Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in February

My monthly diary continues.

Over the next year I’m keeping a monthly diary of 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.

Despite a couple of weeks absence in France my vegetable patch continued to prosper under the watchful and no doubt terrified “eye” of one of my dear friends. Even so,  I still had nightmares that an army of hungry snails would munch their way through all my cabbages, spinach and strawberries.  I awoke in a cold sweat,  trembling in terror my nightmare may indeed be a reality. Should I email my friend ‘just in case’ it was a premonition? No, I resisted the temptation and of course my veggies were fine.

RAISED VEGETABLE PLOT

Comparing this month’s photographs to those of January, I can really appreciate how much everything has grown!

Seedlings planted in this area on the 28/11/12

Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce on the 26th February

Leeks, red cabbage, rosso and green lettuce on the 26th February

…and in this area of the bed on the 23/11/12

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach on 26th February

Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and spinach on 26th February

The broccoli plants are exceeding my expectations. Each plant is now yielding flower heads and will be ready for harvesting in the next month. The cauliflowers are not faring well and have yet to produce anything more than an abundance of leaves. Strange, because according to my gardening books cauliflower are easier to grow.

I’ve just discovered Broccoli many nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin A, folic acid, fiber and calcium. Broccoli is a useful source of calcium for those who don’t consume dairy products. Great, because I avoid dairy.

Apparently broccoli grows best during cooler weather and once the head is removed side shoots should grow yielding an extra crop. We will see!

The flower heads are just beginning to appear on the broccoli

The flower heads are just beginning to appear on the broccoli

Lombarola cabbages? No, according to google there is no such thing – this is just another example of “lost in translation”. The market trader must have misunderstood my request for the name of the cabbage and probably gave me his name instead! Shame because I was keen to know the variety, as they are growing well!

The heart of the cabbages are now begining to form

The heart of the cabbages are now beginning to form

The rosso lettuce have grown exceptionally well and quickly. I now eat fresh lettuce most days. However, I only remove the outside leaves rather than cut the whole lettuce.

The Rosso lettuce are just perfect!

The Rosso lettuce are just perfect!

The outside leaves of the red cabbage are enormous so I am gradually removing them, shredding finely and using in soups or as a green vegetable.

The red cabbages are huge!

The red cabbages are huge!

CONTAINER GROWN FRUIT & VEGETABLES

The strawberries continue to bear an abundance of fruit. However, I noticed recently several are being nibbled while still on the plant. I initially thought it could be mice, but then I spotted Mr and Mrs Blackie having a real feast. One standing guard, while the other had a right royal feast!

Winter strawberries

Winter strawberries

The baby courgettes along with the baby cucumbers are growing ‘reasonably’ well. I’ve had to grow these in large pots because there is no room left at the Inn. Namely, in my raised veggie plot.

Baby courgette plants from the market

Baby courgette plants from the market

Do these look like cucumber seedlings?

I think these are cucumbers seeedlings?

I think these are cucumbers seedlings?

FRUIT TREES

I struggle with fruit trees as our garden is subject to strong salt winds straight off the Atlantic. However, I am ‘pig-headed’ and persist with my quest, regardless.

The tiny lime tree below is finally in flower. It’s in a secluded location, but during the winter the area is too shaded. I I’m tempted to transplant it elsewhere, but I may kill it in the attempt. So probably best to leave well alone. Limes are really expensive here in Portugal, so I am keen for this little tree to grow well.

My baby lime tree now has several buds

My baby lime tree now has several buds

We planted this orange tree at the beginning of February. It’s a winter fruiting variety and should give us plenty of delicious navel oranges from November onwards. Fingers crossed.

Our new orange tree

Our new orange tree

Fig Tree
I won’t take a photograph of my black fig tree as it looks like a dead twig!

