Mexico Connect
Forums  > Areas > Jalisco's Lake Chapala Region


larrys

Jul 13, 2006, 3:27 PM

Post #1 of 17 (2110 views)

Shortcut

Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
What vegetables grow well in the Chapala area?



jaybear

Jul 15, 2006, 5:23 AM

Post #2 of 17 (2020 views)

Shortcut

Re: [larrys] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
Well, judging by the crops planted along the Ajijic-Chapala hwy: squash and corn are big successes. (We love the round zucchinis we get in the markets around this time, altho the variety you see along the hwy is not zucchini. The corn along the hwy. and up the mtn. is mostly NOT what we eat in the US, tho, and corn cross-polinates, so it is hard to grow anything but the local variety.)

The ACA (GG's Market) in Jaltepec, which is just east of Jocotepec on the north side of the road, has been investigating this question for years, and you can get a lot of advice by going out and asking. They give tours of the plantings at the farm and have been training Mexicans to use organic methods for vegetable growing for many years. The tours and advice are free, but they welcome donations.

One of the problems here is the lack of seeds and root stock. The selection of vegetable seeds is very limited in Mexico, and so far as I know, there is no availability of asparagus roots. Also no raspberry canes or rhubarb, and no choice as to fruit tree varieties, not that you asked about that. Some very large well-connected farming companies are able to import things from the US, but they do not share.

You will want to bear in mind that your pest and disease problems will be greater here, due to the lack of a winter frost to kill off these things.

It is said that tomatoes do not grow well here. (Hydroponic tomatoes are grown somewhere in Jalisco and sold at SuperLake, but I do not know where the farm is.) My husband and I were having a discussion on the tomato question last night, and I am feeling that a tomato experiment is going to happen for us one of these days. If someone has successfully grown tomatoes here on the north shore of Lake Chapala, PLEASE WRITE IN WITH ADVICE!

Here is what we proposed about tomatoes:
1. If we start the seeds under lights in, say, January, then the plants could be set out in late March when the days grow long and the weather warms up to tomato-level.
2. The sun is extremely strong here, so we are thinking that a thin veiling of net might be advisable in the midday sun, to keep the blossoms and fruit from drying up, the skins thickening, blossom-end rot, etc.
3. In case there is something in the soil here that does not like tomatoes, we are thinking that a raised bed is best. Easier to control moisture that way, as well. (Soil testing is available thru one of the universities in the area, but I don't have details and don't know if they do this for amateur gardeners.)
4. We think that the tomatoes need to be harvested BEFORE the rainy season hits; otherwise, they will tend to rot from the excess moisture. Also, we think they will not do well in Nov-Feb when the temps are lower.
5. We think that cherry and Italian prune tomatoes will probably be easier to raise than beefsteak, but some of us do not like those little tomatoes, so we will probably try the beefsteak if we try anything.

Can we have some discussion about this, backyard farmers?

JayBear


larrys

Jul 15, 2006, 5:49 AM

Post #3 of 17 (2013 views)

Shortcut

Re: [jaybear] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
Would a hot house work for the tomatoes ? My grand parents were Sicilean truck
farmers and every year their field was covered in tomatoes. It's hard to imagine
a garden without the smell of tomatoes ripening on the vine.


Bubba

Jul 15, 2006, 7:46 AM

Post #4 of 17 (1989 views)

Shortcut

Re: [jaybear] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
We tried tomatoes both in our garden and in pots on our roof. We planted local varieties and heirloom tomatoes from the U.S. (Alabama and California) , France and Siberia. We tried three years in a row. The crops started well but were miserable failures. Those heirloom tomatoes that actually matured without disease and that were sweet and beyond delicious in Alabama and Northern California were overly tart and tasteless in soil bought hereabouts.

Locals in Mexico tend to favor the normally rather tasteless roma tomatoes and when other types of tomatoes are in the market, they are always a disappointment. One gives up good tomatoes when moving here. I think that the Mexican community prefers romas since they are normally a stewing tomato and raw vegetables are not normally consumed here. What is more pedestrian than a roma tomato?

