Tropical Vacation and a Garden for my Mother!

Oi (that means hello in Portuguese) everyone. I am very happy to be back on blogging and the reason things have been crazy around here is that my vacation time was quite long and on top of that, Matthew and I are finally moving to a bigger place (and bigger garden).

I wanted to share with you guys a little bit of my trip to Brazil, my home country. The last time I was there was two years ago and I've missed it very much, especially because the days had been so cold in NY. It was amazing to be kissed again by the sun and to be able to enjoy all the tropical forest glory.

The reason for the trip was to celebrate my wedding with my family and Brazilian friends and I picked a very amazing place for it!

The beach of Toninhas in Ubatuba, São Paulo, which is one of the nicest beaches of the country. It is surrounded by the Natural Reserve of the Estate of São Paulo, Parque Picinguaba, one of the few protected areas of what's left of the Atlantic Forest.

I actually had my college internship working in that Natural Reserve, which was a wonderful time in my life, so Ubatuba holds a very special place in my heart.

There, we spent a week enjoying the beach and on a Saturday, we had a small ceremony and dinner party. Matthew and I renewed our vows (in Portuguese now - which he did an amazing job by the way) and we planted a young tree of Ipe (Hondroantus sp.), as a symbol of our commitment and love.

It was a lovely trip and the abundance of formidable tropical plants were absolutely amazing!

Before the trip, I spent a few days at my family's house in Cotia, São Paulo. While I was there, my mother asked me to make her a garden. I was super excited with the project and I decided to incorporate some garden beds close to her small orchard, where she is already growing lime, lemons, oranges, guava and lychee.

For her new veggie and leaf beds, I made a selection of lettuce, carrots, beets, arugula, collard greens, escarole, watercress, zucchini, peas, bushy beans, eggplants, tomatoes, sweet pepper, biquinho pepper and cucumbers. I also added some marigold and nasturtiums because they are beautiful edible flowers that are also known for helping to repel pesky pests that could attack the plants. Below is the plan of the garden (I apologize for my infant drawing techniques). I used companion planting, which is a technique that determines which are the best plants to be planted near each other. I'll talk more about that in the future.

The soil in her house was mostly clay and I really suffered to remove the grass and shape the bed, because I’m used to the easy to dig sandy Long Island soil. I mean, I was dying!!!! But it was all worthy when it was done!

I emended the soil with a 4" layer of compost before I planted the seeds and after that I used wood shavings as mulch to cover it all up, so it would retain water and avoid weeds.

It think it looked cool already even with just a few plants up! I'll make sure to get some pictures of everything when it's big and lush! Keep an eye on my Instagram account to follow it.

Bringing my mom's dream garden to reality was such an amazing thing and it wrapped this trip up as completely amazing as a whole. Not only the wedding party in Brazil was a dream, we could have this nice long vacation in my home country and spend time with my family and friends.

As most vacations go, time passed faster than I’d wished it did but I am happy to be back home and with my hands in the dirt again! I started work already and I couldn’t be happier, the weather is finally nice! Many projects are being made and I’m very excited to be building gardens.

I'll be coming back soon with more garden info, projects and events so we can keep learning and making the world a better and greener place, together. Let me know if you need a hand, a suggestion, or anything really. Just shoot me a message or email. I’d love to hear from you!

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