|My vegetable garden (mi huerto)|
I've noticed that expats usually follow, some similar stages of progression upon moving to Uruguay or any foreign country for that matter. It involves 3 steps.
Step one is deciding on where to live. Some travel around the country briefly, this is sometimes done on prior visits. A city, coastal area or the campo/rural place is then chosen.
Step two is that, once they have decided on the area they want to live in, the exciting hunt for real-estate in their chosen city, town or field begins.
Step three is hiring all kinds of workers to improve their newly purchased dwelling. Some enlarge their dwellings, others gut them. Nobody is ever 100% satisfied with them!
Once these 3 steps have been accomplished they need to start a garden, particularly a vegetable garden. Even people who have never kept a garden before, seem to have this compelling need to start one, upon moving here. Only then, do they feel truly settled! All of this, as a matter of course, is done during the first year of their arrival.
I followed these same phases as well but unlike all the other expats here, I never finished my garden in "my first year" here. I just petered out in my efforts. My vegetable garden back in Seattle, Washington, USA was very, very nice, at least I thought so! It had raised vegetable beds and gravel walkways in between and I wanted to do the same thing here. My garden back in Seattle was full of clever ideas, and speciality items.
|My ex-Seattle garden. Can you guess which 4 herbs are planted under the sign!|
|More of my Seattle Garden in the USA. Collard greens in the bed and Raspberry vines.|
|This is the entrance to my UY vegetable garden and why I needed to fence it in!|
Well, 3 years passed!
|Cantaloupes grow well here by the beach.|
They were a rousing success! I got 10 full sized delicious melons from just the two companion plants that I bought in a dixie cup from the feria.
I also grew Eggplants. I read somewhere that since eggplants were heavy feeders that an interesting way to get them off to good good start was to plant them with an egg, no-less. I mean a real, raw, whole egg! Just dig your hole and put the whole egg in the bottom of it. Cover with only a little dirt and plant your eggplant on top. Fill in the rest of the hole as you would normally.
|An eggplant grows well with an egg!|
I found out that you can grow lettuce in a fairly shallow hole. I had left space for a rectangular planting spot in among all of those cement walkways. I wanted to break the space up and grow something. Well, when I went to plant something there I found out that there was a cement footer just under the surface belonging to my neighbor's wall, I guess?
I also, finally, after 4 years of living here, added a clothesline in my garden area (other expats had already done that also, in their first year). I tried my hand at drying clothes with pure solar power, THE SUN!!. There is an art to that because depending on the weather it's not always successful (drying clothes in the rain doesn't seem to work, LOL)
Clothes and towels get stiff, scratchy and hence itchy when lined dried. To prevent that, several suggestions are to hang them up during the cooler parts of the day and to use vinegar in your rinse water when washing them (it doesn't leave an odor). Right before you hang items up, give them a good shake and rub or roll them to loosen up the fibers, then hang them up. Whew, I never knew about all of this preparation. Of course, some men like rough scratchy towels to dry off with. If you're one of them, just hang them!
|My Uruguayan Huerto/Vegetable garden is enclosed with wire fence.|
My garden is enclosed with wire. In all these years, I have had to lift away a panel of heavy wire to go in and out of the garden. So I hired some Hierro/iron guys to build me a gate. They are different guys then the ones who did my trash can. Those guys wanted to charge me 6800 pesos and I believe they would have hung the gate on the existing wooden posts (logs really). I thought that price was a little high.
|The phone number had nothing to do with the poster.|
When two people arrived at my house, I was pleased that they were quite professional considering their street sign, they even handed me a preprinted flyer.
These two were also a father and son firm, Nuñez is their last name. They wanted to include the installation of new metal posts in their price and remove the old wooden ones. That got me interested and so I asked them, to also include, the cost of another fixed panel next to the new gate. That would allow me to remove more of the wire fence so that the new gate wouldn't look so tacky butting up against the old wire.
|old wire fence gate. Just a panel lifted on and off to get into the garden.|
I am hoping that this new entrance gate, will inspire me to start taking care of this garden once again.
First, I will have to sweep up the walkways, then pressure wash the walls again and of course, buy more dirt, plants and finally plant an even bigger garden. Maybe, next year!
Okay, I admit it, I like garden designing more than actually gardening, you caught me!