Saturday, July 7, 2012

Mary Mary Quite Contrary (in Paraguay)

How does my garden grow?  I ain't got no silver bells or cockle shells or pretty maids all in a row.  But I do have tomatoes, lettuce, chard, leaf onions, head onions, carrots, beans, cabbage, garlic, peppers, and cucumbers.  Below is a relief shot of the entire garden.  What do you think.  Please feel free to send comments and suggestions about how I am able to improve what I currently have's good but things can always get better.  

My goal with the garden in the next few months is to create a demonstration plot from which I can start teaching the members of the community in which I live some techniques they are currently not using to create a family garden.  One of the major issues in which I live is people feeding themselves on a daily basis.  Here in Paraguay the climate allows one to have a very productive garden year round.  Right now with my garden I am perfecting my techniques.  Come this summer I will begin to teach techniques such as worm culture, composting, double digging, intercropping, and homemade pesticides so that people here can take control of feeding themselves and live better lives.  Or that's the idea anyway.  Much more difficult in practice.  


This is my lettuce bed.  The reason it looks like is has  smallpox or a bad case of acne is that I replant the areas I use every ten days.  That way there is always fresh lettuce to eat.  We are eating a lot of lettuce in my house these days.  This happens to be a relief as much of the diet here is based on meat and carbs.  I never thought I'd say this, but as soon as I get back to America I'm becomig a tree hugging, yoga practicing, hookah smoking, vegan.  Ok maybe that's a lie but I'm going vegetarian for a year.  I've eaten enough meat for three years in six months.

This is another more freshly planted lettuce bed.  These lettuces (lettuci?) should be ready in three weeks or so.  As I mentioned I have a lot of lettuce. 

This is a bed with chard, cabbage, and garlic to the left.  The chard is spotty because we eat a lot of it but it has been replanted.  The cabbage takes a long time to grow, like six months.  It is big and healthy but it has still not formed heads yet.  

These are my tomato plants.  This is my first time growing organic tomatoes.  They take a lot of work but as you can see so far so good.  The biggest thing I've had to learn is how to prune them to get maximum tomato frutage.  This summer I want to grow them bigger and better when it is a little hotter out.  


This is my worm box.  I use it to compost leaves and create a powerful fertilizer which I can add to my beds to get my veggies to grow big and strong.  I started my worm box in the fall so they are reproducing rather slowly.  But once the summer arrives and the weather worms up I am going to have a lot of fertilizer and a lot of worms and am going to make my worm box a lot bigger.  As long as they are not in your intestines worms are real cool.    

 This is a cow that lives behind my room.  He's actually a bull.  This is obvious when he walks away from you.  He's kind of like a the little kid that lives behind my tooth in The Shining.  Except he's a bull, he's not imaginary, and I don't have psychic powers.  Ok not at all like The Shining. 

This is a horse in a field in which I work sometimes  This field looks messy but it is actually very well done.  The farmer does not burn his fields, rotates his crops, and uses a composting method.  He is a very productive and hard working guy and I am learning a ton from him. 


This is my family's puppy Petiza.  She's a German Shepard.  We call her Peta.  She's beautiful but a real pain in the ass to train.  Really a good dog though. 

One of the things I love most about my host dad Mario is that he is a farmer, a carpenter, and a general pioneer in general who loves his animals.  He might have to raise some animals for us to eat but he loves his pets.  I mean he really loves animals of all shapes and sizes.  He is a very complex and hard working person and I can't say enough great things about him.  Here he is with his cat.  His gatito.  He's a really incredible person and it's an honor for me to be able to work with him and live in his house. 


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