By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe, Practical gardeners and authors living in Spain for 25 years
The short autumn before winter
In many ways November in Spain can be regarded as a short autumn transition from an Indian summer to the colder months of winter recognising that in the warmer southern coastal areas the first signs of Spring start with the almond blossom in January although this is phased over three months from the south to northern inland areas. In recent years , including this year, the traditional autumn gotafria or monsoon rains have not occurred in September or October but have been late making November a wet month, as it could be this year . So every dry day needs to be used to stimulate the late, including Christmas, flowering of plants; complete autumn vegetable plantings; planting deciduous fruit trees; and start to progress garden projects in the cooler air.
As much as we would like to present a full garden calendar for the month it would be impossible in the space available so we highlight some of the key tasks for each aspect of a Spanish garden. Fuller calendars of November tasks are included in each of our books.
A selection of November tasks
- Plant spring bulbs.
- Do an autumn weeding and hoeing.
- Deadhead and trim continuing flowering plants to stimulate Christmas colour.
- Check ties on trees and climbers before winter gales.
- Collect and dry seeds of annual plants
- Harvest and dry last of summer herb plants.
- Take cuttings of perennials for new plants .
- Trim perennials to maintain tidy plants .
- Start to harvest olives for pickling and oil. ..
- Harvest the last grapes for eating, storage for midnight on new years eve or wine making.
- Plant up new deciduous trees.
- Harvest persimmons and mandarins.
- Do a late harvest of comfrey leaves. Use them for compost, mulching raspberries, making a rich fertilizer for over wintering broad beans and peas, and dry some leaves for medicinal uses.
- Plant up onions, lettuces, Swiss chard, brassicas, globe artichokes, and beetroot and sow carrots, peas, broad beans, chick peas, and parsnips..
- Cut back asparagus bed and mulch with composted horse or goat manures and sea weed.
- Weed areas used for squashes, rotovate and mulch with manures.
- Clear out last of summer annuals and plant up with winter flowering plants.
- Continue to plant up vegetable containers with winter crops.
- Clean up strawberry barrel .
- Clean the leaves of evergreen plants.
Autumn talks and Question and Answer sessions – October/November
- 28 th October 15.00 Javea, U3A Gardening group
- 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 .
- 27/28th November 10.00 to 20.00 hours ‘Question and Answer’ stand at the ‘ The Over 50’s Show’ in the Estepona Exhibition Centre.
If you are a member of a gardening or social group interested in a talk, question and answer session or workshop in 2011 contact us via the ‘contact us’ tab on the front page.
We write for a wide range of hard copy and internet newspapers and magazines. If you need an article for a special edition contact us in good time.
Books save you time and frustration
Gardening in Spain is generally very different to gardening in Northern Europe so a buy of one or more of Clodagh and Dick Handscombe’s books which are based on their 25 years experience of gardening in Spain can take much of the frustration out of starting or revamping a Spanish garden. The following quartet of 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 November 2010.