Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Portugal: May

The diary of my challenge to grow my own fruit and vegetables in Portugal continues. Seasons,  soil conditions and climate are totally different from the UK,  so gardening here is one big experiment.
I am not a knowledgeable gardener, nor do I have a “green thumb”, but my enthusiasm makes up for what I lack in these areas.
Unfortunately, I am unable to grow enough fruit and vegetables to be 
self-sufficient as my humble plot is really small. The “return on investment” in terms of time, effort and cost is zilch, but I enjoy the challenge and the convenience of organic fresh salad, veg and fruits just a few steps away! 
My Raised Vegetable Garden 14/05/11
My Raised Vegetable Garden 14/05/11
How quickly everything has grown since last month!
Squash plants 150511
Squash plants 150511
I’ve never grown Squash before but as a friend in Northern Portugal sent me some seeds I thought I would try.

Although my squash plants are still very small they are just beginning to produce flowers. Seeds planted 7/03/11
I think I’ve planted them to close together – they looked so tiny when they were first planted!
Although a different variety I hope they grow as well as the ones I spotted on “Enjoy Creating’s” blog :  Squash plants in flowers 22/05/11
First cucumber 15/05/11
First cucumber 15/05/11

Cucumbers grown from seeds planted 10/2/11

Unfortunately, the white mold that appeared on the leaves of the Zucchini plants caused many of the Zucchinis to rot. I am unsure as to the cause of the problem – perhaps humidity or overcrowding?
Any suggestions please?
Zucchini Jungle 15/05/11
Zucchini Jungle 15/05/11

 I braved the mosquitos and removed most of the leaves to improve air circulation. Not sure if this will help but it certainly cleared some space as you can see below.

Zucchini leaves removed
Zucchini leaves removed to encourage air circulation
Zucchinis rescued from jungle
Zucchinis rescued from jungle
 I rescued the above Zucchinis and used them in my Zucchini and Tomato Chutney I made on Saturday. I used the same recipe as last year… hmmm delicious! 
Garlic grown in pots
Garlic grown in pots – is it ready?
I planted cloves of garlic last December. I am not sure if its ready to pull but the leaves are starting to go brown and leaves in the other pot of garlic are have rust spots.

Prolific strawberry plants
Prolific strawberry plants

I rescued this crate and it is now home to some strawberry plants. I use netting from potato sacks to protect the strawberries from birds.

What else am I growing?

Sorrel, spring onion, spinach, chilli peppers, peppers, tomatoes and rhubarb. No show for the carrots I planted – I will try again in the autumn.

I am looking for some ideas on how to get rid of slugs, snails, blackfly and ants without using chemicals any suggestions folks? 

47 thoughts on “Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Portugal: May

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  1. Hi, I have only just come across your blog and find what I have managed to read so far very interesting. Keep it up 😉
    With regard to your garden, if you have a small space might I suggest you look at ‘potato towers’. They take up very very little space and despite the name you can grow virtually anything in them. You can make them with chicken wire very easily. Email me if you want more info. (google woofers portugal there should be a link on there somewhere. )
    Regards Jenny


  2. The best way to you to protect your vegetables from insects is to find and put some ladybird in your “jungle” and some worms in the ground to help for the fertilization, that’s natural and it’s working ! 🙂
    About Zicchinis, don’t worry, the jungle is “normal”, it makes me think about when I was 12 maybe, my mother plants some zucchinis maybe 8 plants… We ate zucchinis everyday, at every lunch and dinner zucchinis !! It became so big and were going everwhere in the garden. I couldn’t eat zucchinis for years after that…. 🙂
    Keep going on with your garden, that’s a great little garden that you have !


    1. Hi MyEnglishthoughts,
      Unfortunately, it’s a shame I have seen very few ladybirds and worms are like hens teeth in my garden! We used to have loads in the UK. I don’t know why we dont have them here 😦

      LOL I am getting to that point with Zucchinis as well, trouble is when you grow your own it’s either feast or famine! I suppose the trick is to keep planting seeds at intervals. I have good intentions 🙂

      PiP 8)


  3. PiP, I’m so impressed with your gardening efforts. And, I’m envious. Because I’m in the midst of trying to move, I’ve not planted anything to speak of this year. So, I’ll enjoy your efforts vicariously. The strawberries look fabulous! There is a magazine I’ve subscribed to off and on for years that give lots of good information on organic growing methods. It is Mother Earth News. I know there is an online version, but I don’t know how user-friendly it is. As to wordpress, I have not tried the option you’ve described. I’m still limping along with the old ones.


