Gardening in Spain – March came in like a lamb, but!

By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe gardeners and authors living in Spain for 25 years.

The entrée

Around 11.30 pm on the 27 th February Spanish gardens and those out late experienced a once in a life time end of the month. The temperatures were 8 to 11 degrees centigrade depending where one lives along the coast when a violent switch from a north to south wind sent temperatures soaring to 27 degrees centigrade within twenty minutes and they stayed there for two hours before dropping within ten minutes to 12 to 15 degrees by 0200 am. Luckily after day break temperatures rose to around twenty by midday and we had a welcome vitamin D topping up siesta to recover from a strenuous walk and end to a colder and wetter February than normal.

March 1 st continued warm and an eight hour stint in the garden was enjoyed to start to catch up on some overdue tasks. March 2 nd turned to rain mid afternoon but has at 11.00am Tuesday 3 rd now turned to sun. But we expect another month of yo-yoing weather just when much needs to be done. But that’s Spain in early spring, and sunny or wet there are spring bulbs and all sorts of fruiting trees in blossom to make it a joy to garden.

Books to help you get on top of Spanish gardening fast

Whether an experienced or novice gardener when you came to Spain –and more newcomers will arrive to take over properties during the Easter break – gardening is different here to that in the UK and other temperate climate situations. The Med generally lives up to it’s basic reputation of very hot summers and relatively cold winters, we and the plants in our garden have lived through temperatures of plus 47°C down to wind factor minus 15°C.

Having had to learn a lot the hard way about the different soils, plants, pests, gardening products and seasonal climates and with no good gardening books when we first started to grow flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables we recorded our experiences in a series of seven books to help others accelerate their learning experiences and save money in the process.

So with Spring garden design/redesign, plant and tree buying, growing from seeds or cuttings, plantings, prunings, feedings, waterings, sprayings etc ahead Now is a good time to dust and reread, or buy, our latest quartet of Spanish gardening books published by Santana Books in Spain. Each also useful in other Mediterranean climate situations world wide.

The quartet consists of the following.

  • ‘Your Garden in Spain – From planning to planting and maintenance’
  • ‘ Growing Healthy fruit in Spain – From strawberries to oranges and water melons’
  • ‘Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain – From sprouting seeds to giant pumpkins’
  • ‘Mediterranean Apartment Gardening’ … be published at the end of the month to help you make your under utilised apartment balconies and terraces into attractive and productive living spaces.

We hope that they each of them help you en joy to the full the tremendous gardening and lifestyle opportunities that Spain offers to persons of all ages and nationalities. But get your gardening wrong and it can become an unnecessary chore and expense. As a must each book includes guidelines of those plants that do best in coastal and inland situations and how to buy, plant and care for them. It is not always successful at first and common problems and villa, town house and apartment gardens are discussed.

© Clodagh and Dick Handscombe March 2010.