I'm really taken with growing and consuming Kale in the cooler months and Sweet Leaf ( AKA: katuk, star gooseberry:-- small SE Asian tree which is deciduous south of the Tropics) in Summer, but I sometimes run out of green eats -- in part because I use these leaves in everything.
So I'm exploring Kangkong (AKA:water spinach, water convolvulus) which regrettably does require a lot of moisture to bring on. I also grow Portulacas but i'm finding these fleshy leaves a bit gluggy.
However, there's another option which I've started growing: Warrigal Greens (AKA: New Zealand Spinach) . The stuff is easy to grow and that attribute may have a little to do with the fact that it grows native and wild along the shoreline here.
Toxic oxates need to removed by blanching first, but Warrigal Greens aren't bad at all...and I'm saying that as a person who doesn't like Spinach or Silver Beet. I'm not giving Warrigal Greens the heads up just because they're 'bush ticker'. In the right recipe they work (even though I still prefer my kale and sweetleaves).
This brings me to the core question of what I prefer to grow and what, for now, my garden will grow.
It's all about what I want to eat.
I'd like to grow a lot of different things but my soil (and my skills) aren't quite there yet. But here's my working list.
Kankong - Spring Onions - Small tomatoes - Herbs, especially heaps of parsley - Kale - Peppers (although not very successfully) - Sweet Potatoes (if I can keep the water up to them) - Zucchinis -- Cucumber - Warrigal Greens - Salad veg esp the chickories -- Chillis -- PawPaw -- Mulberry -- Chokoes -- Snake Beans -- Sweet Leaf - Figs - Pumpkin - Portulacas - Bananas - Gooseberry - Loganberry - Tomatillo - Eggplant - Leeks -Passionfruit.
Now that I actually can refer to my patch as bona fide 'soil' I can get down to the serious business of targeting specific plants in order to grow them well.
But hey! there's a lot of frustration emanating from some species: large tomatoes, Peppers/Capsicums, Strawberries,Pepino, even most beans. And 'quality produce' is not an across-the-board thing. My soil and I still don't trust one another to make the babies I yearn for.
But then in other related gardening news there is a 70% chance of an El Nino phenomenon this year which means I need to seriously work at drought protecting my garden.That means I gotta really up its carbon content in order to hold onto what moisture it gets.
That's my rule-of-thumb.So I'm really working on my honey hole recipes. Digging and filling these trenches seem the most efficient way I can introduce such matter into my soil. I'm relying on my worm army to do the menial work so I take the approach that if I keep the worms happily fed and fecund I'm ahead of any drought.
I'm also looking forward to late Winter when the Mulberry loses its leaves. Then I'm planning to cut me a lot of branches and strike them around the border of the chook pen as a hedgerow.My chicken wire frame (made from collected driftwoods) is protesting under the weight of choko, passionfruit and Madagascar Beans so I'm gonna grow myself a new fence.