Year of the House, Garden and House Construction Update

Happy New Year! Our new year was brought in with lots of loud powerful fireworks shot off by various neighbors. Exploding fireworks are illegal in Costa Rica, but as with so many other laws it is not enforced. From the sounds of the explosions one can purchase way more powerful fireworks here than were available to buy in Seattle.

amaranth flower
It's been a while since I posted about my gardening experiments. This is a picture of amaranth flowers which are going to seeds. I bought some black amaranth at the organic market and planted the seeds. They were easy to grow and we enjoyed the young leaves in salads. The bugs didn't devour these plants so I will be sure to grow more. I grew some chia plants and those also did well. When touched, the chia plant has an aroma that bugs do not like. Because of that they grew very well here. I plan to grow more and look forward to eating the seeds in my morning yogurt.

enclosed vegetable gardenThe new screened in gardening area is doing pretty good, but it's not as easy as I hoped for. After we initially screened in the garden, inside were hundreds of bugs. I want to garden organically, so I did my best to squish all the bugs I could by hand. I was able to wipe out one type of flying beetle, but soon after that the grasshoppers took over. I really missed having my bird and lizard buddies around to help me with bug control. I ended up spraying the area with a chili, garlic and mineral oil spray which did the trick. Next came the rainy season. While the amount of rain inside the structure was reduced, the water tended to collect on the bamboo roof structure and to drip in the dirt below it, creating ravines where nothing could grow. I ended up planting around those areas. Now that the dry season is here I am able to use the entire area for planting. I tried sowing some seeds directly in the ground but soon discovered that there were a handful of crickets living under ground that came up at night to eat the seedlings. I think I have killed most of the crickets and will try again to plant some seeds directly in the ground. Currently I'm growing three types of basil, tomatoes, yard long green beans, scallions, collards, chard, kohlrabi, cilantro, radish, fennel and cabbage. While this setup is a little challenging, it seems to be easier than gardening out in the open.

Puriscal house construction
I can now safely say that 2012 will be the year of the house for us. The crew is installing the tile and getting the window openings ready to be measured so that the windows can be ordered. We are still happy with how the project is moving forward.