By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe, Practical gardeners and authors living in Spain for 25 years
Well many gardens benefited from mid-August rains. Hibernating plants sprung into flower, shrubs put on an amazing amount of growth and in dampish areas around vegetable gardens weeds and wild grass put on 30cms of growth in a couple of weeks. September opened with a couple of cloudy cooler days and some areas had rain . Now on Saturday the 4 th it’s hot and steamy. Although a little below 30 in the shade it feels like 35 or more so work in the garden continues to be an early morning in those of the garden getting the morning sun while work in shady areas is still pleasant until midday affair for comfort.
Some priority tasks
- Prune excessive growth along paths without cutting out two many flowers.
- Don’t let up on watering plants in containers – we could well have a hot autumn
- Harvest the last of the almonds and first of the walnuts, and enjoy home grown grapes, figs, kiwis, blackberries and raspberries.
- Bottle, jam and dry continuing excess crops of tomatoes.
- Take and plant up cuttings to have good roots before the winter.
- Prepare raised beds and vegetable plots fir planting the first of the autumn and over wintering crops.
- Not all areas of the vegetable plot are likely to be needed for winter crops especially if you have been growing squash so take the opportunity to sow fast growing green fertilizer crop such as alfalfa and phacellia.
- Clear excess oxygenating plants and water lily leaves from the pond so that you can still enjoy the shoals of fish and see this years additions.
- Spray fruit trees with ecological neem and propolis.
- Continue to make good use of solar cookers. At present ours is just finishing off two chunky lamb shanks – a popular Spanish dish.
Each of our books have comprehensive seasonal calendars.
Three tier vegetable growing
We have kept out three forms of vegetable growing going all summer. Both our experimental three square metre first floor container vegetable plot and our thirty square metres of raised beds have been so productive that we are sowing another area of alfalfa and planting another row of raspberries on the main vegetable and soft fruit plot.
Both ‘Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain’ and ‘Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style’ will help you to soon establish productive year round vegetable growing. It’s great to have two springs in Spain – spring and autumn –and in most expatriate areas mild winters.
Autumn talks and Question and Answer sessions
- 18 th September 10.00 to 14.00 and 18.00 to 20.00 Bookworld book shop, Eroski commercial centre, Ondara
- 5 th November 13.00 Moraira Rotary Fellowship, Moraira
- 4 th November Rugat Gardening Club, Oasis Country Park, Rugat
- 6 th October 14.30 Ebro Valley Guest House, Riba Roja d’Ebre
- 9 th October 10.30 to 14.00 Commercial Centre, Alcossebre .
We do not take on routine gardening projects but do get fun out of coaching owners of challenging sites to recover overgrown uncared gardens or start from scratch with a bare hillside or sun baked area of semi dessert.
Obtaining our books
Our latest four books can be obtained from high street and online bookshops. The publishers Santana Books have an autumn special offer for a set of the first and last two books.
- Your Gardening in Spain – Planning planting and maintenance
- Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style – Terraces, balconies and windowsills.
- Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain
- Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain .
© Clodagh and Dick Handscombe September 2010.