Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – December

Better late than never!

I don’t know whether the excitement of our imminent trip to the UK for several weeks was sapping my enthusiasm, or just the December blues due to the long dark evenings, but I really had to dig deep (pardon the pun) to motivate myself to work in the garden. I’m not usually given to bouts of lethargy so perhaps the virus I picked up in France still made me feel sluggish. However, we can only reap what we sow and I kept plodding along.

Favas (Broad beans)
Favas (Broad beans)

The Favas seeds planted on the 24th October have grown well and the plants are now in flower. Hopefully we will be eating the beans by the end of February

Broccoli - Brócoloss
Broccoli – Brócoloss


Cauliflower - Couve-flor
Cauliflower – Couve-flor

The Broccoli and Cauliflower plugs planted the end of September are growing are also growing well and have already yielded enough for several meals. I’ve finally worked out if I only buy three plugs of each at a time this is more than enough. This, in theory, gives me four plants for me and two for the slugs!

Red Cabbage
Red Cabbage

The four tiny red cabbage plugs I planted at the end of November are growing really quickly. Last year I planted far too many red cabbages and several were wasted as even my friends were red-cabbaged out! Perhaps four is still pushing it, but the snails are bound to enjoy at least one.

Red Onions
Red Onions

This year I planted 20 baby red onions, as an experiment, because they are expensive to buy in the shops. The guy at the market tried desperately to persuade  me to buy a 100! I mean, what would I do with 100 onions? He even offered me a discount of 50 cents as an incentive.

Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Containers

Strawberries growing in pots in December
Strawberries growing in containers – December

I’ve discovered one of the keys to successful strawberry growing in containers is to regularly remove the dead leaves so they do not rot into the soil.  Strawberries are the one thing that seem to grow well providing I can keep the mealybugs at bay. Removing the dead leaves and letting the air circulate seems to help. They are still selling bunches of strawberry plants so I’m going to buy some more.

Growing Sweet potatoes in pots
Growing Sweet potatoes in pots

I planted two pots of sweet potatoes (batata doce) on the 18th September, but I have the horrible feeling they are not growing.

Potato Blight
Potato Blight

The potatoes I’m growing in bags all got potato blight. The potatoes although small were fine, but unfortunately all the pots of potatoes had to be destroyed. I will not attempt to grow potatoes again as I had exactly the same problem last year when the blight spread to my tomatoes.

Blackberry and Tayberry plants growing in pots
Blackberry and Tayberry plants growing in pots

Mr Piglet kindly built me a frame for my blackberry and tayberry plants. It’s nothing fancy as we utilized posts and wire we already had, but it will do the job. Because of the proximity of the hedge and its aggressive root system I’m growing most of my fruit bushes in large containers.

Peach trees in pots
The two peach trees growing in pots are still alive, even though they look dead.
Lime tree
Citrus leaf weevil is still attacking the leaves despite various applications of olive oil and soap solution.
I’m not entirely sure exactly what this fruit bush is, but my guess is that it is a cross between a gooseberry and a redcurrant.
The blueberry cuttings I made in France are still holding onto life by their fingernails…
Rhubarb in pots
My Rhubarb plant – well there is nothing much to say except it looks dead. It’s put up a valiant fight for survival over the years, but I think I must concede defeat. We will see.


raspberry canes
I bought three sticks from the market in Sao Teotonio and planted these directly in the ground. At just one euro each it was worth taking a chance.

