Jul 15, 2006, 5:23 AM
Post #2 of 17
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?