Organic urban gardening in San Miguel

By Luc Monzies

Farmer Luc Monzies

Urban gardening is a global movement to grow fresh delicious food within city limits. It is environmentally responsible, great for your health and a lot of fun. This healthy activity has really taken off in San Miguel as more and more people and businesses are growing food in all kinds of tight spaces. It is easy to grow your own arugula, prized baby greens, your favorite Genovese basil or that monster cherry tomato plant that just keeps on producing tasty treats. These gardens are being created in containers or planters on rooftops, in small patios, in windowsills and other unthinkable spaces with surprisingly great results. While some people still think vegetables are messy and untidy, others are discovering that edible plants make perfect companions for their favorite ornamental plants. In fact the combination of edibles and ornamentals makes for a more biodiverse ecosystem that produces healthier vegetables than those grown in conventional monoculture fields and sold in supermarkets.

Urban Gardening Demonstration
& Vegetable Sale
With Luc Monzies
Tue, Jul 29, 4pm
Moonrise Health
Órganos 29
50 pesos admission

San Miguel’s amazing climate also allows you to grow just about anything year-round. Though the highest rooftops are sometimes hit with freezing temperatures, many simple strategies can ward off any frost damage since the cold spells at night and at dawn are short and the days are always warm enough. Ground level patios — within urban limits — usually don’t freeze, making them warm enough to produce papayas and even bananas. You would be amazed at how many microclimates there are around your house. Sometimes a little shade cloth or a mesquite tree is all it takes to take the edge off the hot sun for crops that prefer cooler conditions like spinach and arugula. A west-facing wall can help soak up extra heat to ripen tomatoes during the cooler rainy season. Growing plants from different climate zones is all part of the fun and in this privileged climate it all boils down to choosing the right location for that special plant.

Urban gardening has little to do with vegetable gardening of the past. There is no need to spend endless hours bent over weeding in the hot sun. Nor does it involve the backbreaking practice of loosening compacted soil every spring. In fact many people enjoy the relaxing meditative process of tending a well set-up urban garden and it’s always exciting to see how fast plants grow in the right soil under the right conditions.

In my classes, I discuss how to achieve perfect soil and how to pick a microclimate for growing your favorite fruits or veggies. For the past several years I have helped many San Miguel residents grow their own food and this year there has been a huge surge of interest to join the fun.

Luc Monzies is an urban garden specialist. He is available for workshops, consultation and garden installations. He and his partner Maya sell organic plants, garden fresh vegetables and special urban gardening soil at la Bodega Organica. For more information contact him:, 044 415 119 1810.


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