Cuevano ~ Jorge Aranda

The Budding Gardener

At the gardenWhile Val worked on her term paper this weekend, I took advantage of the sunshine and mild temperatures to honor my name by working on our vegetable garden. It was exciting and a bit scary: I didn’t know if I was doing things right and I didn’t want to kill off our seedlings or sow our seeds incorrectly (I think I placed them too low… we’ll see).

Strawberry and lettuceI’m at the point where I’m just beginning to realize that I’m in total ignorance about gardening. I used to think it was easy; now, researching about how to grow food properly, I keep reading about nitrogen-fixing this and bolting that, about transplant shocks, companion plants, crop rotation, disease control, and lots more concepts that I don’t know how to tie together. I hear enough about these things to recognize I’m doing things far from optimally (I didn’t mulch the site last Fall, I waited too long to weed it out, and I waited even longer to transplant the seedlings), so I’ll be satisfied with a very modest crop this season. But I’ll learn fast—especially thanks to several friends who have been giving me plenty of great advice and seeds.

Spring sunsetI used up slightly less than half of our veggie patch. I filled it up with lettuce, arugula, kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro, strawberries, and two kinds of peas. The rest of the patch is waiting for warmer weather and will hopefully feature several varieties of tomatoes (including tomatillos) and hot peppers (jalapeƱo and chile ancho), zucchini, and edible flowers. I hope we’ll be able to share this with some of you, and more bountiful harvests on years to come.