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Growing Easy Veggies In The Hot Season?


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Hi Folks,

I've just finished removing a fruit tree trunk and roots from an area in the garden - we're in the

Chiang Mai area and have only moved here a few months ago, so we have no real experience of

things, as yet.

The area and soil looks quite okay and I'd rather like to grow some easy type veggies, such as carrots, kale, cabbage, onions and/or garlic - nothing exotic and nothing especially difficult. :D

We don't particularly want to leave the area empty - and we're not interested in using the area

for flowers and plants, which we already have in other areas. Too, we have sweet corn in

different places in the garden, so don't want to grow more of these.

I'm rather concerned about the hot season, which is said to be very hot and very dry in

these parts - though we've yet to find that out - and wonder if any veggies sown in

February (or later) would be able to survive the heat later on in the year. I'd hate to see any

veggies I'd sown wither away and die before I'd managed to get my teeth into them.

Do any of you helpful souls have any experience growing any veggies in the hot season? Which

veggies would you suggest I try - and what precautions (if any) should I take?

The new garden area is in a very sunny position, only getting early morning and late afternoon

shade, so it gets pretty hot there. :D

Besides that, we have BARE earth under some lam-yai fruit trees and it would be nice if we could

sow something useful that grows in the shade - to combat the weeds that we get all the time - any

good ideas? Something preferably edible would be nice! :o

Thanks for any help or suggestions


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You can grow most spring/summer vegetables in the hot season in Chiang Mai with the right soil preparation and regular watering. It's hard to find young starter plants, so sprout them from seeds that you can buy at Kamtieng plant market or other places. Try kan-nah (chinese kale), tua pak yao (long beans) on a trellis, teng-mo (water melon), or many other possibilities.

Prior to planting, dig in ample organic matter in the form of compost or aged manure. All the soil tests that I've done in Chiang Mai turn up extremently deficient in organic matter content, less than half a percent, when ideal for vegetables is over 5%. A simple material to use if you don't have other compost material available is Maw Din (soil doctor), sold at some shops in Kamtieng. It is expensive at 150 per sack, but for a small area maybe worth it if you want to get started right away and not have to wait for a compost heap to mature. Don't use raw, un-decomposed organic matter or it will rob your new plants of nitrogen while it decomposes. The organic matter will not only build soil fertility, but will aid in water retention for the plants.

A mulch on the soil surface around the plants will also help with this. The mulch does not have to be pre-decomposed as long as it's placed on the surface and not incorporated into the soil; rice straw or rice hulls or similar material will work.

The big key to growing in the hot season is water! You must stay on top of it. Water every morning and evening. If you go away for more than a day, arrange for watering of your garden.

PM me if you need help or need an orientation to Kamtieng, I'm in Mae Jo. Don

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Thanks for the very detailed reply - great! :o

So it IS possible to grow veg without worrying too much about the strong sun!

Yeah - we'll certainly try Chinese Kale (got the seeds already) - love the stuff - as well as other veg. :D

We're only trying to grow a few things for ourselves - I find too many market veg have been sprayed with all sorts of weird and wonderful chemicals. :D

Thanks for your good advice - much appreciated!


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Well, apologies for the rather short reply to your detailed post - it was 4:30am when I read it and

I'd only had one coffee. Never at my best so early in the morning! :D

Pleased to hear that veg oughtn't to wither away in the heat - as long as I'm reasonably careful

with the soil and watering.

Yes, I'd noticed (the hard way) that the soil can be lacking in organic matter - and we've started mixing soil and

raw(ish) chopped organic matter in places that we don't really use for anything - yet! That's more

to gradually get the earth in better shape than anything else - at least that's how we look at it.

We've got a whole load of farming stores in the area, so I'll take the g/f along to have a look at

what they've got, as it appears that you can get almost anything you want at some place or other,

according to the local people.

Truth is, we've so far only visited the stores to buy small bags and cans of seeds and haven't looked

at (or asked about) compost or dried manure - the wet stuff I'm keeping far away from! :D

Already noticed that mulch is used when growing almost everything in this area. Our first classical

mistake was to try growing a few things WITHOUT using any mulch - most of the seedlings

faded away, were eaten by insects, birds or whatever. Having 2 dogs that constantly run over

the areas we'd sowed sure doesn't help, either. Had a big problem with the neighbor's chickens,

too, that wrecked some of the beds - though now seem to have that problem under control.

Still, it was fun trying out some seeds and we got a good idea of what NOT to do in future. :o

Your post only adds to what we SHOULD do - and we appreciate the good advice.

As I mentioned before, we've only been up in the north for a few months and are still getting

the "feel" of things - one thing we've learned is that things are done DIFFERENTLY up here.

Thanks once again for all your trouble and effort :D


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  • 2 weeks later...

Things are a bit different here in Khon Kaen, but I did use to live in Phrae

You're probably too late for carrots without a shade cloth. I find September to November the best time to sow them.

Yes, kale grows well practically all year round and doesn't mind the sun too much.

If you like the Chinese radish (Look like white carrots) will grow all year and in soil low on organic material.

Cauliflower and Broccolli - I've given up on them, always seem to bolt. Maybe better luck in Chiang Mai?

I really enjoy leaf mustard and that grows quickly, but poorer soil will mean smaller and slower growing plants.

I've also found sweet potato a winner in all soil types, actually seems to improve the soil as well. You can eat the leaves and stems as well as the root. Leaves and stems good for composting as well. Once established, you only need to water once a week, giving a good soaking. Maybe twice when really hot. If you start to suffer with weevils. Start a new batch in a new area, rooting the stems, don't transplant roots.

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Hey - thanks for the info, much appreciated! :D

Yeah, I was already wondering if a shade cloth would be necessary for at least certain types of veg. It can apparently get pretty hot up this way and I wouldn't want to "burn" the veg. :D

Love the Chinese Radishes (weird, as I hated that sort of stuff when I was a kid!) but the g/f says they can't be used for much else than in soups - and soup is only on the menu in the cool season. :D Still, I'll try putting just a few down to see how they go.

I'm also keeping my eye on what the locals are planting (learning something at last!), but it ain't always easy to guess when the seedlings are small. A while back we were kept guessing as to what one local planted. Lettuce - no, kale - no, cabbage - no -- turns out he was growing tobacco!

Still trying to square off an area to use, but at the moment it's filled with gravel (from building), so now and then I'm sorting out the gravel from the soil - can definitely use the gravel elsewhere. :D

Also got 2 sacks of dried buffalo shit...sorry, dung to use on the area, tho ain't sure whether to just mix it into the soil, put it on top of the soil - or just leave it in the bags! :o

Cheers - and thanks


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