Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in January

My personal diary.

Over the next year I will be keeping a monthly diary of all the fruit and vegetables I grow in my urban garden here in the Algarve. Gardening is one of my passions, and although my efforts are not always successful my tenacity makes up for what I lack in knowledge. I’m always open to suggestions (or encouragement) so please feel free to leave a note in the comments section below. December was the first entry in my diary.

When I look back at December’s entry and study the pictures – Wow what a difference. My vegetable seedlings have grown beyond my wildest expectations! Yes, I know, I’m easily pleased.

Salad in January
Salad in January

This is my first bowl of winter home-grown salad: Rosso and green lettuce, baby spinach leaves and chives from my herb garden.

Herb “garden” is a very loose description as I no longer try to grow herbs in “twee” little rows. I allow them to self-seed and grow where they are most happy.


Due to lack of space in my urban garden I grow several fruit and vegetables in containers. Some more successfully than others!


The radish sown in November are unfortunately struggling due to lack of sunlight. While the pot is in full sun during the summer months, the sun is lower in the winter so the pot remains in shade for most of the day.
Mental note: do not use this pot in winter! Use for Zucchini or cucumber in summer. Discard radish and use pot for to recycle “green” waste during the winter months.

I scattered radish seeds between a row of leeks in my raised vegetable plot on the 1st of January. There is no sign of growth as yet.

Strawberries in January
Strawberries in January


Some of my strawberry plants continue to give monster strawberries. They are absolutely delicious!

To do: repot any strawberry runners from these plants and label. “Monster” strawberries

Container grown strawberry plants - planted in November
Container grown strawberry plants - planted in November

Baby strawberry plants planted late November are now in flower.

Physilis seedlings
Physilis seedlings

I planted seeds from Physilis fruit in late October. The seedlings are still alive.

Other container grown fruit and vegetables

Chili: The mature chili plants continue to bear fruit, but the seedlings are less than enthusiastic and are fighting for life.

Lettuce We ate our first “feast” of organic home-grown lettuce last week.
Rhubarb This appears to be dormant. Friends tell me repeatedly “You can’t grow Rhubarb in Portugal” I disagree (I’m an optimist) and firmly believe “Where there is a will there is a way!” I may have to admit I’m wrong, but at least I tried! Hey I’m a Capricorn and Capricorns are stubborn right?


Raised bed as at 4th December
(Cauliflower, broccoli, spinach and carrots)

I cheated and bought the seedlings
Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, spinach, carrots. Planted beginning of December

Today! Look how much they’ve grown in only a few weeks!

The broccoli, caulitflower, carrots and spinach as at 14th January
The broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach as at 14th January

Raised bed as at 4th December
(Leeks, red cabbages, rosso and green lettuce)

Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce seedlings
Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce. Planted beginning of December

…and on the 14th January

Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce on the 14th January
Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce on the 14th January

I talk to my vegetables every day!

I’ve never grown vegetables during the winter months in Portugal before so I am astounded by the results. Daily temperatures have been as high as 22C and night temperatures falling to about 4C.
Over the last month the sun has shone almost everyday and rainfall almost non-existent. (Rained yesterday and last night the first time for ages)


Plants for free! It amazes me that I can spend weeks trying to grow seedlings in seedtrays or pots with limited success. Why bother?
I found several self-seeded tomato plants growing between the spinach and rosso and red cabbage, plus rosso seedlings growing in the gravel and it’s only January!

Self-Seeded tomato plant
Self-Seeded tomato plant

The Portugal News (A weekly free newspaper in English) now have a bi-weekly gardening section which relates to Portugal! Yay!

Any gardeners out there? Anyone growing leeks – I need some advice please…

Related posts: Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in December


57 thoughts on “Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in January

Add yours

  1. Hi Piglet Just started a vegetable garden In December, mostly trial and error. Beans peas no sign yet, lettuce, broccoli, strawberries doing quite well. No seeds planted in egg boxes showing yet, but live in hope.
    A trying gardener


    1. Hi trying gardener – good luck with the vegetable growing 🙂 Looking back at my vegetable patch then and comparing now I feel rather frustrated. You’ve inspired me to try and revive my strawberry plants which have drowned in the rain. Good luck with your veg and please keep me informed of your progress. Where abouts in Portugal are you?


