Semillas and Hijos

Semillas are seeds, but the top of a pineapple is a semilla, because you strip off the bottom inch of leaves and plant it. Some people here say you can only plant the small side shoots that occasionally appear on pineapples, like a pineapple with two or even five little tops on it. I have never seen them in the US, so perhaps they are removed before shipping.

Ok so abandoning the zapallo/pumpkin as cover crop idea at least amongst the bananas. The coffee I seeded last year is ready to be interplanted, and pumpkins would drown them. Plus I am putting in pineapples. I spent the morning planting pineapples from scavenged semillas along the edge of our most dramatic vegetable garden-dizzying cliffside river view. Some say the tops are all you need; others say only the small extra shoots on the tops of the pineapples are any good. My semi controlled experiment is going. I lifted a particularly miserable looking one I planted last week and the roots are just started, so I stuck it back.
My friend Annemiek showed up on her motorcycle and walked around with me looking at the various projects, then whizzed off and returned with a bag of cuttings which we stuck in along the terrace garden behind my rock wall- as opposed to the superior rock walls made by Francelin Tacuri, our man of all work. I love people who love working.
She is pulling out some healthy mature coffee plants for a client and I wondered if they could be transplanted if they are that big. It would give us a jump on the homegrown coffee dream we have.

Pedasos are cuttings, or “pieces.” Here the climate is so perfect that if you stick a piece of a plant in the dirt during the rains, it will grow. It’s magic.

That’s how we grow our living fences, the cercas. Ours is made of the 1-2 inch thick branches that are trimmed off mature fences made of porotillos. Porotillos are leguminous- pea family- and have bright red flowers and scarlet beanlike seeds. They are much favored by hummingbirds.

Everybody in the world probably knows you can stick a coleus in a bottle of water and it will root, and of course succulents are unsurprising that way, but here I just make a hole in the earth with a piece of rebar I keep on hand, and slip in a cutting and keep it watered for a few days. All kinds of marvelous flowers work that way. Golden Glow, Frangipani, crotons, ciruelas, Joshua trees, poinsettia. There are less exceptions than not. I have been told Bougainvillia is impossible, although I did root one in a wine bottle. We will try with Rootone, which is generally unknown here. I am told that a slurry of germinated and fermented lentils will work.

But first you have to make the beds, and we have about the rockiest soil I have ever seen…..