So, it has been a few years since I last tried my hand at gardening. Believe it or not, the place where I really took vegetable gardening far was in New York City. Well, Queens actually since garden space in New York comes at a premium. It was around 2008 when, after reading a few books and watching lots of videos online, I started a vegetable and herb garden in the relatively neglected lawn of the apartment building I used to live in Long Island City.
I grew quite a cornucopia of varieties in my roughly 20' by 20' growing area, including tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, mint, basil, cantaloupe, arugula, kale, collard greens and more!
But the wife and I ended up moving from Queens to Manhattan (where I had no outside space whatsoever for gardening) and from there to Los Angeles.
During my first few years in Los Angeles, I didn't really garden. I was entirely devoted to running my video production companies and didn't interact with plants much other than watering some drought-resistant species I put on the ground in front yard once a week.
But recently, after spending some time at my mother's food forest project in Brazil, I came back home to LA with the gardening bug again. Within a day or two of being back, I started to spend a lot of time outside in the backyard, slowly working on it to make it suitable for growing food.
One of the first moves was to begin to try to help the soil along. The sun shines bright and hot here in Los Angeles. My garden had quite a few spots of exposed soil, something even an amateur garden like me knows is no good. Over the course of my research, I learned that one of the most important steps to grow edibles was to increase the quality of the soil by making sure it has is covered with organic mulch.
So, I started by adding organic materials to the portions of the yard where I planned to plant, leaving no bit of soil exposed. I added leaves, light wood branches that I clipped from nearby trees and compost from the food scrap backyard composter which I installed here at the house when I moved in in 2013.
One of the important precepts of this new gardening project was to try to do things in a thrifty manner, not overspending on materials and trying to recycle and repurpose whenever possible. So, plastic bags, discarded lumber, food containers and other pieces of refuse began to make their way into my garden to serve important new purposes.
In the weeks to come, I will post pictures and text about my backyard gardening adventures that I help inspire you and others to start your own backyard gardens. So far, a mere two to three weeks into it, the work has already been incredibly therapeutic and rewarding.
Thank you for reading and feel free to leave a comment below.