martes, 12 de enero de 2010

Landscaping, Take 1

Even as the rain showers came less frequently and my plants displayed a thirsty look, I denied the reality of yet another long, hot Dry Season. I gazed hopefully at passing dark clouds, willing even a short downpour, a fly-by shower, a few measly drops??
Alas, observing the soil change from dark fudge to powdered cocoa I am face to face with my denial. Rainy season is OVER. Hot sun and strong winds parch the garden on a daily basis, leaving me (and the bike-powered water pump) responsible for all watering needs.
The winds are currently my most challenging natural foe. The charming screened doors we designed to encourage constant air flow are now ushering in more than just fresh breezes.
Each morning (and afternoon) fresh piles of dust, dirt, and loose plant matter remind me that my novice landscaping of the practically bare dirt area surrounding the house is, indeed, novice.
Note the whimsical lack of window pane

Scraggly weeds have sprouted up in unseemly patches amongst which I am attempting to grow more attractive ground cover, such as the clover-like maní,
whose hearty roots and cheery yellow flowers have no problem taking over my garden, but here display an uncharacteristic shyness.
Despite its green paint job, our chain link fence remains a monstrous metallic eyesore; AND fortunately, the ideal medium for climbing plants! While the luffa tackles one end, a strategically placed passionflower vine is winding its way along the opposite end.
I eagerly await its fantastic blooms and tangy fruit ;)

Other attempts at beautification include a nopal cactus wall:
Amazingly robust, nopal, or prickly-pear cactus, sprouts new "pads" when nestled into basically any soil; not to mention they are edible!
Nicaraguan cuisine, by the way, does not feature nopal cactus. It does grow well here, is touted as a therapeutic superfood, and with the help of a Mexican chef, tastes delicious!
So if nothing else, we'll be dining on farm fresh prickly pear. I am really hoping that the cashew, coconut, cacao, and guava trees will also prosper, growing to great shady heights & producing copious amounts of tasty fruit. [All of these are, at this point, tiny saplings braving the desert-like conditions of my backyard and worse, my fledgling landscaping abilities.]

5 comentarios:

tina dijo...

Wow! Those windows are most pretty. I grow prickly pear and my family thought it would be funny to buy me some to eat. I was not impressed but it was interesting.

La Gringa dijo...

I can make a suggestion about the dry, bare soil. If you have any access to ascerín (woodchips/sawdust) from a nearby carpenter, it works wonderfully as mulch. It looks nice, retains the moisture in the soil, helps to hold down the weeds, and eventually breaks down to feed the soil. The chickens love it because insects and worms hide under the mulch, which they scratch around in. Best of all, it's free. Our guy even delivers it to us because we are closer than the dump and he has to pay at the dump.

One word of warning, though. Don't use wood shavings from a lumber shop because they are probably primarily treated wood and you don't want to add that poison to the soil or expose the animals to it.

Look for a higher-end carpenter who builds cabinets and doors. We also use it as a base for our compost. I feel good about recycling instead of filling up the dump even more. It's amazing how much recyclable or compostable stuff is sent to the dumps.

La Gringa dijo...

I just read this website and thought of you. I think you might enjoy it.

Finca de los Perezosos

This is a man who moved to Panama just 2-3 years ago and seems to be having a lot of fun with his farm.

Liz dijo...

Gracias Gringa!! After a failed attempt at chipping our own branches, i am on the lookout for somebody else's woodchips! And i love the site you shared, you are so thoughtful, saludos!

La Gringa dijo...

De nada. I'm vicariously enjoying your gardening. I'm afraid I haven't done much in quite awhile.