Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

Marching on…

Monday, March 14th, 2011

Both January and February, despite being winter months, weren’t too bad and we were able to eat outside in the courtyard for lunch quite a few times (although a roaring fire was going come the evening). They both had, however, a week or so of almost non-stop rain. Now the weather forecast says the same is going to happen for March, our mantra is always it’s good for the garden! For the chickens it’s water off a duck’s back…

Two weeks ago the first lot of seedlings planted back in February were showing but already it’s time for the sprouts to go in the garden. I’ve already put in a few broad bean plants (although why I have no idea, I wrote in my gardening diary not to do them again at this time because of the aphids but I forgot to get them going in the autumn).

So seeds sown in the polytunnel recently: sweet corn, peas, french beans, courgette, buttercup squash and yet more toms. Seedlings already up are the sprouts (above, two weeks ago and today), cauliflower, watercress, leeks, melon, bell peppers, cauliflower, calabrese, runner beans, cucumber, artichoke, loads of different toms and a range of herbs. Seeds sown directly into the beds outside: parsnips, fennel, beetroot, different kinds of carrots and rainbow chard. Plus three kinds of potatoes have been planted too. I hate seeing the empty beds (next year I’ll do more autumn planting) but am really pleased so much is on the go now. The companion plants, marigolds and nasturtiums, are also doing well.

The last of the leeks were eaten last week, and we are on the cabbage now. Apart from some onions, parsley and celery there’s nothing to eat. We should be eating the purple sprouting broccoli but, although it’s almost my height, there’s nothing apart from leaves (below right). I know it can take a long time (started a year ago now) but we are getting very impatient, no wonder it’s expensive in the shops. It will be our first time to try it, hope it’s worth the wait.

And talking of waiting, many of the produce needs our patience. The asparagus is shooting up but we have to wait for the third year’s crop (luckily that’s next year), a year on the artichokes are at last showing signs of producing something (above left) but I’m not sure if we still have to wait before we eat those, and we can only take a little of the rhubarb too – fingers crossed on that one as there doesn’t seem to be any signs yet…

Meanwhile all the fruit trees are doing well and as soon as the rain stops there are three big projects for us, watch this space!

A white-ish Christmas

Friday, December 18th, 2009

So the year draws to a close, afrost2nd how nice that would be if we could say that at last the builders are busy on the house. Alas, that’s not to be – although it does seem that the paperwork is done. Now it’s a matter of getting it all approved, and for that we need the officials to be in their offices… well, it is Christmas I suppose and things do wind down this time of the year…

The weather has turned jolly cold and looking across the valley it was white with frost one morning. Not a great event for many but for me, having lived in more clement climes, it looked lovely, hence the pretty frost pics…

Even the bloody brambles looked nice!

Even the bloody brambles looked nice!

Looking out of a top window from Casa Azul it was great to see so many birds by the big pond, although one looked like it was walking on water – yes, even the big pond had frozen over. This was lunchtime too and the sun had been on it all morning but it was still completely iced up. The pic shows the pond completed before the frost – just to show you what it looks like now filled with water.

pond_bedsAnd the garden plot has had a lot of work on it now. The last three beds were weeded (and the stones removed), then covered with paper and finally with grass. The idea being that this will prevent the weeds returning (ha!) and also add some nutrients to the soil. The worms should come up and break everything down. For those interested the compost heap has grown (and shrunk), we have made another compost box for all the horse manure we’re collecting (thanks, Dolly), and there is now comfrey root growing in pots (I hope) which will grow huge leaves that make fantastic organic fertiliser. Well, that’s the idea anyway. The most successful gardeners look after the soil rather than the plants, it is said, so at this rate I should have the best produce in town! (When Luis saw us digging up the brambles he scoffed and suggested his tractor friend Tony come round and sprinkle poison over everything!)

Finally, when the sun comes out we get in the pick up and have a run around. The countryside around here really is lovely and we always feel better afterwards. We are spending Christmas down in Lisbon which I’m really looking forward to. So Boas Festas and here’s to a house-building 2010!