Trying to grow edibles in the hot Mazatlán sun…

July 21, 2012

I have learned a lot trying to grow a few edibles in the summer here in Mazatlán.

1.  I thought that fruits and vegetables that like it hot would love the summer sun here.  At the top of this post you’ll see my pathetic little cantaloupe melon.  When I tried to grow cantaloupes in my garden in the Pacific Northwest I’d always yearn for a longer, hotter growing season.  Well, it can be too hot, for sure.  The little guy at the top was obviously way too young to pick but its vine died back and there was nothing I could do.  I think they would grow great in the wintertime here. I started these from seed in late May. The picture below is the same melon when it was growing. I had such high hopes for it!


2.  Paul bought some heirloom tomato seeds at our organic market and unfortunately didn’t sow them right away so they ended up hitting adulthood right when it got hot.  Of course this means they were being scorched by the summer sun.  Blossoms dropped and the fruit was scorched.  Again, we’ll grow these in the wintertime and not even try in the summer.


3.  Some plants like it hot.  The basil plant pictured above has been harvested almost to the soil line at least 4-5 times.  I have a freezer full of pesto, and always have all that I need.  It seems to like all the sun it gets on our upstairs patio – the only sulking it will do is when it gets cloudy and rainy for a long stretch.  I also have a sage plant that loves the hot weather on this patio – the only time it was unhappy was when a grasshopper was enjoying it as a sage salad bar.


4.  At the very last Organic Market of the season I bought an eggplant start.  It sat around for probably a month before I transplanted it to our sunny upstairs patio.  That’s it pictured above.  Another hot weather lover, I thought it would love it up there – and while it has quite a few fruits on it they aren’t growing very fast or looking too appetizing to me.  This one needs water every day or it droops and probably would be happier with a bit of shade cloth.

In the future I plan on only trying to grow vegetables and fruit during the fall, winter and spring.  Oh, by the way… that melon at the top actually had pretty nice flavor!  I’m crossing my fingers that the two remaining melons make it to maturity!


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More about Nancy

I'm Nancy, a US expat living in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Jalisco after 11 years in Mazatlán, México.

    1. Nancy,
      I don’t have veggies this year, but I’ve learned that the planting season is July after the rains start. Last week would have been good. I made all the same mistakes and then some. I had pumpkins mysteriously die after setting fruit and looking so very promising.

      Basil does well, oregano grueso (also called zatar) thrives no matter what. Mint goes along merrily only to die when the rains start. I have heard it’s because our rain is alkaline, but can’t swear to it.

      Anyway, it took me forever to understand the cycle here, and then we have atypical years to mess stuff up.


    1. Our basil is doing well, as is our tomatoes-it’s been unusually hot for Montana. However we have an infestation of cottontail rabbits so our beans are gone. We fenced our peas, and I put rubber snakes around the garden in hopes that it would scare the rabbits off. It was after that when they ate the last bean plant! They’ve kind of left the lettuce alone, thank goodness, that’s pretty much my favorite in the garden.

    1. I still want to try growing heirloom tomatoes here in Melaque. But that means staying put to do my farm duties. Maybe when I return at the end of September from my next trip.

    1. Hola! Enjoyed your article. My wife and I live south of Playa del Carmen. We haven’t yet conquered the secrets to home gardening on the coast but we are working on it! It’s always nice to read blogs from fellow expats!

    1. I think you are doing much better than I am. I thought when we moved from Patzcuaro to San Miguel I would be able to grow anything I wanted. Boy was I wrong.
      I couldn’t grow much in Patzcuaro because it was too cold and it’s SO much drier and warmer here I thought it would be great. Almost all my herbs have died. All I have left is basil, which is smaller and not as lush as yours, and some chives.
      All the plants that I actually could grow in Patzcuaro are struggling here because the sun is so fierce. I find that I have to keep so much of it in the shade and I don’t have that much shade.
      I think it will take some time to get it all figured out.

    1. Will Rosemary grow there – I am NOB but mine loves full sunlight and I love to use Rosemary and the smell is wonderful.

      1. Theresa, I am always surprised how different your climate is from ours. Our rainy season is the super hot season, planting wouldn’t work at all!

        Marty, No rabbits on my patio – although we do see the occasional cat prints!

        Steve, The end of September would be good timing for tomatoes in your area I believe.

        Rico, Someday I’ll visit Playa del Carmen, I hope! I want to see Tulum, Cozumel, Akumel and Isla Mujeres. Maybe next year!

        Shannon, You really have to learn all over again, don’t you? It’s crazy. Plus every lot in every town is it’s own micro-climate. Good luck!

        Sandy, I grow rosemary and it does great – the only thing is during the rainy season we put the pot under a roof since it can’t take too much water.

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