I have recently become involved with a friend on an urban gardening project in Costa Rica. I should begin by saying that I know almost nothing about plants and my friend/ partner certainly has her work cut out teaching me. She already has a beautiful garden, filled with both beauty and food that has been growing for some 6 or 7 years. The goal here is to up the food production and see how close we can come to feeding ourselves.
I have been talking about growing food for the last six months or more. I have watched a ton of videos on youtube and have read of people growing in all terrains, climates and circumstances. I guess I just needed a little push and that came when my friend Lalena asked me if I wanted to join her and help expand her garden. And there you go. I have a place to grow food and a teacher to share her extensive knowledge with me.
There are already tasty treats such as bananas, passion fruit, sweet peppers, cacao and more growing currently. So where do we go from there? We decided herbs were a good start so I went to a local grower last week and got 7 basil and 3 oregano plants. I spent Friday and the weekend clearing out a corner that was not being used. When it was ready I transplanted 3 papaya trees and planted 2 of the oregano bushes in between. We also moved 6 or 7 potted aloe plants to this area of the garden as you can see below. There was just enough soil left to pot 4 of the basil plants so I must head back to the local nursery for a bag of soil. We use this soil we buy to mix with the good soil Lalena has in her garden as well as the sandy soil in some areas.
We both lead busy lives but we are trying to devote as much time possible to the garden on a weekly basis. But as long as we are moving forward and continuously making progress, it’s all good no matter how small the progress might be. After all the herbs are planted I am not exactly sure what the next step will be. There is still a lot of cleaning and preparing to do. Our passion fruit vines need shoring up as they are becoming very heavy and starting to sag. We are hoping to get some wood up there to take some pressure off and relieve some of the sagging. These will stop producing fruit when the dry season arrives which is around the first of the year. We will trim this back a lot as we have 2 beds below where we are going to grow our lettuces and other leafy greens.
There is a lot of work to be done and there is also going to be a lot of trial and error, even though my partner knows her soil and knows plants. We agree that we will start by growing the things that we eat the most, which include tomatoes, cucumbers and spinach. We think tomatoes are actually going to do better for us in a green house and have plans to build one before the dry season. In the long term there is so much more that can be done on this property. We will dabble with different methods of growing and try to utilize all the space that we have available. We are excited to try some hanging plants as well as some raised beds. I will regularly update progress from the garden and hope you will check back in to see how it is coming along. We will try to offer tips when we can and welcome any feedback you might have. You can also see more of this project on my YouTube channel Raw Tropical Living. I hope this might inspire you to grow even a little bit of your own food.