Verdant View – September 2022

Garden Gentrification

I came to Mexico this last time, 10 years ago, from a small fishing village I moved to in California in 1982. During my time in California I saw that village change into a gentrified city, a centerpiece of commerce and sustainability. With these changes came astronomical increases in real estate prices, rental fees, and inflation. What the small city gained in modernization it lost in tradition and history.

I now live in Ajijic and experience a feeling of déjà vu when I look upon the changes that have arisen here in the last 10 years of my life. Gentrification is happening rapidly. Will we lose out traditions and histories in exchange for higher prices and more cars on the carretera? I fear we may. And with these changes we may also be losing our agricultural and garden sense. I’ve seen this happen in the small villages I work with east of Mezcala. So much so that we are now attempting to reintroduce organic farming in these villages as their old way of life has disappeared as modern culture approaches.

I always encourage people to do their part for nature and our planet. Why not design your daily lifestyle habits with the earth in mind? Save water when possible, eat locally grown food, and compost your vegetable waste. Why not become an environmental leader in your own neighborhood? The greatest threat facing our planet is apathy. We can’t just say “someone else or the government will fix things” when, in fact, the solutions are up to everyone. I believe we can build a better world if we work together.

Autumnal (Fall) Equinox in Chapala falls on 22 September 2022 at 03:03:01 a.m.  This date marks the start of fall in the Northern Hemisphere. After the autumnal equinox, days become shorter than nights as the sun continues to rise later and nightfall arrives earlier. The full moon that occurs nearest to the autumnal equinox is always called Harvest Moon. Around the fall equinox, the full moon rises around sunset for several nights in a row, which traditionally provided farmers with just enough extra light for them to finish their harvests before the frosts of fall set in. Normally, the moon rises about an hour later each night, but around the time of the fall equinox, the angle of the moon’s orbit and the tilt of the earth line up just right and cause the moon to rise only about 20 to 30 minutes later each night for several nights in a row.

What to plant in September

September’s mildness makes gardening tasks pleasant. The soil and air are warm but not overly hot. Fresh summer produce is still delicious, but production is slowing down. Garden tasks usually center around cleaning up the old garden and getting the new one started.

Seeds and transplants of cool-weather-hardy crops can be planted now for harvests from fall through early spring. Soil amendments can be collected and dug in now to break down over the winter, enriching the soil for next year’s gardens.

The rains are tapering off.  Look for Moluccella, Bells of Ireland. It may be hard to find, so consider starting it from seed. It has unusual green flowers, which when cut fresh, will dry and last for years. Also at the viveros: ageratum (in pink, blue, and white), kalanchoe, chrysanthemums, the familiar annuals: zinnias, marigolds, cosmos, and sunflowers and all of the plants that do well all year round. Morning glories are blooming now and some iris will bloom for a second time, as may some fall flowering bulbs. Now is the time to put members of the cabbage family into your veggie garden and also lettuce, peas, and spinach. Since our rains are at their end, you may have to begin a regular watering schedule towards the end of the month. Water deeply once or twice a week to promote deep root growth. Let the soil around established plants dry out between watering. Keep pruning, deadheading, and fertilizing, especially if you use a liquid.

September 2022 Issue

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Francisco Nava
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