As much as I enjoy my own garden, it’s always a thrill to see photos and read the stories that arrive sharing the experiences that others are having as they cultivate the patches of earth that they are responsible for.
I especially like to learn about the edible gardening practices and crops that are grown in other parts of the world. Some of the accounts force me to count my blessings when I consider the challenges that many gardeners are forced to contend with; harsh climates, poor soils, shortages of seeds and natural resources, and severely limited space to even plant a garden.
High Altitude Gardening in Patzcuaro, Mexico
It’s inspiring and encouraging to get a glimpse of your gardens and over the next week I will feature a few of them here at Veggie Gardening Tips. Churchill lives in Patzcuaro, Mexico and gardens with Andrew on three acres of land at an altitude of 7,400 feet. Here is her report from the garden:
Much of the soil is “adobe” clay, which turns into soup in the rainy season, and serious hardpan in the dry. However, we have a knoll upon which we grow incredible roses and flowers, and have started vegetable beds. The knoll is rock and mulch which is made from wild crabapples, blackberry vines, century plants, and who knows what.
Sizing up the Lay of the Land Out in the Garden
From November though February we have frost in the night, which nurtures our orchids (in the wild apple) during most of the dry season (mid-October through May). In this area, farmers grow tons of cabbage, cauliflower, corn, wheat, hay & other livestock grasses, Swiss chard, spinach.
I’d give my eye teeth for collards! No seeds here for that, and they probably never heard of it. Locally they grow apples, peaches, nut trees, at lower altitudes, avocados, citrus, bananas, etc. Pomegranate does well here.
I can’t figure out what our growing zone is, based on US growing zones, because of our altitude. The local “soil PH” is considered a “medium acidity.” We do have pines and oaks at this altitude. Our linguistic Spanish (Mexican) is poor at best. I am “guessing” at what may grow, and plant what I want, on an “if it works, great, if not, try something else” basis.
Rainy Seasons and Sunny Days South of the Border
Climate: now, that is curious (remember we’re at 7,400 feet). In the summer rainy season, it can get downright chilly when the rains set in for three or more days, hot in the sun on clear days, and great in the shade. Autumn is perfect. No more rain, but the soil is wet down deep.
Winter nights can get below freezing, but the soil never freezes, and the frosts nurture the orchids. Spring is hot and dry. I was born and raised in coastal North Carolina, and Mama grew all our vegetables.
This all boils down to “can I grow artichokes?” Whew.
Churchill, thank you so much for allowing us a peak inside your garden. Regarding your question about growing globe artichokes; with the wide variety of crops that you mentioned I don’t see any reason that they would not grow for you. They are a challenge here in Pennsylvania because they struggle to survive our winters. They also don’t appreciate the heat of summer but usually rebound nicely as soon as fall rolls around.
Just follow your prescribed pattern and try the artichokes on a “guess at what may grow, and plant what you want kind of arrangement… then if it works great, but if not try something else basis” as you stated in your email! I love the way that you summed up your planting strategy and hope you don’t mind that I will be borrowing that line in the future.
Next up is a visit to spend a little time at a friend’s organic garden in Northern Virginia.
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