General

Radishes: I continue to sow seeds at regular intervals between the leeks and red cabbages.
Leeks: I should be pulling these shortly. However, they are so cheap in the shops at the moment at only 72cents per kilo these were probably not a good choice as space in my veggie plot is at a premium.
Spinach: Growing well and I continue to plant seeds every month so the crop is ongoing.
Carrots: I really need to thin these, but so far so good.
Rhubarb: Still dormant at the moment. Hope it’s still alive.
Physalis: The mature plants growing in pots continue to provide lots of delicious fruit. The seedlings are still growing, but slowly.
Chili and piri piri: Growing in pots and lots of peppers.

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.

Related posts:
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in December
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in January

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57 responses to “Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in February

  1. What a beautiful sight, Carole. All that new growth and greenery. We’re buried under more than a meter of snow and will be for several more months (or flooded when it begins to melt). I’ll enjoy vicarious gardening through your efforts. (You don’t like milk products? Or allergic?)

    Like

  2. Hi Jan,
    I can’t imagine a meter of snow. It must be really grim especially if it is expected to last for several months. Still the snow has a fresh beauty 🙂

    It’s not that I am allergic to milk products more intolerant. I recently discovered dairy and wheat were causing not only inflammation in my joints but also giving me IBS.

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  3. Gosh! Your garden seems so full and happy with the yummy plants! I’m looking forward to trying strawberries again this year. We tried a couple of years ago but birds ate most of them and the dogs the rest!

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  4. Is it possible to have vegetable and fruit envy? I’m so jealous!

    Like

  5. mara4africatoalgarve

    What is your secret? I have some strawberry plants but no strawberries at the moment.
    About your “Lombarola cabbages?” – they are called “couve lombarda” in Portuguese. Check this out : http://local.garden.org/Cabbage_Lombard_IL-r1216480-Lombard_IL.html – there’s a picture at the bottom of the page.

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    • hi Mara,
      It’s his writing! Lombard is similiar. thanks SO much for the link!

      As for my secret re strawberries, I think it may be because they are in a very sheltered sunny location and to date we have not had frost. May also be the variety – we will see if they are still flowering in the summer!

      Like

  6. Pingback: Fresh Cucumber » Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in February | Piglet in Portugal

  7. Great post you have here ,Excellent work my friend 🙂

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  8. PIP, your garden is growing so well…you have found your green thumb!!!

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  9. Your garden looks grand, PiP! Removing the outer leaves to shred into soups is smart. Enjoy!

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  10. Your produce looks fine and healthy Carole, all your hard work is paying off, what an achievement!
    I couldn’t tell you if those are cucumber seedlings or not as I’ve never grown them, so wouldn’t know what they look like as seedlings. You will have to wait and see – might have a nice surprise!

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  11. Your garden looks lovely Pip! Those certainly could be cucumber seedlings. In the picture it looks like the first true leaves are yellowing off though, not a great sign. Hopefully that’s just a photo colour issue!

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  12. Your veggie garden is just beautiful! What a great variety you have.
    Our little patch either wilts in the heat (I try to water daily in the evening) or gets munched by all sorts of pests – snails (I have put out containers with beer, and they are happily having their last drink) and others I don´t even know their names….

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    • Thanks Sami 🙂 I am on snail watch all the time! There are other bugs I’ve found in the soil, some are orangey worms, which I don’t think are good. Keep trying with your veg and perhaps they need some green netting up to screen them from the heat of the sun.

      Like

  13. ~standing ovation~ You’re becoming the master gardener that I always knew you would. Plants love you and under your care they thrive. I’m so happy to see your beautiful and delicious veggies and fruit.
    We tried a couple of times to grow cauliflower, but we didn’t have much luck. We’ll probably try again sometime. It’s a delicious veggie and quite pricey in the stores. Broccoli is so scrumptious. We haven’t grew it in a few years, but after seeing yours I want to grow it again. I’ll have to talk to my hubby about it.
    Great photos. I enjoyed every morsel of this post. Thank you for sharing the beauty and success of your hard work and heart. Awesome! 🙂

    I just posted an update on Squash Blog if you want to go see it:
    http://squashlady.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/let-the-2012-gardening-begin/

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  14. Hurray!!!! I am so excited for you, PiP! Your garden looks amazing!!!

