Monday, June 05, 2006

The Real Dirt, in Chacala

Being a gardening-type person I have been doing some kind of gardening efforts every since I moved to Chacala ( in 8 days it will be two and a half years ago). I have figured how and and where to get plants: local nurseries, local street markets, neighbors and friends, growing from seed and from cuttings. And pots ((4 gallon plastic buckets with handles, for 10 pesos) from the street markets.

But getting good dirt has been hard. The first garden project I worked on in Chacala was with Aurora. We planted lots of pots and also made a big planting bed. Aurora's husband and some other family members went to a local streambed, called an arroyo here, and brought back a truckload of nice sandy silt. At the time I didn't realized how precious that truckload of dirt was. Later that spring I went to one of the plant nurserives near La Penita with Susana and Berta and we filled her Combi (VW van) up with burlap sacks of soil and plants.

When I moved into my housesitting house, I asked Jose Enrique to bring me a couple sacks on his way home from Sayulita, and he did. And then a friend took me and his wife down to one of the nurseries a couple of times, for pots, dirt and plants.

But it's still pretty hard to get gardening stuff. I finally figured out how to use the collectivo's to bring plants home: Chacala to Las Varas, then Las Varas to the nursery near La Penita, then shop, carry my plants across the highway, flag down the La Penita/LAs Varas collectivo, get to Las Varas, and catch another collectivo back home. The actual travel/waiting for collectivo's can take a couple of hours or more.

But the collectivo route doesn't work with dirt. The sacks of dirt weight about 60 lbs, and they are too heavy for me. Plus the taxi drivers don't care for the dirty sacks in their collectivos. It's hard enough to convince them that there's room for me and 12 plants (the most I can carry, usually).

But after weeks of agitating around about getting some more dirt for my new plants and pots , I finally got someone to drive me to the nursery for dirt and plants, (for money). But I didn't get enough dirt and I really wanted more.

And then !!!!!! a few days ago, I heard all this noise outside my window, guess what? My neighbors were dumping a bunch of topsoil next door. And they said I could have some
bucketfuls, so I brought some home.

I am happy as can be, with plenty of dirt. But it's kind of strange. Now that I have the garden dirt, I don't seem to be able to get to planting and transplanting. Maybe tomorrow morning.

I spent this morning watering, pruning, and weeding all the plants around the house and in pots. Tomorrow, I will plant cuttings from the Desert Rose plants, plant all my seeds (coleus, nastursium, and sunflowers and some other stuff), and take cuttings from the hisbicus and some other plants I don't know the name of.

Of course, I might spend the morning in the hammock, or looking for pirate treasure while I pick up trash on the beach.

If you have visited Chacala and have some photos or comments to share, you can post them on To post on this website, you go to and enter the user name chacalaplaya and the password chacalablog and then go ahead and post or add photos.

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