Tag Archives: gardening

Greenhouse and Backyard

About a month ago, I noticed that they were opening up a road in San Lucas, a little town near us. I mentioned that it would be really nice if we could have some of that lovely black dirt to fill in our backyard. So my husband made a deal with the dump truck drivers. Two loads of rock-less dirt, $100 pesos a load, delivered right to our front door. Awesome.

He and my son spent several days moving the dirt one wheelbarrow at a time. The dirt is still bound together in bit clods yet but we expect once rainy season starts, that will fix itself. We added an apple tree, a lime tree, an avocado tree and a papaya tree to our mini-huerta (orchard). The chickens ate all the leaves off the papaya tree within the hour. Then Lil’ pup gnawed the trunk to the ground. So much for that tree.

Since the chickens are always a problem in the backyard no matter how many lectures I give them on not eating the plants, I thought we could make an upstairs porch specifically for plants. Therefore, that was the next project.

My husband and son made steps down to the area that had once been Joey’s roof. Then they did one full wall and two half-walls to enclose the area in. The herrero (ironworker) who made the solar panel base made two sets of bars for the front. I think we might get two more for the other side eventually because I’m still not happy with our security updates.

For the roof my husband wanted to put regular laminas (corrugated tin) but I insisted that for the good of the plants we needed the clear ones. Of course, they cost more. So we went to Salvatierra to a lamina warehouse to get them at a reduced rate. We got enough laminas to cover the area of 4 meters x 7 meters for $3000 pesos. Up they went.

Then another load of dirt to fill in the planting area. It’s still quite bare as we are waiting for the rainy season to plant more. Although the chickens won’t be able to get at these plants, Kitty has decided that this area was made for her exclusive use. She’s been laying on my strawberry plant and beneath the grape plant and using the other side as a litter box. This is infuriating to my husband. Now he knows how I feel about the chickens!

The last outdoor updates were the sidewalk from the backdoor to the animal area and the path to the ajibe (water storage area). I’ve been asking my husband for 10 years to made a walkway so that in the rainy season we can get to one area to another without tromping through the mud which is then tromped through the house. He finally did.

The chickens believe that this is their personal superhighway now. I think it’s time to reduce the flock. Chicken soup anyone?

The path to the ajibe he made from pieces of sidewalk that had been dumped in La Yacata. Works for me!

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Grow Your Own Food Workshop

let's grow

You know I’m all about free education.  Here’s yet another opportunity you won’t want to miss!

The Grow Your Own Food Workshop hosted by SRS Online Events starts on April 3.  

Over 15 Master Gardeners will be teaching:

  • ​​Seed Saving
  • Companion Planting
  • ​Vertical Gardening
  • ​Composting
  • Growing ​Herbs
  • Raised Bed Gardening
  • ​Vermicomposting
  • Gardening Basics
  • Basics of Organic Gardening
  • Growing ​3 Medicinal Herbs
  • Growing A Year’s Worth Of Food
  • ​Growing Tropical Plants
  • Which Gardening Method Is Best For You
  • Getting Started With Hydroponics
  • Starting Seeds Indoors

…and MORE!!!

If register now you’ll also get a Grow Your Own Food Quick Start Guide and Planning Calculator just for signing up. Since it’s free, what have you got to lose?  Register here.

I think the best part of these online workshops is that you can pick and choose the topics that most interest you.  Don’t worry, I’ll be reviewing my favorites down the line in case you aren’t able to attend. But my favorites might not be what you are interested in.  Sign up for FREE access.  I know I’m looking forward the event! 

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Failing at Container Gardening

Just because my husband decided not to plant this year, didn’t mean we had to go without organic, home-grown goodies. Now that the roof was up, I thought I might fill it with potted plants, maybe hang a hammock and create my own tropical, and edible, paradise.

seed starters

I started seeds indoors in toilet paper tubes during Spring break. My husband came home with egg cartons he picked up somewhere, and I used them too. I used the plastic tops to cakes we bought over the past year to keep water from getting all over. Obviously, I’d been planning my planting smorgasbord for some time.

We have rich, black dirt in La Yacata, so I didn’t need to buy any potting soil or fertilizer. However, using natural, unprocessed dirt, left me open to surprises. While readying the dirt for yet another cake pan full of toilet paper tubes, I discovered a snake. No sir, it wasn’t a wriggly worm. It was a little black snake. After some hollering and hopping around, I managed to trap it in a cake pan and run it outside.

snake

Seeing my plant buffet inspired my husband to create a raised bed in the former pig pen. (See Miss Piggy didn’t bring home the bacon) I was delighted. I planted cucumbers, squash, beans, tomatoes, carrots, and jamaica (hibiscus). As the rainy season started in full force, my garden looked great.

cucumbersbeans

wpid-cam03280.jpg     wpid-cam03394.jpg

I bought more pots for container gardening and more plants to fill the containers. I hauled them upstairs to the porch area and put them into the sunniest location I could find. Unfortunately, I put several of them directly under the downspout and the first rain washed the pots clean, seeds, dirt and all.

lavender

eucalyptus

I bought some eucalyptus too, to go with my lavender plant. I’d like to have a full-fledged herb garden eventually. The lavender is still going strong, but the eucalyptus dried out. I gathered the dried leaves anyway and stored them alongside my feverfew from last year. (See Feverfew Tea)

chickens in the plants

Will you look at that? Mama hen and chicks caught in the vegetables!

One day, I went outside to check on the plants in the raised bed and found it nearly completely destroyed. At first, I thought it might have been the rain. Then, I thought maybe the destruction had been caused by the cats. Devil has been sighted lounging among the plants enjoying his afternoon cucumber rub. My husband insists that all three cats have been using the area as a litter box, but I haven’t seen that. I think the more likely culprits are Mama Hen and the Red Rooster. Mama Hen and her pollitos (chicks) are allowed free-range in the backyard. Being outside the animal compound reduces the chance of a little one being accidentally trampled by goats or horses and adds variety to their diets. Red Rooster is subordinate to Speckled Rooster in the pecking order and flees before him, right out of the compound and into the backyard. However, neither chicken had been given permission to forage in the area set aside for the garden. So much for cultivation.

wild tomato   wild bean

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squash

On the other hand, several plants sprouted without being cultivated. So far, the backyard has random tomato, squash, bean and tomatillo plants, along with the regular yearly explosion of feverfew. Neither the chickens nor the cats seem interested in any of these plants, so I hope they will be allowed to grow to fruit or flower-bearing stage.

garden

As for my container pots, the onion sprouts seem to be doing well, although nothing else has survived germination. I haven’t given up hope. I have a sprouted potato all ready to plant this week. I’ve also started some more jamaica (hibiscus) seeds. I’ve saved enough toilet paper tubes to fill another cake pan. Maybe I’ll try the cucumbers again, this time planting them upstairs. Although they are not necessarily safe there. Devil climbs the walls to his private bachelor sanctuary on the second floor. I think he likes the echo when he meows for food. He’s muy macho that way, despite his perchance for herbal rubs.

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