How Well Does Your Garden Grow??

I've always been intrigued by people that grow their own veggies and herbs.  A green thumb seems like such a great talent to have.  I love plants, but through trial and error I arrived at the conclusion that cactus seems to be what I'm good at growing.  They don't depend on me much and so our relationships have always been pretty satisfactory.  

Earlier this year someone forwarded me an article regarding The Monsanto Protection Act.  I'd heard little bits and pieces about GMO vs. non-GMO, organic vs. non-organic, etc., but had no idea what the commotion was all about.  After a little research I was stunned.  (Talk about living in a bubble!)  It just seemed so illogical what's happening with the food system when there is such an obvious problem.  And these toxins aren't only in the food we eat, they're in products we expose ourselves to every day by using toiletries and cleaning products loaded with poisonous ingredients.  What the....??

I've always considered myself a healthy person.  I'm athletic, I eat mostly a vegetarian diet and feel that I live a generally health conscience life.  But after learning about what's really in all that we consume, it became clear that unless a person makes some conscientious decisions about what they eat and the products they use, they are slowly poisoning themselves.  I wanted to eliminate these things where I was able to.  So, I slowly refilled my medicine cabinet with organic or homemade toiletries and started paying more attention to the labels on products, the food I was buying and questioning where it came from. While for the most part the agriculture industry here in Costa Rica is not saturated by GMO crops, many of the food that is available at the supermarket are products manufactured using altered crops.

The hubby and I decided that we would start a veggie garden.  We have tons of space and the climate and soil here are ideal for growing.  However, since I've never grown anything successfully, I wasn't really sure how to begin.  I starting collecting ideas and learned that it was possible to sprout seeds from kitchen scraps, which I found amazing.  I can start a tomato plant from the seeds that are left on my cutting board?  Really?  I can have ayote (Costa Rican version of butternut squash) by sprouting the seeds inside rather than throwing them away?  Yes. 
Cherry Tomato Sprouts

I started viewing just about everything as potential food to grow.  Curious, I attempted to sprout the seeds from the kitchen scraps of several types of chilies (Jalepeno, Aji, Rocoto, Panamanian), cherry tomatoes, ayote and even lemons.


I was so excited when after few days, there were roots growing out of the seeds.  Neat-o!!

Around that time, my beautiful friend Miranda started sharing photos with me of her amazing garden.  She has a raised bed and grows pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, strawberries, honeydew, watermelon, bell peppers, and purple peppers, not to mention some unbelievable dahlias!  She really inspired me out of the curiosity stage of gardening into the "let's do this" stage.  Her stuff was beautiful!!

Get Adobe Flash player

We placed our first order of seeds -- arugula, swiss chard, jicama (which does not exist here), edamame, wheat grass and some anti-mosquito plants, catnip, mint, lemon balm and marigold flower.  We started them in little seed planters and slowly moved them to larger containers as they grew.


Arugula, Swiss Chard and Wheat Grass

Cherry Tomato
I decided to do a raised bed garden like Miranda was using and asked my bro-in-law to build us two (we'll be starting off with just one).

We live close to a wooded area that has really good, dark fertile soil (says the hubby who knows these things), so we've been making trips there, filling buckets, cleaning the soil, and slowly layering the bed with the cleaned soil.

One day we went to get some soil and as we started, a tractor came by and offered a helping hand.  What luck!!

It's warm all year long here, but the rainy season is definitely WET.  As of a month ago, we were dragging all the plants out into the sun every morning and then heading home when it was going to rain to put them all back under the patio.  What a pain!!  So we decided to build a covered gazebo garden area with a clear roof so the plants could get light all day long, but still have protection from the rain (more of which is coming!).   It is SO nice to be married to someone that knows how to build things!

We also needed a fence to keep the doggies out -- boy do they love to dig!!

Hopefully in the next few days I'll replant much of the stuff in the containers into the bed. 

First flower on the ayote :)


Arugula and Swiss Chard

I love this new addition to my daily routine.  Every day I wake up, rub the sleepies out of my eyes and go out to check on my lil' garden.  It's so much fun to see each of the plants growing and changing.  Sometimes things shoot up overnight! 

I have more seeds on the way with the intention of growing the veggies we use most regularly as well as a medicinal herb garden.  We shall see how this all turns out...this would be a huge move up on the green thumb ladder from the cactus that I've had so much luck with ;)

Continue to the update...

No comments:

Post a Comment