Green thumbs?

  • Saludos!


    I’m wondering if there are any gardeners on the forum. If so, what do you grow? Where are your favorite places for supplies, seeds, compost, fertilizer, earthworms, etc? Any interest in seed exchanges? I know of one other gardener in the expat community (London2baires).


    I’ve recently started some seedlings in the US soon to be transferred to raised beds on the terrace, which gets full sun for 8-10 hours. Since we travel for several months per year, these raised beds are portable per .3 square meter (total of 0.3 X 3 meters in total) and several large pots. My family will graciously take them in and benefit from their harvest while we are away.


    I’ve started kale, oregano, sweet potato slips, and basil. Currently in germination are sugar snap peas and spaghetti squash. Next up for germination are marjoram, marigolds, rosemary, cilantro, wheatgrass, and peppers.


    I’d like to do some gardening while in Argentina, too, but have yet to seriously give it a go. If you do garden, what is your garden like?

  • We had a little veggie garden back home, but here we just have a terrace with lots of potted plants. The only edible things we have are basil, thyme, a kind of mint that smells like lemon (I should look it up), parsley, and of course grass for our cat.


    We live near Vivero Mario on Scalabrini Ortíz y Niceto Vega. They have a small selection of vegetables and herbs on the back. This is a city plant shop, and my guess is that you will be able to find greater variety in the outskirt of Buenos Aires.

    The Horticurtural Society of Argentina posts tips and plants, and also hosts several gardening courses from professional careers to amateur courses.


    What kind of garden/outdoor space do you have in Argentina? Rooftop, as well?


    This is our current plant list (and then some):

    • Passiflora caerulea
    • Abutilon
    • Jazmin del Cabo / Gardenia, Gardenia jasminoides
    • Gelsomino primulino / jazmin Amarillo, Jasminum mesnyi (flores amarillos)
    • Jazmín de leche, Jazmin de estrella, Falso jazmín, Jazmín chino, Traquelospermum, Jazmín estrellado Trachelospermum jasminoides
    • Jazmin azorico, Jasminum azoricum
    • Jazmín de Hungría / poliantha, Jasminium polyanthum
    • Pomelo, Citrus maxima
    • Crassula ovata
    • Crassula ovata “gollum”
    • Tomillo (thymus vulgaris)
    • Jazmin de Brazil, dipladenia (Mandevilla sanderi)
  • What a great thread to initiate, GMXam! And serafina, what an impressive list of plants! Although I inherited my Mother’s love of all things growing, I may live my whole life wistfully admiring other peoples’ gardens, since our work keeps us geographically on the move when in the US. And when in Argentina, the first half of our time is in weather too cold for growing much (pot garden on terrazza), so we’re stymied in both places.


    I’ve never started with seeds in BsAs, only plants. Would love advice on timing for planting and transplanting.


    Our usual lineup includes lavanda and some large, non-blooming, vining plant, plus romero, menta and albahaca (rooted from our corner verdulería long before available from our corner plant shop), plus some colorful annuals and geraniums.


    I’d like to learn from you both.

  • Nice list, serafina! I love jazmín. In Buenos Aires, we would be growing off of our balcony. It is northwest facing, so we get sunlight there for about 5-7 hours depending on the season. My plan is to create a raised garden bed on the floor of the balcony along the wall side, maybe 0.3m X 2m and the rest would be containers. The dripping air conditioner would do some of the watering via wicking system at the base of the garden beds. This would mean I could only place plants in the bed that like moist to semi-moist soil. The others would be in containers.


    I’d like to have berries, too, although that would require a bush probably too heavy for a balcony. I’m not entirely comfortable putting more weight than I can see my neighbors doing on our balcony. Visions of Mar Del Plata are not where I am aiming.

  • Thanks, Rice. I used to start with seeds (several years ago, when I was attached to Texas with land), but since selling my house I have shied away from edible plants due to my transitory lifestyle.


    I recently started seeds in a former wine cabinet using a couple of grow lights hanging over my seeding tray (see below).



    This particular light bulb is LED and emits 650 lumens at 9 Watts (not quite enough for growing plants but enough to get germination going). The light is placed 2-3 inches from the seeding tray. After 4 days, the kale has sprouted (the three rows of sprouts).



    The seedlings (image below) are today just shy of two weeks old (by one day). From left to right, basil, oregano, 3 rows of kale (these were all planted the same day... kale germinates within a couple of days and is pretty easy to maintain..very hardy plant, and harvest leaves every couple of days once fully mature, as early as 45 days), and a row of newly planted spaghetti squash seeds (will likely take a couple of weeks to germinate). These seedlings will have their first fish fertilizer in a couple of days. That will give them another boost for a week before I transplant the kale into Starbucks cups (not my addiction, but I’ll use the plastic cups).



    I’ll post a pic of the balcony set up when I get it done. Like I said, due to travel lifestyle, these have to be planted with portability in mind. Since we are in the US right now, these will take a trip to the family’s house when we head back to BA. I’ll likely do the same in BA, and ask a friend to care for them and eat or give away the harvested goods while we are away.

  • I would love to see a Monty Don’s series on balconies and terraces.
    As I am still in Mar del Plata with no DSL, I can’t share a picture of my terrazza right now.


    To be honest we inherited all the set up and just maintained what was already there. Our only additions have been herbs.
    Our terrace is narrow and about 4 m long, so we have long, squared pots along the longer sides, plus two big pots with pomelo. They provide small fruits twice per year and they are delicious.


    Due to this narrowness, we are bound to pony vertical plants. We are also trying to make an arch. To achieve this fast we had to pick the fastest growing plants available in the biggest size possible. Jazmin (fake, true, indigenous, foreign) is omnipresent in plant shops in Argentina.


