Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in July

You certainly reap what you sow!

I’ve devoted hours tending my vegetable garden this month and I’m now reaping the benefits with an abundant crop of tomatoes, lettuce, radish, carrots, peppers, red cabbage and French green beans. The crops are fed at regular intervals with the MiracleGro kindly donated by a friend. However, I can’t seem to order this online for delivery to Portugal, nor can I seem to source from any of the garden centres or co ops.

Raised vegetable garden 22nd July 2012
Raised vegetable garden 22nd July 2012

The parsley is a bonus – it self-seeded!

The leeks planted at the end of May continue to thrive. However, because they were given to me as seedlings I planted more than needed so I hope they are not all ready for harvesting at the same time. The last batch I grew were left in the ground far to long and were woody and inedible. Mental note: next time, make some leek soup!

Raised vegetable garden 18th July 2012
Raised vegetable garden 18th July 2012

I am still struggling to eat the few remaining cabbages, both red and green. I’d love to freeze them, but our freezer is just too small! When we were away last year we had a power cut which tripped the electric and we lost all the contents of our freezer. “Fine, no problem”, we thought, until we discovered the insurance company refused to pay out for the spoiled food!

Green Beans, variety "Contender"
Green Beans, variety “Contender”

The green beans planted from seed on the 3/6 are now ready for harvesting…lots of beans! We not only eat them as a standard vegetable but are also one of the key ingredients in one of my favourite salads – Piglet’s Portuguese Salad

My first red pepper 22nd July 2012
My first red pepper 22nd July 2012

I transplanted several of the red and orange peppers growing in pots to the raised bed. The pots were unfortunatly not big enough and the plants were suffering. I also repotted the remaining plants to larger pots in order to continue my container gardening experiment.

Plum tomatoes 22nd July 2012
Plum tomatoes 22nd July 2012

The first fruit from the cordon plum tomatoes, planted as plugs at the beginning of May, are now finally turning red. I’m surprised at the length of time they’ve taken to ripen. The little cherry tomatoes, which are growing in pots, produced fruit and ripened quickly, so “cherries” seem a great option to kick-off the salad season.

Aubergine plants
Aubergine plants (Beringela)

The two aubergine plugs purchased from our local agricultural shop and planted on the 16/6 are growing well and are now covered in flowers. Looks like I may have a bumper crop of Aubergines. Thank goodness I only bought two plants!

I now need to grow a few more from seed or buy more plants. The little agricultural shop has now stopped selling plants through the heat of the summer months. I tried buying more lettuce plugs at the beginning of July, but now luck.

My baby lettuce are wilting in the heat and full sun
My baby lettuce are wilting in the heat and full sun

Unable to buy lettuce from our local shop I tried growing some from seed – would they germinate, not on your life! Faced with the prospect of paying inflated prices during the summer for lettuce, I managed to find plugs from a car boot sale. I could not believe my luck when I spotted a whole stall devoted to selling baby veg plants!

I only bought eight (four rosso and four green) However, in hindsight I wish I’d bought more as I’m now left with only one green and two rosso. Despite watering and planting late evening the tender baby lettuce have not fared well in the glare of the hot sun.

Note for next year: Plant baby lettuce in a more shaded place during the summer months.

Insect "burrowing" in leaves of orange tree
Insect “burrowing” in leaves of orange tree

The baby oranges on my solitary orange tree turned black, shrivelled and died. Some of the leaves are now infested with an insect that burrows its way through the leaf layers. I initially removed the affected leaves, but this did not resolve the problem as more appeared. I’m going to try one of the green pest deterrent potions suggested by Sami and Joan. Any idea what this insect is?

Food From Seed
Black Carrots
Joan’s black carrots seeds planted on the 5/6 have exceeded my expectations and are almost ready for harvesting. I’ve never eaten black carrots before so it will be an interesting experience. In fact, I’ve never seen a black carrot!
I continue to plant radish seeds at regular intervals to guarantee an ongoing supply. Rather than plant in regimented rows I now group in squares which works really well and conserves space.
Despite my best efforts I’m unable to persuade my lettuce seeds to germinate and resorted to buying more lettuce plugs from the market…
Green Beans (Contender)
Planted 3/6 and in just six weeks I have a bumper crop of beans.
30/7 Planted several seeds in a large pot as I need to rest an area of soil in the raised garden for a crop of broad beans which I will plant in October.