Most of the hydroponic tomatoes for sale in such gringo markets as Super Lake are grown locally and in the Sayula area (although I believe that Tabasco is the major tomato producing state in Mexico) . Most of the tomatoes grown locally are grown for export and, interestingly, were available around here when the U.S. and Mexico got into a tiff a few years ago over Iraq. For a while back in 2003 we had the superior tomatoes-on-the-vine grown on large industrial farms in Sayula but no more.

Truly delicious heirloom tomatoes are absolutely not available here ever but it doesn´t end there. Many root vegetables, especially turnips and rutabagas, are tasteless or totally unavailable here. I don´t think it gets cold enough to give root vegetables their deep flavoring. I have never seen even one rutabaga or parsnip and these are essential ingredients for a fine vegetable cous cous dish a la Algeria, Tunisia or Morocco. Try to find decent yellow or green onions or russet potatoes. Remember the wide varirty of excellent potatoes available in markets in California? Finnish Gold, Peruvian Purple and on and on.

I am pleased that, in our new town of San Cristobal in Chiapas, the indigenous market is splendid with a variety or fruits and vegetables not seen in Jalisco markets

One does not move to Mexico for the food. One moves to France or Italy or Northern California for the food. One moves here for other reasons and they are damn good reasons. Expect your turnips and tomatoes and potatoes and beef and just about everything else to be tasteless or mediocre at best here. Good tequila and limes, however.

I have developed a real taste for the local seeded limes and grow excellent naranjas agrias, grapefruit and ponderosa lemons in my garden. The persian limes so popular in the U.S. are not very good in comparison with the local variety or maybe it´s the tequila.


(This post was edited by Bubba on Jul 15, 2006, 7:50 AM)


jaybear

Jul 15, 2006, 7:52 AM

Post #5 of 17 (1984 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Bubba] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
Bubba, can we have more details about your tomato experiments, as to soil, fertilizer, acid level, sprays? Do you know what your tomatoes died of? (Note: SuperLake now has MiracleGro potting soil presumably from the US.)

JayBear
"Don't believe everything you think" - Maxine

JayBear



esperanza

Jul 15, 2006, 8:39 AM

Post #6 of 17 (1967 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Bubba] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
Here's a chart that gives state-by-state data about the major tomato producers in Mexico.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com







Attachments: TomaGr02.jpg (51.6 KB)


skelleyhoutex

Jul 15, 2006, 10:42 AM

Post #7 of 17 (1931 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Bubba] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
Bubba: We, too, have lived in France and find the meat especially unacceptable, however, fruit and veggies are pretty good. We shop in Guadalajara where we have many more choices than are here locally. And they are a lot fresher than anything we had in the states. We have just about given up tomatoes entirely. As to growing them - there are, or were, last year, tomato fields on the back road to Guad. We watched people picking them. And I would not try to grow tomatoes here during the rainy season. The humidity or bugs because of the humidity in Houston killed the plants every time. We had to try and grow them during the winter which meant covering them and uncovering them continuely. Maybe someone knows the answer to that.


Don


Jul 15, 2006, 11:06 AM

Post #8 of 17 (1926 views)

Shortcut

Re: [skelleyhoutex] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
We find very good tomatoes at the tianguis in Sayula. They used to grow them here for exportation to the U.S. Now they are being grown on their properties in Autlan. They still have property here in Sayula and will probably return again.


Bubba

Jul 15, 2006, 12:21 PM

Post #9 of 17 (1910 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Don] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
We find very good tomatoes at the tianguis in Sayula.

No Way.


bournemouth

Jul 15, 2006, 12:43 PM

Post #10 of 17 (1907 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Bubba] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
Don - the only good tomato is one that Bubba deems good. The rest of us don't have opinions that count! Hope to see you back in Sayula soon.


Don


Jul 15, 2006, 1:59 PM

Post #11 of 17 (1890 views)

Shortcut

Re: [bournemouth] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
"Don - the only good tomato is one that Bubba deems good. The rest of us don't have opinions that count!"

