Posts tagged ‘chayote’

Summertime at the BFG

August 3, 2014 at 6:41 pm Leave a comment


The Chayote is a vine squash that is commonly grown in California, Mexico, and other places in in the americas.  The fruit is traditionally eaten in a soup, or in a salad.  The tender flesh inside is similar to many other types of squash with a wonderful savory taste.  The plants grow prolifically starting in the spring and give fruit reliably until the first frost of the fall.  To plant one, simply take a fresh live chayote in the summer or fall and bury in the ground a few inches deep, with the opening sticking up out of the ground (see photo).  It should start growing vines in a few weeks.  Keep it well watered if it is not the rainy season.  Build a structure for it to climb on because chayotes don’t like to grow on the ground.

May 22, 2012 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

Wonderful Work

A wonderful day to plant starts and seeds! We plant both food plants and seeds, as well as, re-pot cactus and plants in our potted porch garden. This work requires those hard labor skills that we rested from last week.

Today saw the re-potting of our stupice tomato, which resides in my windowsill until May. We re-potted a beautiful cactus “de lujo” (a decorative cactus) and the Chumash yerba mansa. We seeded: trombetta squash, cabbage, broccoli, sungold tomatoes, crimson carmello tomatoes, and red & yellow cuorno de toro peppers. Meanwhile, in our earth, our favas dry and await their destiny as our healthy soil.

In terms of the rest of El jardin de la playa, well, our gardeners plant and seed many wonderful things. Don Domingo prepared the earth for an apple tree! In early fall or late summer this tree will provide: golden delicious, gravenstein, braeburn, and red delicious apples. This will be new adventure for our gardeners as we learn to care for our apple tree. Additionally, people sewed summer squash, winter squash and red poppies. These plants will sprout in communal and personal areas.

A sigh of relief follows these spring days of sewing seeds and planting plants. Our hopeful and hard labor maintains healthy ecology in our neighborhood. I rest my hat, I rest my head and hope for the future.

March 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm Leave a comment

Organic Farming in Awaswas

The first Spring storm cleared and the sun shone today. After the rain watered our plants for about a week, the plants receive the nourishment of the sun again. Many of the gardeners spent time cleaning, planning, and hanging out in our beautiful garden. About 23 gardeners work an individual plot of land in our community garden. Don Domingo Mendoza is the lead gardener and his plot glistened with life today.

Don Domingo worked his part of Mother Earth in a circle. A gladiola and Don Domingo’s water source, a hose and city water pipes, greet you before you enter the Don’s land. Don Domingo fenced in his land with various types of fencing materials. If you have been to Mexico, or to the land of a Californio/a, you will recognize this style of fence. Through the fence you see chayotes, frijol (beans) and maiz (corn).

As you enter, you should turn to the left to begin the circle that will guide you amongst the loved and worked Mother Earth. The largest, strongest chayote grows sheltered under the entrance’s awning. After you exit the awning (to the left), you see five chayotes just beginning to sprout. Above these sprouting chayotes, Don Domingo has built what he calls a “house” for one chayote. One chayote needs a ladder or awning to grow on. Further on, under the chayote’s house, onions thrive. The land to your right and center holds rows of beans with some corn.

At the North end of these rows, lives a potato or a squash. Just past the onions, as the circle turns, a rosemary bush and two lemons grow. As the turn continues to the North side of the plot, Don Domingo planted three tomato plants this year. If you have continued the circle, the tomatoes will be on your left and the rows of beans on your right.

After the tomatoes, Don Domingo planted maiz, then Mexican yerba santa, then maiz again. The walkway continues with the maiz growing on the left and the beans with squash and corn growing in the center. Daisies and gladiolas mark the Southern border of Don Domingo’s land.

After the flowers, you will see the nopal, an edible cactus. A path encircles the nopal to ensure harvesting of nopal and tuna, the nopal’s cactus, in the coming months. Another lemon tree neighbors the nopal. Then another nopal neighbor’s the lemon tree. Four rows of gladiola live in the middle of the circle with the corn, beans, and squash. An avocado tree now lives amongst them, too! Before you exit, you see the cabinets filled with the farm tools used by all gardeners.

As soon as you enter Don Domingo’s parcel, a sense of calm engulfs you. Working the land is tradition amongst many cultures. Don Domingo comes from and maintains a planting culture with ancient, knowledgable and sensitive roots. If you spend time with him, he teaches you a sacred way of interacting with Mother Earth and her beings. The land of Don Domingo humbles, teaches and honors you. In this way, we organically farm between the San Lorenzo River in the Monterey Bay, in the land the Ohlone call Awaswas and the Americans call Santa Cruz.

March 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm Leave a comment

Our Early Spring

The rain waters the seedlings, young food plants, and perennials today. Meanwhile, the blustery wind tests the strength of the young plants, flowers, and new fences. The humans rest today after two weeks of working the land.

Last week while the sun shined, Don Domingo swept and maintained the sidewalk around the garden. The foilage he found, augments his beach sand soil. The blue jays arrived in search for corn kernels. Young finches spent their time eating something the human eye cannot perceive. The humans provided corn kernels and other feed to the local pigeon population. The monarchs, swallowtails, and other local butterflies ate and fluttered through  out our land. As the nectar matures, hummingbirds feast. Hummingbirds and other birds also rest and bathe in the land of our community garden, El jardin.

Over the past week many gardeners tended to their land by cleaning the weeds, tilling the soil, and planting seeds and young plants. So far in our early spring, the following plants grow: indigenous maíz, nopales, various types of onions, beans, various types of lettuce, chamomile, comfrey, our perennial herbs, roses and gladiolas. Fava beans from the winter fallow remain on part of our land. The beans continue to provide nitrogen for our soil. The peach and plum trees blossoms fly and land throughout our land providing nutrients for the soil and beauty for our spirits. Also, our pines drop their needles to augment our soil.

Due to an extremely dry winter for our coastal redwood town, the gardeners planted a few weeks earlier then we usually do. Generally, we fallow our land in the winter due to the excessive rain fall of our location, a neighbor to the Redwood Forrest. This warmer drier year brings a hopeful promise of a larger yield of food, more bbqs, as well as, a healthy harvest of warmer weather crops. In addition, to our usual harvest of indigenous maíz , beans, summer squash, nopales, onions, chayotes, plums, and perennial herbs, we hope to have  stronger harvest of warmer weather crops such as: chiles, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelon.

All but one of our plots have caretakers. All of us hope a strong gardener can take over the neglected plot. In El jardín, we enact traditional organic practices. One fallow piece of land attracts pests, such as snails, and compromises our diligent organic farming practices.  At the same time, a neglected plot reminds us what the land would look like with out a garden at all –an ugly piece of land full of weeds! A neglected piece of land reminds us of the strong work we do. This land awaits a loving caretaker.

Our early spring in El jardín finds a friend in hope, promise, and hard work! As current food systems force people to purchase and consume genetically-modified-organism-food, our work with the land enables us to eat and live healthfully. We practice traditional methods of farming, despite the coercion of companies, governments, and non-governmental organizations, who force farmers and food consumers to use toxic seeds and food. Our work and our praise for Mother Earth, creates healthy eco-systems and food systems. Happy spring and happy planting to all of us!

March 13, 2012 at 5:13 pm Leave a comment

Winter Season

As the days shorten and the shadows lengthen the garden undergoes a transformation from a place of productivity to a place of rest.  The last of the summer harvest comes in the form of a few squash and some tasty carrots. (more…)

December 14, 2011 at 10:58 am Leave a comment

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