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Hola from Southern Ecuador

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Hola from Southern Ecuador

Post  Cats on 1/15/2017, 1:10 pm

I am now living approximately 4500 ft 'up' in the southern Andes of Ecuador and we are in the midst of the rainy season - which is an understatement.  This area is called the subtropics but these days - if it wasnt for about 22C today - it feels more like the tropics. It is a cool day and I am enjoying this but it only just stopped raining about an hour ago and still overcast.  In the past 24 hours i estimate, from my variety of buckets, to have had about 3 inches of rain and my yard looked like a swamp just before it stopped raining.  It is a blessing to live in the mountains where water has no place to go but down. LOL.  and, I havent watered my garden in several weeks! There are special challenges to growing anything that most of you are used to so it is a learning curve and I am thoroughly enjoying it all. I am only renting but fell heir to several roses and a papaya, two areca palms and my high brick walls are bordered by a passion fruit vine, an ice cream bush and a monster avocado that belong to nieghbours.  Today i found three almost ripe avocados in my garden so I know what I will be snacking on in the next few days. The dry season this past year bordered on drought and some forest fires were a little too close - one extreme to the other. Anyway, happy to join all of you and have already received some excellent responses to a few questions.
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Cats

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Location : dry and rainy seasons at 4500 ft

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Re: Hola from Southern Ecuador

Post  sanderson on 1/15/2017, 1:29 pm

Hi, Cats, Welcome to the Forum. glad you\'re here Are you thinking of making SFG beds for growing other edibles? What gardening have you done in the past?

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SFG beds

Post  Cats on 1/15/2017, 2:10 pm

I have a combo of four 3x3 boxes, garden borders, concrete (seriously), and an old chicken coop with make shift raised beds.  Plus a lot of plants are in pots because they survive better in the rainy season - think Mediterranean herbs. SFG gardening is perfect for a single person not just families but, I have had real problems with beans, even tho it is something grown regularly here; tomatoes and peppers have been rained out/water logged, and garlic is nearly impossible- what is bought tends to be imported.  Huge success with any roots, squash and greens of all kinds.  the spinach you will find in the markets is NZ variety because N american stuff is hard to maintain for any length of time.  However a friend sent me a beet/spinach cross which I have seeded in any shaded areas i can find.  Not only is not bolting it is prolific and tasty. must tell you that this area gives rock gardening a whole new meaning.  the whole yard is stone and unidentifiable - by me - green stuff, especially at least three different grasses, local herbs, plantain - which i am trying to cultivate - a local weed that just keeps popping up no matter how much I pull out  and loads of oxalis (my ground cover of choice).  Part of my learning curve is the realization everywhere that I have uprooted the large chunks of a thick type of grass, in this season I have mud holes because there is nothing to drink up the water. LOL. In the dry season most of this ground cover was not in evidence.  since i moved to this place in May I had no idea what was coming!
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Re: Hola from Southern Ecuador

Post  sanderson on 1/15/2017, 3:16 pm

Very interesting gardening environment. I love NZ spinach. As a perennial, it survives freeze and 110*F summers. What are your "seasonal" temps. It sounds like you need a transparent rain canopy over the plants?

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Re: Hola from Southern Ecuador

Post  AtlantaMarie on 1/15/2017, 4:04 pm

Sounds challenging... And beautiful!

I have to ask: What is an ice cream bush?

And a beet/spinach cross? What's it called?
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AtlantaMarie

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Re: Hola from Southern Ecuador

Post  Cats on 1/15/2017, 5:01 pm

yes.  I need some bamboo to construct something simple over the 'mandrake' bed.
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Cats

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Hola from Southern Ecuador

Post  kauairosina on 1/15/2017, 6:35 pm

Welcome Cats

So interesting to hear about your climate and challenges.  Thanks for joining us.

Aloha
Kauairosina
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Re: Hola from Southern Ecuador

Post  Scorpio Rising on 1/15/2017, 8:12 pm

Hey, girl!  Sounds like you have some challenging conditions.  We all.  Love to see some pics!
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Re: Hola from Southern Ecuador

Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 1/16/2017, 11:28 am

welcome 
and hello from central Pennsylvania!
Relative to beans, have you tried inoculating your bean seeds with Rhizobium bacteria? I don't know where you can buy inoculant in Ecuador, or if it's even worthwhile to try if you haven't yet since it sounds like beans are something everyone else grows locally so I expect it's cheap/easy to get them from others. I don't grow corn for that reason - I'm in a more rural area and practically surrounded by cornfields so I focus on growing things are that are more expensive locally, or less common.
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you are right

Post  Cats on 1/16/2017, 11:51 am

It's like growing potatoes-  what for? - this is south america!   but i like a lot of stuff fresh from the garden - hense tomatoes and peppers and I like beet greens.  but, I am really partial to runner beans.  My scarlet runners grew but produced few buds didnt want to climb and then just collapsed.  I will be trying a different variety of runners.  I belong to a local beer/wine drinking garden club (the best kind) and we tend to share seeds for whatever is hard to get.  also, we are CHEAP so, buy a plant when you can get seeds?  Nada.  Seed shared would be like greek oregano because the local stuff is more like marjoram and un interesting.  same with Basil.  I have at the moment two different varieties growing and seeds for 4 more. Fruits, i wont grow unless it is challenging, like the dragon fruit and the inherited papaya.  there is so much variety and so cheap it isnt worth it to me. BTW saying seasonal crops is an education.  Mangoes are available en masse and cheap cheap cheap for only a few months.  Then, it is something else, so the educational part is getting over the privileged N.A. mind set of being able to get just about anything anytime.  Believe me when I say that "in season" fruit turns you off forever to the imported stuff.  I went home for a month and even the eggs didnt taste...well like anything.  and being given a rack of bananas or avocados from a neighbours tree, that day - heaven. I am pretty sure that those of you sourcing out real food or just living in the south know exactly what I mean. LOL
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Re: Hola from Southern Ecuador

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