  2. Good for you, PiP…looks like it will be a bumper crop! I anxiously await further photos of the growing fruits and veggies. How lovely!
    And then we will need some recipes of what you are making with them. 🙂


  3. I am very impressed PIP.
    Wendy planted some rocket in a pot on the verandah…that stuff grows like a weed(maybe it is a weed)..before I got around to picking a bit it had gone to seed.


  4. Awesome! Your gardening skills and talents is amazing. I’ve no doubt you’ll conquer the Rhubarb and grow it too. Keep these gorgeous photos and gardening updates coming. I’m anxiously waiting for Spring and your blog helps to give me something to look forward too. Thanks so much. 🙂


  5. PiP, I am so happy you are having such success with your winter garden. We are enjoying a bountiful winter garden as well. We are also looking for informtion on growing leeks.


  6. Thanks for sharing the before and after pics – it’s amazing to see that growth, and your efforts are not in vain! Keep trying with the rhubarb (I’m a Capricorn too); never give up! Gardening is one of my passions too.
    Vegetable gardening is a lot of work, but it’s all worth it when you can serve fresh food straight from the ground! Good on ya PiP!


  7. Seems strange sitting here in the UK hearing you talking about veg growing like crazy in December and January. Here nothing much grows here in the winter apart from broad beans, sprouts and broccoli.
    Keep an eye on the physalis – we had them in our garden in Portugal and they spread everywhere if you turn your back on them for a couple of weeks. Productive though!


  8. Oh how wonderful to see the fruits of your labour – literally!.
    I am amazed at how well your garden is doing in the ‘winter’ There have been a few morning frosts but your seedlings seem to have coped. And no signs of snails!!!. They must enjoy listening to you.
    I am renting at the moment so can’t really follow your lead so I will enjoy your garden via your monthly updates instead.
    Good luck with the rhubarb, it can be demanding – such as not being in too wet a soil (not a problem with the current climate). It does like to be in well fed soil. You could also try putting a plantpot over it for a while to give it more darkness.


    1. Hi Clara,
      We are near the sea so lucky for us we have not had any frost this year. We have our own micro climate. Funny you say about Rhubarb and covering up. Mr P burnt a hole in one of my large flower pots (long story) and I kept it as I trhow nothing awy. I then watched a prgramme showing victorian rhubarb forcers. Hmmm I thought and the plant pot has a new use.
      Bet you can’t wait to get your won garden. You can always grow strawberries in containers.

      thanks for the tip re fed for the rhubarb. I better see to that!


  9. Impressive plants! I don’t have the patience for much gardening, but my hubby gives it a good effort every year.

    I hope you can grow some rhubarb. It’s highly resilient, so I’d be surprised if you DON’T get it to grow.


  10. Wow. You make me want to run out and start digging in the dirt. Alas, I am in a rental until i can get home to my magnificent gardens. Strawberries so quickly! Why do we have to wait a season for the plants to mature in this neck of the world? Bummer. Portugal looks beautiful. Do you have any type of winter?


    1. Hi Mary,
      We are having an exceptionally good winter. Lots of sun. I am surprised at the strawberries, and indeed all my winter veg. However, we don’t get frost where we are so perhaps thats the answer. It will be interesting to compare pictures in January next year.


  11. I am jealous! I have previously grown tomatoes, cucumbers basil and lemongrass as well as all the tropical fruit like mangos, papaya, passion fruit etc. In this new house there is no garden but we have around 20 palm trees which are in large raised brick circles, filled with sand. I am hoping to steal some soil from somewhere and start to grown tomatoes, peppers, chilli and herbs around the bottom of them. The things which grow easiest and quickest here are passion fruit, pumpkin and papaya. You just plant the seed and have fruit within 6 months usually,


    1. Hi Sami,
      Yep you must talk to your plants. Are the lettuce getting enough water?
      I had that problem last year. I also cut the leaves while they are young. Just the outside leaves and not the whole plant while they are still young and tender


  12. Impressed my dear! No wonder you haven’t time for azulejos. Sorry,no tips- Mick is the green fingered one and he doesn’t do veg (horrors- that’ll have to change when we finally get to live in Portugal)


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