Tuesday, March 20, 2007

It is very dry here these days - An update on my garden

The dry weather conditions here in Swaziland (see previous post titled “To make matters worse”) have taken their toll on my garden. Despite frequent watering, I am afraid there more shriveling than blooming going on. As you can see from the photos below, the peppers and basil really don’t mind the water deprivation. The squash and tomato plants have lost their leaves and have left but a few lonely edibles behind.

Ryan's hot peppers.

Ryan's bell peppers.

Ryan's basil.

Ryan's tomatoes.

Ryan's butternut.
While I can do without a bumper crop, I worry for the 80% of Swazis who are communal farmers and for those farming without irrigation (the vast majority as well).

As you can see from the photo of my sweet corn, even with some watering the stalks look unhappy. I have yet to see how the cobs are holding up.

Ryan's unhappy corn.

Unfortunately for the rest of the country, Mbabane tends to see more precipitation than the low-lying regions. I came across this quote from the agricultural field officer in the central industrial town of Manzini, several hundred meters below Mbabane in the drier valley Ezulwini Valley: “The rains stopped just as the maize crops were reaching the critical stage in their growth, where they develop tassels and the cobs enlarge.”

It is very dry here these days.


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