Spring 2021

Spring is pushing hard and we can see it all around here at our place. The air smells sweet of tabaquillo (Trixis praestans), Acacia and Jazmin. It is full of flowers and the birds, bees and bumble bees are exited.

Deciduous plants like grape vines, pecan, guavas, apples and pears are pushing out their leaves. The mulberry, apricot, plums, almond and peaches are almost done flowering and have quite a lot of leaves. The lemon tree is fully loaded and has flowers coming along as well. Our lime tree seems to be flowering (please let it really be a lime tree!) and our always ambitious orange tree is about to burst. It reminds me a bit of spring in Norway where I felt like I could “see” the leaves growing day by day on my daily walks to and fro the museum. I did not expect this explosion here really so it a very happy surprise.

The veggies

We are still eating onions, garlic, potatoes and sweet potatoes from our last harvest so I am super proud and happy for that. We have also been enjoying the first asparagus and the artichokes are coming strong (they loved the horse bedding they got this winter I believe).

The carrots are growing too much. That is, on the green side of carrot growth. I ended up planting them in the greenhouse since the skunk would not be bothering them there, or so I thought. Duuuh! Magnus had to bang down an outer barrier of metal roofing scraps to stop it from entering, the sneaky b…. Then, just when the carrots were staring to look like there could be some hope, we had a rodent problem… Currently that is solved too, but we also had to put up the plastic on the greenhouse in order to have a place warm enough for my tomato seedlings. So now the carrots are in like a tropical weather and with way too much nitrogen so they are getting crazy big leaves… and no root. Oh well, better luck next time. Same goes for spinach, I just did not manage this year. I planted and transplanted and sowed and tried everything to no avail. No spinach either. But did I mention we have sweet potatoes???? Seriously, those things are amazing. They give almost no work and I get bumper crops every year. They are also super ground covers and even have pretty flowers and they keep really well throughout winter and spring. What’s not to like about them? We put them in stews, make gnocchi, roast them in the oven, put them in cakes, use them as subs for pumpkin in the typical pumpkin pie, vegan frosting, burgers… I think the only thing we have not done is juice and ice cream. I think sweet potatoes are MY thing. Ha! Ha!

Other news

We were extremely lucky to get visitors from Valdense. These are friends of friends but we already warned our friends that we might steal their friends. Are you following? Anyways, this is a couple of biologists who have been in the academia for many years and have now retired to tranquilo Uruguay to take care of what I understand is a place full of trees and plants and that I can’t wait to visit. So they have been following these blogs (Hi Pablo!) and were curious to see the place and then there were some beer bottles involved and the perfect plan suddenly was there. I don’t think we’ve ever had more interested visitors. We were standing by each tree or group of plants for hours and talking, talking, talking. It was super cool. I learned a lot, got tips on how to prune my apple trees and Celeste, who is an entomologist even did some homework for us and now I know that the very beautiful orange/yellow bees we have are not weird bumble bees, but carpenter bees, likely Xylocopa augusti. They are very cute I got a link to a nice pic here https://www.mnhn.gob.cl/noticias/xylocopa-augusti. It is super nice to hang out with like minded people who have been in science way longer than I have been myself and also until more recently (I feel like that was part of another life for me) and just take it all in, let all the knowledge flow straight into my brain.

Paid job

Work is good. I am spending more time there and that reflects in the low diversity of veggies growing out here. But it’s not only because of that, another reason is that half the area is planted with garlic and onions. Hopefully this time I might be able to sell some. Though the skunk really made a mess of the onions so we’ll see how much works in the end. Such is life for us onion growers.

Lavender, lemon, tiny palm tree and guava in the back. One of my favorite views

We are also in the process of organizing a much delayed second seed exchange together with my friends Jesi and Mauro at Caliu (https://caliu.com.uy/) so I will hopefully have some news on that respect next time. I hope it is at least as good a success as last time. I do believe it is extremely important to do a good job in keeping the seeds we have around alive.

Until then, enjoy, plant anything you can get your hands on, take time to watch things grow, and if you still have some time left, practice yoga 🙂

ps: sorry about picture texts, they disappeared when I made the photo galleries and I decided to leave it rather than spend too much time fixing it.

pretty flowers, plant those too!

4 Comments

  1. Hello Virginia! Your comments about our visit are more than kind and the enjoyment was ours as well. It is indeed a pleasure to talk plants with like-minded folks. Following your blog made me more than curious about your undertaking and to see it in person did not disappoint. I can’t think of anyplace else in the world that would have a combination of: expansive and productive vegetable garden, extensive collection of fruit trees, an abundance of espinillo (Acacia caven), a mud sauna, incredible beer, super-spicy and delicious hot-pepper sauce, ambitious construction projects, organic matter ‘gold’, and entertaining encounters with skunks, rats, and other critters!! We learned a lot during our visit and we do hope you’ll visit us soon.
    A plant-related question: is the lower right-hand corner image in your first collage of flowers a bridal wreath spirea (Spiraea xvanhouttei)? I think I’ve seen it around Valdense, but have not yet stopped to take a closer look.

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