Related posts
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – November
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – October
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – September
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in July
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Containers – July
Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Pots – June
Problem Cucumbers – Is it Anthracnose, Downy Mildew or…?
Garden Diary: Container Gardening – Cochonilhas or Mealybugs?
How did I kill my tomato plants?
Global Warming and Zucchini
Growing fruit and vegetable in December


24 thoughts on “Portugal: Growing Fruit and Vegetables – December

Add yours

  1. Hello Piglet.
    I’m Sami’s mother “colourfulword blog” from Perth. How are you?
    I were looking to your blog, it’s really good. About growing plants in containers: I have only a open small balcony and a closed small balcony: I tried to plant strawberries in the right season, they looked lovely, but never gave fruit!
    Usually what I can grow is plants for teas and health. As I am teaching “Health by Nature”, at a Senior University (Sintra) is helping me to show de real plant to my “pupils”! I have a plant that a few people have in Portugal: Gotu Kola.
    I didn’t know we should plant “favas” in October to eat in February, I just thought could be to eat only in April!!! I had before a space about 300 m. where one could plant but I had a guidance from a neighboor, than I don’t remember any more the time to plant vegies. I learned already from you. Thanks. But at this time I have no space to plant.
    Carry on with your nice blog. Hugs Celeste Cortez


    1. Hi Celeste, Bem Vindo 🙂 and virtual [hugs]

      and thank you for your kind comments about my blog.
      I would love to learn more about growing plants for herbal teas and health. so will study your blog 🙂 My Portuguese is not very good but I continue to learn something new every day.
      I’ve just checked out gotu kola and it is marketed as a memory-booster and natural remedy for anxiety and depression. Did you buy it in Portugal?

      Do you have any natural remedies for citrus leave miner, please? The little critters are ruining my orange and lime trees and because of the bees I do not want to spray chemicals on them.

      I only planted the favas because our local co op was selling the seeds so I thought, it was time to plant them. However, winters are a lot milder in the Algarve than in Lisbon/Porto. Maybe the beans take their time and still come in April -we will see 🙂

      Speak soon

      Kind regards,



        1. Bom Dia Ark, sorry for the late response but I found you languishing in Spam and had to release you … I should learn to speak french as one day who knows I may live there. But like you it’s a long time ago since my school French and my memory dims.


  2. Am jealous of your beautiful cauliflower and broccoli and your strawberry plants look a lot happier than mine [well, Father Nature has not given much encouragement 🙂 !]


  3. I admire all this effort! I have given up for this year. I went out to talk to the chickens today during a break and saw that the garlic which I left for rotten in the veg patch last autumn has now sprung forth (is that even a phrase?) and is 6 inches tall already! Maybe I put too much effort in before… 😉

    I too had potato blight. And what was worse, I have alwasy been able to grow loads of really lovely tomatoes, but this year they caught blight right after the potatoes.


    1. Hi Michelle, the potato blight is a real pain as growing potatoes in pots was really successful. Fingers crossed for your garlic 🙂

      I love your girls (chickens). If we had more room I’d def have some 🙂 they are such characters. Reading Victoria Tweads’s book about her chickens and their antics did make me laugh.


  4. I’m not sure you should give up on the rhubarb. I know the seasons are different in Portugal but rhubarb in the UK dies down in winter and will shoot vigorously again in Spring, especially if you put an upturned bucket over it.

    The lovage in our Portuguese garden looks completely dead and we went to the garden centre to buy another the other day. They told us that lovage dies off in winter but should grow back. We shall see if we have a phoenix 🙂


    1. Hi chip 🙂 Good idea re the bucket. I ahve a very large flower pot Mr Piglet put hot ashes in and he burned a hole in the bottom. I will put that on top! Perhaps this is the year my rhubarb will be a phoenix rsing from the pot rather than just w whimper 🙂 if it is still alive. You’ve just reminded me about the lovage. Which garden centre did you buy it from?


      1. If the hole is too big it’s no good. The idea of the pot is to keep it dark and so force it.
        We got the lovage at the big garden centre opposite IZI – between Lagos & Odiaxere (Q Centre I think they’re called). But they have none at the moment as they’re dormant. Higher Authority said to them “What’s the point of them being dormant this time of year when you need them for making soups?”. It was suggested that she might have dried some 🙂
        I imaging they’ll be back in a couple of months. Maybe they can be divided in which case you can have some of ours, they grow like Billy Stink in the summer!


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