Tag: gardening

My squash garden

Some time ago, after preparing a calabacín (here butternut squash, not zucchini) for dinner, I took the “guts” with the seeds, threw them in some dirt in a flower pot, and said dare you to grow!

They took up the dare, and before too long I found myself having to replant 35 seedlings.

Of the five or six I planted alongside the house, only one appears to have survived.

Butternut squash seedling

And I notice we have a volunteer avocado tree there as well, which needs a better location.

avocado seedling

A few months ago, when we had avocados daily, I tried starting quite a few of the seeds. None took. So here’s one apparently spilled out of the “compost” barrel (which never gets hot enough to actually compost anything), thriving.

This is why I don’t take gardening too seriously. If things want to grow, they grow. If I want them to grow, well, maybe. Still: time to get those babies into the ground!


Badgers badgers mushrooms mushrooms

Teacher Pilar (our neighbor in the campo) measures out mycelium and shows us how to do mushroom farms in bags. Cool stuff!!

Well, OK, no badgers. Our last organic gardening class was all about growing mushrooms. In a plastic bag, I placed alternating layers of boiled wheat straw, and two types of white gunk of ‘shroom spores (because, given the choice of one or the other type of edible mushrooms, I replied “yes”), inoculated in wheat and sorghum.

Mycelium? I’ll get up to speed on this.

The problem is that now, equivalent of early December for you northern-hemispherians, trying to maintain germination temp of20-24°C (68-75.2°F) inside your single-brick uninsulated Uruguayan house presents, um, challenges.

I have found a solution, but it won’t arrive in time for this batch: ebay > temperature controllers > free shipping from Hong Kong / China. Build a little insulated enclosure, connect an incandescent light bulb inside to the TC and chau (ciao in Italian), let the electronics do the heavy lifting.

Worth pursuing: while any mushrooms (much less fresh) were scarce here when we arrived five years ago, you can usually buy fresh now, but freaking expensive.

The exercise triggered an avalanche of other “project” ideas: aquaponics, which involves in my case explorations of solar panels and related electronics (again, eBay), since interruption of grid electricity in the country is not an emergency in the eyes of those who fix it. Fish make for awesome fertilizer, but I don’t really want fish I’m raising to eat to become soil amendments because of an electrical outage.

One of these days I may actually DO something. Stay tuned 😉

Lazy gardening

The garden was totally nonproductive this summer. Horrible weather.

But so what. Throw the base of green onions in some water, even without roots, and they’re off and running in a couple days.

Here they are in dirt, between “recycled” bok choy in the foreground and a broccoli stem in the background (we’ll see). We may get a few green peppers, but meanwhile the only garden success are the very hot peppers on the left, called infierno negro (black hell) where they’re sold (they go from green to black to red), and otherwise known as puta parió, which sort of translates as “son of a whore.”

Not sure why they even grow them; generally anything spicier than black pepper is anathema to the Uruguayan palate.

My volunteer garden

zapallo squash growing in Uruguay

A monster zapallo plant spreads like crazy behind the chiquero, or pig pen.

At least I think it’s the same type as last years’ monster squash, which you may recall grew everywhere.


Poking around, I found this phallic offering concealed amongst the leaves. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be this shape, or if it’s a small round squash that decided to get long, or if it’s a monster squash in its infancy. Given that confusion, there’s only one thing to do: cook it.