    Years ago, when I had the garden in Connecticut, I would go out at the end of February and courageously plant broccoli…which, as you say, loves the cooler weather. Of course, I had to run out every late afternoon to cover each plant with a bucket to protect it from the freezing cold night…but I loved doing it because I couldn’t wait one more second to get planting. 🙂

    I’ll be checking back regularly to follow your gardening diary!

    Like

    • Hi Vivian,
      running out with a bucket to cover up plants is just like me! My concern is that it is now becoming very warm now. 20C during the day, although night time temps are single figures. We also have not had proper rain for months and we are now on the verge of a drought..

      Like

  15. We have just started an allotment and I am very excited. We need to get the weeds out first but then, oh, I have such ideas. I want to grow chilli peppers too. What time of the year is good for those. I want to start soon sowing things but Jan seems a little early, is it?
    I know where to come with questions now 🙂
    I also want to keep a pictorial diary. I don’t think I have ever been more excited. xx

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    • Hi Lynda,
      Can you buy the seedling plugs? I would buy a selction to get you started once the danger of frosts has past. Then gor the rest from seeds which you can probably start shortly. 🙂 We are in March(almost) not Jan LOL.
      I think you will need to be mindful of frosts…but you are lucky you can grow parsnips and brusselsprouts. I can’t as we don’t get any frosts!
      I look forward to you pictional diary 🙂 gardening is both exciting and frustrating!

      Like

  16. Sorry this is Lynda and I seem to have posted under my other blog ‘Childless support’ sorry.
    x

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  17. wow, your garden looks wonderful. I am envious. It seems you have plenty of produce so theres no harm in sharing some of your crop with the local wildlife.
    I did not realise Broccoli was good for calcium. Lettuce is good for helping you sleep.

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  18. You really are doing SO WELL! Pop over and grow some for me! I love broccoli, but the kids hate it. One of my co-workers puts it through the blender then adds it to the spag bol! I’m thinking of adopting that strategy!

    Like

  19. They are nice vegetables (in particular Winter strawberries)
    My strawberries haven’t grown yet. I just wait to eat them. 🙂

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  20. You make me wish I had room for a veggie garden! I’m stuck with buying it all in the grocery or farmer’s market.

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  21. Green with envy. I was very proud of my one potato which was growing nicely but have just discovered the cats have dug it up.

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  22. Hi Linds,
    I think you can grow something which deters cats…is it catmint?

    Like

  23. maturestudenthanginginthere

    I’m not sure if you accept awards but I just wanted to pop in and say that I’ve nominated you for the Awesome Blog Content Award. You can find out the details by following this link. Congratulations!
    http://maturestudenthanginginthere.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/awesome-what-little-old-me/

    Like

    • Hi,
      Thank you for thinking of me – a kind thought. I used to post bloggers awards but to be honest it got to the point where I was jumping through hoops, spent hours trying to decide who to pass them on to as I did not want to offend those I missed. The biggest compliment is when a fellow bloggers interacts with comments on my blog and presses like. So your comments and likes are the awards 🙂

      Like

  24. Looks like you’re going to have quite the bountiful harvest. Keep us posted,. 😉

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  25. Wow! Wow! Wow! You can really serve up a feast!!

    PiP I got tagged today and amazingly enough I’ve actually found the time to write a return post and think up some questions. I would be interested in your answers so I picked you as one of my receivers:

    http://sarsm.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/ive-been-tagged-so-im-it/

    Like

  26. Hi PiP, I have just been given some advice on growing Rhubarb. They do not like being in a container as they need lots of room for the roots. They need plenty of water and when planting, lots of manure etc should be dug into the earth first. They must been given a cold spell when dormant (winter).
    Clara

    Like

  27. You are lucky wit all that sunshine, here it will still be snow for months… 😉

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  28. This is really encouraging PiP, you seem to be doing really well, the photos speak for themselves. I’m inspired.

    Like

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  32. I loved the English version, it must have be been goolge translated . What lovely gift though. Ib4ve never been too fond of hot food, but in general the Portuguese like their piri-piri in everything. My husband is always making different concoctions with his chillies as he loves spicy food.

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  33. Pingback: Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in June | Piglet in Portugal

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