Saturday, February 20, 2016

Santiago Gardening (Finally)

Mango tree (left) and pink guava tree (right), both only about a year-old--
probably growing so rapidly because my compost pile is directly in from of them.

 OK, it's been a while since I had a real gardening post.  Actually, it's been a while since I had any post, sorry about that.  Somehow my "free Friday mornings" have been a little less free than I thought they'd be.  Lots of our days off fall on Friday, I've had to schedule appointments on Friday mornings, and, somehow, almost every time one of our kids is sick it's on a Friday.  So there went all that delicious free time I thought I'd have.

Anyway, anyone reading my blog is familiar with my unsuccessful attempts to garden in what I was told is some of the most fertile land on the planet--not a big boost for a gardener's ego I can tell you.  In fairness to my ego, the soil has so much clay I haven't known what to do with it and most of what is grown here is in ample supply and not the foods I want to grow (i.e., I probably could have been successful growing yucca or plantains, I just don't want to).

Some of my challenges have been:

1) the aforementioned clay,
2) stolen soil,
3) a bird that eats baby spinach and red beet seedlings,
4) tropical sun combined with neglectful watering,
5) heat (don't always feel like being out trying).
6) lots and lots of small rocks, intended to decoratively cover the land for I know not what reason,
7) rats in the area as a discouragement for composting,
8) and going back to work part time being closer to full time.

I basically gave up.  But last May or so, I decided that it was too depressing not to compost.  I decided I would compost and just ask myself "If I was a rat, would I eat this?" for foods I wasn't sure about (so, no grains!).  And now, after stealing leaf trash from neighbors' trash piles and lots of our own veggie and fruit waste, we have compost.  And the compost being added to the clay-ey soil (and lots and lots of buckets of rocks taken out) has led to nice garden soil.  So, hilariously, this time my need to compost led to gardening instead of the other way around.

So today we have (once again, I nust say) planted some seeds: kale, red radishes, french breakfast radishes, red beets, and tomatoes.  Not sure how it'll all do, but hoping to get something out of it this time.  Here are some pictures.

My newly planted garden--tiny, but relatively free of rocks and well-composted.  I'm hopeful that when these
seedlings come up, the netting will solve the seedling-eating-bird problem.

Palm leaves I had the kids drag over from neighbors' yards and then stripped and cut into
smaller pieces.  Awaiting sunny weather (we've had a lovely wet weather streak this weekend)
to get them dry for my brown composting material.

Baby chinola vines (passion fruit)

Our first garden harvest, a tomato plant with a single tomato.  Hilariously, this tomato plant was a
volunteer growing in our the strip where our garage door opens with virtually no soil.  We transplanted it
with little hope for its survival.  It is our first successful gardening venture here.  Abigail got to eat it.

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