Welcome to Verdant View, your monthly column for everything “green” at Lakeside. In this monthly addition to El Ojo Del Lago publication, I will take you through Lakeside’s three cyclical seasons, highlighting gardening topics such as:
- What grows where and when
- Cutter ants; Love ‘em or Leave ‘em
- Native Plants of the area
- Medicinal Plants and their uses
- Review of the Viveros (nurseries) of the area
- Soil, The Great Communicator
- The Shade Garden
- Water at Lakeside
- Seeds: Heirloom vs. GMO
- Various Garden Groups of the area
May at Lakeside is hot and dry. We have three seasons of growth locally and we are in the hottest and driest of the three, which runs from March through mid-June (St. Andres’ day).
At this latitude the angle of the sun changes dramatically from winter to summer. Plants that were in shade areas in the winter can gradually be given full sun in the summer as the seasons change. So be careful to watch where the sun is hitting your garden and move plants accordingly or cover them to protect them from the harsh sun. Also remember to water them more during this time of year.
Francisco (Fco.) Nava - Bio
Gardener, teacher, organic-food grower, natural warrior against pests, helping make healthier towns by teaching garden Earth consciousness.
Having been mentored by his mom, an earth mother, garden goddess, and also by his life partner, Bradley “Mulch” Mowers (co-founder of Los Angeles Eco Village—a part of the worldwide network of Eco Villages), Fco. was not born with a “green thumb.” He had to earn it by trial and error (many plants took the hit). Luckily, his mother was there to nurture the first plants back to health. Eventually, Mother Earth saw that Fco. was nothing if not tenacious and persistent, so after many years of learning, he was given his green wings, and so was born a love affair with our planet. Instructor of “Introduction to Gardening at Lakeside,” “Advanced Gardening At Lakeside” and “Gardening For Gardeners,” Fco. has been teaching in Riberas Del Pilar and Ajijic for five years now. He is also a garden/gardener consultant working to make gardening here a little easier for his clients and their gardeners. Fco. is retired, Mexican, educated at UCLA and Santa Monica College in California, where he also taught “Sustainable Architectural Design” and now resides happily in Ajijic and Chapala. Five years ago, Fco. started working with Poco a Poco San Pedro Itzican, a direct connect—volunteer group helping the humble towns east of Mezcala. Working primarily in the 12 pueblos that comprise the San Pedro Itzican area, he has been primarily working to teach the people of San Pedro Itzican and surrounding areas how to grow organic food... something that seems to have been forgotten in these towns. This mission is imperative as the youth of these towns are suffering from high incidents of renal failure and are dying. Fco. believes one reason for this is poverty-induced malnutrition. One of these food growth programs is the Vivero La Esperanza project in San Juan Tecomatlan, just east of the Vista Del Lago fraccionamiento. The nursery/vivero was started to help grow organic food starters/plantulas for the home gardens of the people so they can boost their family’s nutrition.
As people are stuck at home, they become aware of what access they have to green space, and there isn’t enough to accommodate their needs. Now more than ever people should be able to experience the grounding sensation of growing plants.
Fco. offers services from his home “speakeasy” such as virtual and actual home visits and plant shopping dates, during which he accompanies clients to nurseries. He hopes to bring plants and wellness into the lives of the people at Lakeside.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com