  4. Hey PiP well done with your fruit and veggies! I’m same as you in that I’m just experimenting/having a good play and see what works and what doesn’t.

    I agree with others about the beer and slugs – tried that, it works but I don’t like seeing shrivvelled up slugs in the saucer!

    Instead, I’m growing everything in tubs and my tip is to use Vaseline around the rims of the tubs – no slugs can get through vaseline. I’m not sure how you’d get on though since your produce is all outside.

    I heard some other tips on Gardener’s world such as put grit around the base of the plants but also certain leaves act as repellents if you lay them beneath the fruit/veggies – the slugs devour the leaves first and are then too full to eat your livelihood!

    Hope it helps, but I really am no expert – just going off what I’ve heard…

    P.S. Little story about slugs…. My mum hates them. She gets them in the house sometimes and knows they’ve been because they leave a silver trail. Anyhow, when she used to go to work there were slugs outside near the bus stop. Apparently, she used to fill her coat pockets with salt and every now and then would sprinkle it near the slugs whilst she waited for the bus! Classic eh? She really does not like them….


    1. Hi N
      Love the story about your Mum and the salt! LOL 🙂
      The idea of the vaseline sounds good for the plants in pots; I will have to see if I can buy it in Portugal.
      I think gardening is fascinating and it never ceases to amaze me that I can take a seed (well several them) plant them and they grow into something you can eventually eat.
      If my grandchild live closer I would love to share this joy with her as she grows up.


  5. Lovely, absolutely lovely. I think you have a green thumb and I also think it’s getting greener. 😉
    I had a problem white white mold last year and I did what you did about thinning out the plant. It worked quite well.
    I’ve never had a problem with slugs or the bugs you mention. Some friends of ours controlled their slugs with plates of beer.
    As for the ants, One of the remedies for deterring ants in a house or is black pepper, so I wonder if you sprinkled black pepper around if that would help. Just a thought.
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful gardening with us. You’re doing really great. Your new cucumber, zucchinis & strawberries look scrumptious. 🙂


    1. Hi EC, Sorry I just realised I missed your response…think it’s because I worked up from the bottom then got distracted 🙂
      I do hope removing alot of the leaves will help resolve the problem. Now my tomatoes and garlic have brown spots on their leaves….I removed them all today. It just seems one thing after another 😦
      I will give the black pepper a go…but I will sprinkle it round my chair when I sit in the garden! Ants are attracted to me and if I sit still long enough they run up my legs!


  6. Everything is coming along so nicely…we are up to our ears in squash and cucumbers! The tomatos are finally showing color. Sorry no suggestions for the slugs and snails!


  7. Hi barb – the bugs are certainly very healthy in my veg plot!

    The edging is concrete blocks painted white. The other red blocks you can see in the middle are only there because I had to divide the bed in half as I overspent on soil and Mr Piglet was having a blue fit:(
    I am composting everything at the moment to add to the bed next year. (You can just see a green mesh square thing in the corner of the first photo)

    It will be interesting to see how your garden progresses 🙂


  8. Your vegie garden looks awesome PiP, and very healthy! Nancy’s tip about putting some beer in a saucer is a good one and works for me. To see if your garlic is ready, pull one and have a look, nothing lost if it’s not ready – then you will have a good idea when the others will be ripe to pick.
    btw – what have you used as edging for your raised bed? We have just moved to a new house and I’d like to make a raised bed here. I have a blank canvas – there is absolutely nothing in the yard except grass!


  9. Looks awesome, PiP!

    To check the garlic . . . just pull out one and see if it’s the size you’re after.
    For slugs and snails, you might put out a saucer of beer to drown them.


  10. i am envious, would love to have a plot of my own. however, i have been successful in the past, so i think your garlic doesn’t look quite right. mine were more spaced out, very tall and i would pull after it bloomed. was never sure about it though, have you tried googling for advice? either way, enjoy your bounty!


    1. Hi Lynette,
      My garlic has not bloomed yet! I will take a peek and dig away at the soil and see what is happening underneath. 🙂 I am experimenting my growing various different things in pots to see how they progress.


  11. WOW! You really are growing a veritable feast! I do not believe I have a green thumb at all. I can’t even keep indoor plants alive! Hopefully one of the children may be better at it than I am, because s few indoor plants would be nice.


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