Over the next year I will be keeping a monthly diary of all the fruit and vegetables I grow in my garden. This idea was prompted by fellow blogger Hurtled to 60 and now beyond
I’ve made various garden posts over the last year, but as there is very little information regarding what to grow when in our corner of Portugal I thought I’d create my own planting diary and be more organised in my approach.
CONTAINER GROWN FRUIT & VEGETABLES
Due to lack of space in my urban garden I grow several fruit and vegetables in containers. Some more successfully than others! In December I’m growing: radish, lettuce, strawberries, Physalis, rhubarb and chili peppers.
Physalis (Cape Gooseberry)
Earlier this year I was given three small Physalis plants. I planted them in a large pot and after a couple of months they bore fruit; they were delicious!
In late October I dried one of the fruits and planted the seeds as an experiment. I was really surprised when they germinated especially as in my mind it was so late in the season. On the 13th December I transplanted the seedlings to larger pots. I’ve placed these in full sun in a semi-sheltered position.
From my experience Physalis are a great plant to grow in pots either with a support or allow to trail along the ground. They need full sun and a sandy soil.
Researching the net I’ve just discovered “Unripe fruits are poisonous”
It’s great to see my chili plants are still flowering and bearing fruit in December! The chilies are grown in pots, in full sun on my terrace so they are in a sheltered position.
I planted several of the chili seeds end of October and I’ve now planted the seedlings in large pots.
I love lettuce, but only the young leaves. During the summer, rather than buy lettuce from the supermarkets, I now grow lettuce “pots” . The pots are crammed with various lettuce varieties and I pick the leaves while they are still young. This particular pot is an experiment as I’ve never tried growing lettuce during the winter months before. I’ve placed the pot it in a sheltered position and in full sun.
I grow all my strawberries in pots or recycled containers. Much to my surprise they have produced sweet strawberries all through the summer and are still bearing fruit in December! I’ve just eaten the three strawberries you can see in the picture and they were delicious.
I decided as my efforts to grow strawberries proved so successful I would expand my strawberry “empire” by collecting and repotting all the strawberry runners. This was until a friend pointed out that strawberry plants are so cheap to buy it was not worth the effort! I bought some baby strawberry plants from a local garden shop for only €3 per bundle. Each bundle contained 20 plants. these were available from November.
He was right of course, but there is something satisfying in getting plants for FREE!
I then scavenged some containers
Because we live so close to the sea the garden centres advised citrus fruit would not fruit due to the salt air. I’m not the type to give in easily, so contrary to advice we bought a lemon tree and planted in a very large pot. It now sits in pride of place on our terrace. I like this picture because it captures the various stages of the lemon’s growth.
RAISED VEGETABLE BED
Mr. Piglet’s hard work (motivated by yours truly) to completely dig out all the earth, line the raised bed with a root barrier, and then refill was completed just in time to plant the winter vegetables. I’d never tried to grow winter veg in Portugal before so was amazed by the choice on offer. Lettuce was the biggest surprise. In the UK I’d certainly never consider lettuce as a winter crop! But then again, gardening is so different here in the Algarve.
I usually grow all my vegetables from seed, but this year I cheated and bought seedlings from the local market. At ten cents each they were a bargain because the quanitities I need are so small it actually works out cheaper than buying seeds. Seeds of course can be rather hit and miss as I either end up with dozens of unwanted plants or nothing!
Related post: I’m being invaded…
If anyone has ANY suggestions or advice please PLEASE leave in the comments section below. I’m looking for some natural slug and snail remedies as Sammy the snail and all his relatives are showing a very keen interest in all the juicy seedlings. Oh and a cat deterrent as the local cat(s) have started digging…