My garden has really taken off in the past few weeks. The relatively mild summer helped by keeping the frost away even if it also meant significantly less and unpredictable rainfall. The vegetables I planted came up with varying success. Squash, Swiss chard, onions, green onions, tomatoes, beets, carrots and peppers are all on their way, slowly but surely, to becoming delicious meal items in the next few weeks or months.
I have added several things on the technical side of my garden in order to help with future production. First, using recycled wood and brick, I constructed a worm bin (above), called lombricultura in Spanish. With an underlying bed of dry, leafy material and kitchen scraps for food, California red worms can produce wonderful organic fertilizer in the form of worm castings. These castings are rich in nutrients that are readily available for absorption by plant roots. In a month or so I should have excellent organic fertilizer to add to my plants.
Also, to increase the diversity of my garden, I have planted several banana plants and a line of pineapples along the outside fence. These will grow and produce fruit in about a year or so, but in the meantime, the flowering fruit trees will help attract bees. And thorny pineapple plants work wonders against curious chickens.
I was experiencing some problems with erosion during large storms and watched several of my meticulously formed raised beds wash away. To prevent this I have used old soda and wine bottles, as well as scrap wood, to create more permanent sides for the beds. So far this seems to have helped hold the soil in place. —Mario Machado