Friday, September 17, 2010

What is behind this garden in Costa Rica

Two and a half years ago after we retired we moved to Costa Rica to enjoy "Pura Vida" the Good Life.
 It took us a while to remodel the home we bought and to begin to redo the yard. I had a chain link fence put around the backyard so we could keep our animals in and unwanted animals out.
This was the first backyard project after grading, you can barely see the chain link fence with the barbed wire on the out side. We began to plant a tree (about 30 of them) called the "Golden Dew Drop" which will grow to 15' high and at least 10' wide. It is a dense bush/tree with foliage from the bottom to the top. We choose this tree as a windbrake, for the blossoms that butterflies and humming birds like and the golden berry that comes after the blossoms.
It is a great multipurpose plant for us.
Our second yard project was a wood shed/chicken coop. I get wood trimmings from a local sawyer for the hauling which we cut to lenght that will fit into our small wood stove used to break the chill on rainy days at our homes elevation of 3,800 feet. The chicken coop houses 7 very good hens that not only patrol the yard for bugs but provide us with the most awesome range eggs, yummy!

This white chicken showed up outside the fence one day, he was maybe 3 or 4 weeks old then. Juan and I went and got this hen to keep him company. The white rooster turned out to be one of the meat chickens which grew to big for the hens so he was put in the stew pot.This photo was taken inside of the coop where there is about 8 inches of wood shavings litter on the earthen floor.

The wood shed is in the left half while the hens occupy the right half of the metal shed. That is my friend Juan coming out of the wood shed getting ready to do more work on the yard. You can see just behind some of the extra blocks the chickens door into the coop. The yard is coming along, we are trying to get peanut grass to take over the yard, it does not require mowing and the chickens love it.

Peanut grass always has these little yellow flowers.
Last week we finally got started on the garden that I've wanted to build for many, many years. Many years ago I started reading Organic Gardening, MotherEarthNews (when it was still a good magazine), books on Permaculture, French raised bed gardening, companion gardening and then Square Foot Gardening. What I have done was to combine many of the features of these books on gardening into what I wanted to build. I keep saying "build" as that is what I am doing now. I am building a concrete block raised bed garden, 2 foot high (with an 8 inch seat on top) by 4 foot wide (so you can reach the center from either side) by 16 feet long. It will be filled with "abono" which is composted skins from coffee beans (no weed seeds in the abono). In time it will have a 10'X20' clear poly corrugated roof to keep the heavy rains we get from drowning the plants. I'm thinking of a small gutter to fill at least one 55 gallon plastic barrel for me to use to water the garden. That is the only way I can control the amount of water the plants get without them being drowned.

Day 1 the trenching is done (you can barely see the hens back by the banana trees). I must tell you that I got the flu about this time and was resting while Juan (my good friend and helper) was doing the digging. Somehow I did something with day 2 photos showing the rebar in place they aren't on the camera or anywhere else.

Day 3 finds the footings poured, I did manage to hand truck the blocks around and use my little tractor to haul around the sand and gravel. You can sort of get the idea of how high the sides will be by the stack of blocks in the foreground. I'm hoping that my flu will be gone over the weekend so I can do more to help with my project.


  1. Nice job Art!!! I prefer reading blogs to getting emails from people. Congrats on joining the blogging world.

  2. hey art. love the views. and the garden spot. and i think your chickens are cute. lol. got an extra room. think i will come live with you. hugs. hope you are feeling better.

  3. Art, hope you are over the flu soon. I enjoy the blog and your enthusiasm. Keep up the good work.

  4. Hi, Art! Blog looks great and I'll be following your progress with great interest, especially the raised garden since we want to do something similar.