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
…and in this area of the bed on the 23/11/12
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!
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 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 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.
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!
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.
Do these look like cucumber seedlings?
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.
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.
I won’t take a photograph of my black fig tree as it looks like a dead twig!
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.