Related posts
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in June
How did I kill my tomato plants?
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in April
April: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Pots
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in March
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in February
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in January
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in December


51 thoughts on “Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in July

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  1. Hurray!!!! I am sooooo happy for you! This looks like a wonderful array of veggies that will be feeding you and your family for the rest of the summer and beyond! I love how you are making notes for next year so you will have even more success! Good going, PiP.:)


  2. Your garden is looking fantastic! Well Done! We have never used any shop bought fertiliser, we always use home made comfrey and home made nettle fertiliser….much better than any you can buy in the shops…both full of the nutrients your veggies need 🙂 If you want me to send you a cutting from one of our comfrey plants, let me know. We ordered ours originally from Ebay a few years ago. The more you cut them down, the more they grow so always free fertiliser and the flowers are pretty as well. All the best.


    1. Yes please 🙂 I will certainly give it a try.
      and someone is kindly bringing me some miracleGro in the meantime.
      I’ve been experimenting with alltypes of soil as well this year which I use in my pots.


  3. Well done on such a productive veggie garden, it all looks so healthy, apart from the lettuce. Time for me to start thinking about some spring crops.


      1. I don’t have the space for much but try and grow assorted lettuce, spring onions, tomatoes, peppers and herbs. So much of my garden is in shade which is a problem for veg.


  4. I have the same problem with lettuce, so I made a little screen for them which I use when the sun is high in the sky. I stapled some green shade cloth (make it as long or as short as you need) to two poles which I just push into the soil and stretch it our over the lettuce to shade them – and it works!


  5. I know this isn’t related directly to your blog, but you seem like a great gardener… So earwigs have attacked one of my plants. Hundreds of them. It’s an infestation. How can I get rid of them? Please help!


  6. Talk about lush! I weep for my stubborn strawberry plant, the only thing growing in my garden this year, which refuses to give me any fruit. Yes, a gardening blog would be excellent, I’m always on the lookout for good tips that actually work in the garden. I know have a small library of your advice in a folder on my shelf!


    1. Your poor strawberry plant, perhaps it needs feeding and a good talking to or maybe it’s lonely? I must start the blog it’s called Piglet’s Plot it just needs all the techie behind the scene stuff, sorting.


  7. I love hearing about your gardening. I admire your raising so many tasty things in limited space. Your gardening is so lovely and neat.
    You ought to start a gardening blog and write a book too.
    I can hardly wait to hear about the black carrots. Cool!


    1. Hi EC, yep I am going to start a gardening blog. HAve collect lots of photos and ideas but it’s time at the moment. I thought I’d have more time once I’dretire not less. I still could not download your free squash book, though


  8. Hi.Piglet. You can make your own version MiracleGro ,
    If you can get hold of some horse dung & a veg net the kind you get when you buy spuds or onions,fill up the net with the dung tie the top & put it in the biggest bucket of water you can get your hands on & leave it for a week or two.
    When you 1st use it add 50% more water as it’s very strong +/- half a cup per plant ,as time goe’s by you add less water.
    I have a big barrel & it last all year
    Veg looks great well done


    1. Hi LEs, thanks for tip re horse dung. I’ve been watching the horses go up the road, but so far they ahve not left their visiting card. There are some horses nearby, but I don’t think I can just wander in the field and help myself to manure. The field is not attached to the owners house…it’s difficult.


  9. Your garden reminds me so much of the one my step grandfather tended in his backyard. As a little boy I’d follow him around and ask dozens of questions which he patiently answered. But I don’t see any kale.


    1. The only organic contol I have for caterpillars I’m afraid is to pick them off and stamp on them. The smaller variety I spray my plants with soapy water.

      thanks for the link…that’s exactly it. Will certainly try the oil trick!


    2. Just a thought perhaps the spray she mentions on the site will work on caterpillars too
      Pour 2 cups of vegetable oil and ½ cup of dishwashing liquid into a jar, mix it well then add 1 tbsp of concentrate to 1 litre of water. Spray to cover the top and bottom of the foliage.


  10. Coming over from by car mid-September. Happy to bring you some MiracleGro – just let me know.

    BTW, you are probably aware that there are normally 2 flatbed trucks outside Lagos market on Saturday mornings which sell plug plants.


    1. Hey Lian,
      I’ve managed to kill my sage I’m growing in a pot! I find growing herbs in pots quite tricky as I can’t seem to get the watering just right for their needs.
      Which herbs are you growing on your balcony?


      1. I’m growing basil, parsley, thyme and oregano. I guess it’s partly the pots it is in and partly the sun, there’s no shade at all on the balony… That makes the watering even more tricky!


        1. Sounds tricky! Are they planted directly in clay pots? I only ask as I now put everything in platic pots, then the clay decorative pots, so the plants don’t dry out too quickly. Apart form my sage…seems to have worked for me


          1. They are actually in a large wooden pot hanging from the balcony. It has plastic on the inside but there are no seperate pots in it. I guess most of it is still alive but it all looks kinda wild and dying… We’ll see how it goes, otherwise I’ll try again next year!


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