Mojitos and urban gardening lessons from Andreina
Andreina, originally from Ecuador, is an urban gardener in Virginia, USA. She makes an amazing mojito with mint straight from her garden, shares produce with friends and neighbors and offers help to new gardeners. She’s also a great friend of mine.
Andreina offered a freshly made mojito and a garden tour to a group of gardening friends and of course I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. We sat down for a chat after and she shared more about her gardening journey.
What motivates you to garden?
The satisfaction of growing food free of chemicals for my family and friends and reducing waste in the local landfills.
How long have you been gardening?
2020 will be my third year growing our own veggies.
Tell us a little bit about the space you garden in?
I have 2 (2’ x 4’) raised beds with trellis and few containers. We live in the city so I guess you can call it an urban garden. We are planning on expanding our growing area to the front yard next year.
What is a favorite memory that you have from the years you’ve been growing in your space?
This year I’m gardening with our three year old daughter and it is so nice to teach her about the vegetables, plants, and trees as well as to be respectful with the insects and bugs that live in our garden. I love how much she enjoys eating a fresh broccoli crown or lettuce leaf.
What are the main challenges that you’ve faced in your garden?
Each year has its own challenges, but the worst so far was the First year. Iit was a total failure. We bought our house in the fall and we really didn’t know how big the trees in our backyard were. We built our raised beds there and by the spring and summer all trees had created a canopy in our backyard with no sun. Our plants didn’t grow from lack of sunlight.
If you were stuck on an island and could only grow one vegetable or fruit or herb, what variety would you pick and why?
I would grow coconut. You can eat it and drink the milk. I’m trying to be practical.
Do you have any rituals or routines in the garden?
I water them every night, once a week add some natural nutrients, prune and harvest as often as possible.
If you were to give a piece of advice to someone who is just starting to get their hands dirty, what would that be?
Learn about companion plants and soil before you start planting and join gardening groups to learn more.
Do you have any gardening secrets to share?
If I share them with you, it won’t be a secret. Lol. I’m a young gardener. Everything that I practice is something that I’m learning from somebody else so I would say, read what you can and listen to other gardeners. Follow their advice, but be adventurous and try a few things yourself.