I have always had a passion for gardening which is something that I picked up from my Grandmother. As a young boy I usually spent my summers with my grandparents and my Grandmother was an incredible gardener (both vegetable and flower gardens). My mother also loved gardening and especially had a passion for "organic gardening". I can remember many a day spend out in her garden pulling weeds which actually was something that I didn't mind doing. She would often spend her evenings reading articles and taking notes from her "organic gardening" magazines. She had stacks of them and many were full of bookmarks and notes wherever she found something of special interest to her. They have both passed on but are always there with me when I am out in my Thai Garden with my hands in the soil working to bring seeds to life.
Essential Thai Cooking ingredients fresh from our Garden
So far my primary focus has been on planting what I call "essential Thai cooking ingredients" which include Thai chili's, lemongrass, Thai basil, kaffir lime, eggplant, cilantro (corriander) and your standard garden greens. My wife is Thai and I must say that she is an excellent cook. She is very appreciative of being able to go out into our garden and pick the produce she needs fresh just prior to cooking. You can view cooking demonstration videos where she shares her "Issan" style of cooking traditional Thai dishes by visiting our Video Collection.
My wife "Natthanan" (Rose), supervising me while I am planting new garden seeds!
On the new "Ken's Thai Garden" video channel you will be able to follow the process and progress as I design, build, plant and maintain my Thai Garden. I am not new to gardening but definitely new to gardening in Thailand and it is a whole new world here which means that a lot of my gardening practices from back in the States don't/won't work here. Especially when it comes to planting times and growing season... What I have come to learn is that pretty much the entire year is the growing season. The only minor exception to that is the "cool" season which is typically from November to February. Things still grow during the "cool" season but are a little slower to mature.
Thailand has three "Official Seasons"
I live in the "Issan" region (Northeast Thailand) and the seasons are typically as listed below:
Hot Season: March - May with April typically being the hottest month of the year
Wet Season: June - October (aka: monsoon season) when we frequently experience great afternoon/evening thunderstorms
Cool Season: November - February when the night time lows can dip into the low 60's and highs are in the mid-upper 80's.
By the beginning of December it is typically very dry here and the garden requires frequent watering and plant growth slows down to a crawl. You can still plant and produce fresh vegetables but I have found that it takes about twice as long for the plants to reach productive maturity during this time of year. It is also important that you provide adequate mulching to help hold the moisture around the plants and minimize the need for frequent irrigation.
At the moment as I am writing this article(mid-February) we have already stepped into the hot season a little earlier than last year. Our current temperatures range from the mid 70's at night and upper 90's in the afternoons with no rain in sight. I am now watering two times a day even with good organic soil and mulching. I have learned that planting cucumbers in the sunny parts of the garden doesn't work this time of year and most of my plants have died off even with heavy watering. I did plant some along a shaded wall which are thriving and producing great cucumbers. All part of the learning curve!
Garden in Mid-February
Videos, Photos and Social
I have been posting video "shorts" documenting the progress as I layout my garden beds and continue with my planting. Most of my video clips and photos are first posted on Twitter and Facebook so please be sure and follow us on both accounts keep up with the progress!
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