January in Zambia


I have just discovered that this entry never made it onto the blog, so here it is with a few amendments.

I must say, on my return from the UK the warmth is quite pleasant here in Lusaka, but we seem to be getting around the same amount of rain as the South of England (much of which was under water over the Christmas/New Year period). The difference is that in Zambia the rain comes in heavy and explosive downpours, carried here by dramatic thunderstorms (which, incidentally, still terrifies our seven-year-old border collie even after 17 months of living here). Thankfully, my roof is now ‘sort of’ fixed. It no longer pours in onto the bed, and the puddles in the dining room are now little ones, not the lake that stretched across the whole of one wall. How long it will take for the men to come back and finish the job is anyone’s guess.

The temperature today is around 23°C/73°F, which is bearable in my opinion. Partly cloudy, but now the sun is out again, just minutes after a terrific heavy shower passed through.

All this rain means that the growing season is also in full swing, as illustrated by the head-height grass growing in many areas by the sides of the roads. It doesn’t mean, of course, that my vegetable garden is abundant. So far, having planted a bed of pumpkins and a more recent bed of butternut squash, neither has yielded a single vegetable, despite growing into giant plants with lots of leaves and plenty of flowers. Advice please, gardeners. Lack of bees? Oh, and some similar looking plants have grown up from my compost pile (clearly not a very effective compost pile). (Note 31st March: these are butternut squash which has produced one squash so far.)

The green beans have been good, I have some lettuce to harvest as and when needed, but tomatoes are still very small plants with no flowers, let alone fruit. Carrots are pathetic little roots with not terribly impressive leaves. So I have lettuce and green beans. Hmm.

There are two avocado trees which last year were a big disappointment but I am going to try putting the fruit in paper bags to ripen this year. Maybe they will be delicious…they look amazing. And the lemon tree appears to have died completely. It will need to be removed. I am very sad about this, as I bought special citrus tree fertiliser especially last year to try to save it.

One last comment: I am embarrassed to admit how disproportionately jealous I am of colleagues’ vegetable gardens. I’m really not a very effective ‘Barbara’ after all.


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