, a couple of leaf nodes down from the top. Cleanly snip off the bottom leaves. It is helpful to use a hormone powder to stimulate root growth and help protect the open end of the cutting from infection. Plant your cutting in a pot, or some may even thrive straight in the ground.
Keep weeds at bay and dig them in before seeds set to minimise the impact and work later on.
Fertilise regularly with a natural, organic liquid feed, but try to avoid synthetic fertilisers. Heavy rains quickly leach fertilisers away, meaning the chemicals end up in groundwater and waterways.
The wet season is mango season. Enjoy these golden beauties throughout the warmer months. They are super versatile, lending their sweet flavour beautifully to chicken and prawn dishes or chopped through a salad. They are delicious caramelised on the barbeque or whizzed through smoothies. The best way to eat them though – just as they come.