Perennial Plants for Heavy Monsoon Climates
If you didn’t know, know you do: it rains A LOT in Panchgani. Not during the year, just in the monsoon months from about mid-June to mid-September.
Farming is a learning-by-doing kind of work, and we hope that this short article can be a resource for others who live in high-rainfall monsoon climates like ours. So you, dear rainy reader, can leapfrog our learnings and start growing successful monsoon crops from year one.
Let’s get right into it:
The trees LOVE the monsoon rains and do the majority of their year’s growth in that time period. Virtually all of our annual vegetable crops, however, die back from the constant rain & 100% humidity. You will especially see your bananas and passionfruit vines BOOM.
We’ve come to learn what can survive and what can thrive in this intense period of rainfall.
Annual vegetables that love this season are potatoes and sweet potatoes of all varieties. Come monsoon, move the soil into mounds and plant out potato slices (that includes a couple ‘eyes’) or the cuttings of sweet potato vines and various local versions of that sweet potato vines, of which there are many! Ask your neighboring villagers :)
Perennial crops that thrive:
Gotu Kola, brahmi, mint of every variety, ash gourd, oregano, haldi (turmeric), ajwain, chives, medicinal panfutti (very effective for gal bladder stones), and various ‘spinach’-like crops that go by many local names, you might find them as ‘tree spinach’, ‘chicken spinach’ and ‘running or creeping spinach’.
In places of very heavy rainfall, you won’t have any luck with regular spinach, or fruiting crops like tomatoes, eggplants, or chilies. But if you trim back your eggplant and chili plants, they are likely to survive through the monsoon and come back once the sunshine returns.
We hope this was helpful! Happy growing, y’all!