What Bubba has to say I usually look upon it as humor, not knowledge.

I hope to be back home before Christmas.


jaybear

Jul 15, 2006, 3:24 PM

Post #12 of 17 (1866 views)

Shortcut

Re: [Don] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
But we digress.

LarryS wanted to know how to grow, presumably, a variety of vegetables at Lakeside. Now granted, in some of our minds, especially at this time of year when in the US the homegrown tomatoes are nearing ripeness, and visions of ripe tomatoes figure in our daydreams, there are some of us who envision "other vegetables" solely as an accompaniment to tomatoes. Tomatoes are central to our vegetable dreams.

I surmise that LarryS, being of Sicilian heritage, was thinking mostly, or at least centrally, of tomatoes. And I think that Larry and other tomato lovers need to pursue the dream, even if it is as unlikely to be seem at Lakeside as stands selling homemade blueberry ice cream.

SO... I propose that there be a Bubba Tomato Contest, with the prize going to the first person at Lakeside who successfully figures out how to grow truly juicy tasty tomatoes. I think that LarryS can call on the wisdom of his forebears to accept the challenge, and I will be glad to be a judge.

Go for it, LarryS!

JayBear


jennifer rose

Jul 15, 2006, 3:33 PM

Post #13 of 17 (1864 views)

Shortcut

Re: [jaybear] Backyard gardens

Can't Post |
In Morelia, which enjoys a higher altitude and a colder climate than the Lake Chapala communities, I've had no problem growing tomatoes all year around. The only problem is keeping the dog from eating them off the vine. My gardener does nothing fancy to start the seeds; he simply plants them directly into the ground.

I've bought asparagus seeds several times at the local nursery store, which is definitely not a fancy one, but we keep forgetting where we've planted them. Onion seeds are likewise available, and we usually have a steady supply of green onions.

The only garden vegetable which hasn't fared well is cucumber. We've tried multiple times to grow Armenian or Japanese cucumbers, but the vines seem to die before the fruit appears.

We do have raised beds, so perhaps that makes a difference. But I'm wondering if your problem is simply putting too much effort into your garden.


MazDee

Jul 15, 2006, 8:24 PM

Post #14 of 17 (1813 views)

Shortcut

Re: [esperanza] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
Interesting chart, Esperanza. Apparently 40% of Mexican tomatoes are born right here in Sinaloa! But are they all Romas, I wonder? Occasionally I find "round" tomatoes in the mercado and in the big supers, but they aren´t very good if you are used to wonderful home grown or the farmers´ markets it CA. In fact, I often opt for the Romas even for salads. If I can´t get the flavor, at least I get the color and suggestion of tomatoes, without the greenish goop I sometmes find inside the round ones. Friends here raise cherry tomatoes, but I don´t know anyone who does the others. I think it is too humid. The tomato farms are in a much drier area. I will ask around. Maybe I will bring back some seeds from Oregon next month and try my luck. It is a taste I miss a lot.


sfmacaws


Jul 15, 2006, 11:28 PM

Post #15 of 17 (1793 views)

Shortcut

Re: [MazDee] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
Why not try the hydroponic method, someone mentioned that was successful in Jalisco? I once visited a friend near Taos NM, much too high, cold and dry in the winter for tomatoes, and she had a cherry tomato vine that wrapped all around her kitchen window and was covered with red, ripe tomatoes in January! It was one vine, stuck in a big jar of water with some miracle grow in it. I've heard that tomatoes grow really well in water only.


Jonna - Mérida, Yucatán




skelleyhoutex

Jul 16, 2006, 6:57 PM

Post #16 of 17 (1717 views)

Shortcut

Re: [jennifer rose] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
We had a cat that loved tomatoes, especially those that we deemed inedible. What is it, do you suppose?


patricio_lintz


Jul 17, 2006, 9:38 PM

Post #17 of 17 (1629 views)

Shortcut

Re: [skelleyhoutex] Backyard gardens

Can't Post | Private Reply
Psyco-cat?
 
 
Search for (advanced search) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.4