By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe
Spain’s best known gardening authors who have lived and gardened in Spain for 25 years
Time to tighten up on gardening expenditure
Whatever happens to the euro in the coming months many expatriates in Spain and other Mediterranean countries are going to be short of cash to lavish on the garden so it makes sense that we make New Year resolutions to improve gardens in terms of beauty and productiveness for as little as possible. Fortunately there are many things that can be done. Each of our books include many practical cost saving ideas. We have picked out the following to get the ball rolling.
Cost saving ideas for all gardens.,
- Shred and compost the majority of prunings from the winter cut back to make rather than buy all your composts.
- Propagate as many new plants as possible from cuttings during the winter cutback, or or from self collected seeds. If you have never done this before Your Garden in Spain tells you how.
- Plant only natural or naturalised plants that are raised in a Spanish nurseries. They are likely to be less expensive than plants raised in foreign greenhouses especially the new boutique plants subtropical plants imported to offer something different each year but often don’t survive to the second year. Just one night of frost kills them off.
4. Stop planting new plants by the middle of May. Anything planted later is likely to need much water to see it through the first summer.
5. Visit several garden centres to check prices and plant quality before buying.
6. If you are keen to eat chemical free vegetables grow your own ecologically. There is no reason why you cannot eat better and less expensively. Great harvests can be grown in just a few containers. Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain and Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style tell you how.
7. Likewise plant more fruit trees. It does not need many varieties to enable one to harvest at least one fresh fruit on most days of the year. Our popular book Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain covers over 70 types of fruit suitable for growing in Spain.
At this time of year one can buy dry rooted trees for as little as five euros. It does not take many kilos of fruit before they pay for themselves.
8.Don’t water well established plants which have deep tap roots as much as newly planted shallow rooted plants. If you do you will waste money, possibly lose some plants as over watering can cause fungal attacks, and attract unwanted insects which will require you to purchase and spray with insecticides and fungicides.
9. Don’t empty the swimming pool or let it go foul during the winter. There are inexpensive chemicals to keep it clean until the Spring so that you don’t have to payout to refill the pool.
10. When you trim aromatic herbs such as rosemary lay out the trimmings on a sheet to dry for a couple of days. Then roll them in several sheets of newspaper and screw up the ends. You then have excellent firelighters.
11. Also use old newspapers to make news paper tubes which make free alternatives to plant pots. See Chapter 6.13 of Your Garden in Spain for more information.
12.Lawns require vast amounts of water. Consider having a smaller lawn, or none at all.
Convert part into a veggie plot or orchard.
With that happy gardening in 2012 with better gardens for less outlay.
Our five gardening books were written so that they soon pay for themselves even on your next visit to a garden centre!
(c) Clodagh and Dick Handscombe January 2012