    A friend suggested also cherry tomato, but I am happy we didn’t follow her advice. As it is, when the passiflora fruit start to rotten, ants come to feast with the seeds inside, plus the rotten fruits fall on the furniture’s cushions.


    But passiflora is growing leaps day by day, and we are desperate for leaves to have some shade in summer. I have to say that I keeping the terrace clean of leaves is something that keeps me entertained at least twice per day.




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  • Horticulture used to be my profession.....think that's why the missus married me!! :D


    Here out in the sticks we have the opposite problem in that we have too much garden to look after which explains why my enthusiasm for it has waned over the years since we came here to live permanently.


    It was fun at the start but I now refuse to grow vegetables as buying them is so much easier. Fruit trees are a pain in the bum as there are far too many pests and diseases about and spraying them regularly kind of defeats the purpose.


    What defeats me most is the heat....even a simple job becomes a chore.


    I admire your enthusiasm and wish you well.




    \


  • What’s your expert take on the issue of pesticide and vegetables, and veggie quality in Argentina?


    I am REALLY happy with the cheapness of veggies here. We switched to a plant-based diet since a couple of years. It is also cheaper!


    There isn’t much variety in a single store as back home, though. But I can eat a lot more fruit here.





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  • Can't claim to have a lot of experience in the growing or eating of fruit an veg...the wife constantly tells me I should eat more of both.

    My impression when I first came to Argentina was how awful the fruit and veg looked compared to the UK. However it tasted great. Now it mostly looks great but lacks in taste.

    I don't think it's all that cheap to be honest especially outside the main growing season. You're right about variety, it isn't guaranteed all year round.


    As for the use of chemicals. My main concern is how well its use is controlled here. Especially after seeing council workers spraying herbicide on the road verges without wearing protection.

  • Can't claim to have a lot of experience in the growing or eating of fruit an veg...the wife constantly tells me I should eat more of both.
    My impression when I first came to Argentina was how awful the fruit and veg looked compared to the UK. However it tasted great. Now it mostly looks great but lacks in taste.
    I don't think it's all that cheap to be honest especially outside the main growing season. You're right about variety, it isn't guaranteed all year round.


    As for the use of chemicals. My main concern is how well its use is controlled here. Especially after seeing council workers spraying herbicide on the road verges without wearing protection.


    I share your concerns and am worried by this article:


    https://www.infobae.com/tenden…tado-en-sus-laboratorios/


    Argentina has very progressive legislation, but lacks of enforcement on all fronts. Whether we taking of family law or health and education.



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  • I’ve recently taken to growing plants for eating which are easy to maintain, are hardy, and can grow in containers or smaller raised beds. Kale is pretty easy and harvested once a week when matured (a few leaves per plant). They’ll be sitting on a full sun balcony. I do have aphids due to treetops being near our balcony. With the expanding access of headshops in the area, I can easily find neem oil, which I dilute with water and a half a drop of soap to spray the plants. This seems to keep them at bay.


    I don’t spend a lot of time on it, so the time I do spend is enjoyable, thankfully.


    The issue with chemical use in AR is pretty sad. Mal Comidos, by Soledad Barruti, informs about the issues of lack of regulation and/or enforcement. On a personal level, I try to reduce the amount of chemicals I buy or use. I also try to limit buying from heavy chemical users...researching this is easier in theory.

  • I’ve recently taken to growing plants for eating which are easy to maintain, are hardy, and can grow in containers or smaller raised beds. Kale is pretty easy and harvested once a week when matured (a few leaves per plant). They’ll be sitting on a full sun balcony. I do have aphids due to treetops being near our balcony. With the expanding access of headshops in the area, I can easily find neem oil, which I dilute with water and a half a drop of soap to spray the plants. This seems to keep them at bay.


    I don’t spend a lot of time on it, so the time I do spend is enjoyable, thankfully.


    The issue with chemical use in AR is pretty sad. Mal Comidos, by Soledad Barruti, informs about the issues of lack of regulation and/or enforcement. On a personal level, I try to reduce the amount of chemicals I buy or use. I also try to limit buying from heavy chemical users...researching this is easier in theory.


    We recently went to listen to Soledad Barruti in Mar del Plata, where she was presenting Mala Leche, her second book. We still haven’t bought either books.


    I have a few plants/sprouts to give away, if you are interested. No veggies, just plants.



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  • On the subject of reducing chemical use but off the subject of plants, I’ve shared with serafina my Mother’s preferred remedy for kitchen ants: common white vinegar sprayed on the areas the ants walk across. I’m sure it doesn’t kill them, but it does a good job of repelling them. We use it on our balcony, and they choose another path to wherever they are going.

  • With a little help from friends giving us cuttings and small plants, our tiny patio is looking a little more vibrant now.

    I moved these cacti from a shelf that never saw any sun and since then, they've really come alive.



    I've tried all sorts of plants here over the years and the biggest problems have been cats and ants. Cats doing their business and ruining the small plants and ants stripping all the leaves.

    To combat the cats, I just put down loads of stones and made sure they were large and hard to turn over and as for ants, it seems that there's power in numbers.

    This is at the back of the house and the front looks a heck of a lot better too, ants permitting.

  • What a great job you’ve done! Gardening can be such a rewarding job.


    Our balcony receives full sun for 12 hours a day, so the challenge is to find pretty plants that can stand up to the heat.

  • Good job Splinter.

    Cacti and succulents do grow particularly well here without needing much attention. Bonus is they don't attract pests and diseases and can stand a bit of frost. We have some flowering at the moment. I shall take some pictures and post them.