June in the Spanish Gardens

Drought continues – what next with the weather?

Still no rain. Just one light shower in the past four months. What the rest of the month will bring us is any ones guess. Back in the late 1980’s a storm a month could be expected and in 1987 we had two weeks of rain in June. But with the expansion of the coastal concrete jungle during the the next twenty years the climate was changed. Less summer rain. The gota frias in October/November rather than mid/late september and sea temperatures up two degrees.

This type of evolving climate makes it doubly important to plant only or mainly drought resistant flowering  plants. The recommended plant lists in our books ‘Your Garden in Spain’ and ‘Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style’ indicate the relative drought salt  and frost resistance of the plants described and illustrated. To help you chose, locate and buy plants Botanical plus common English and Spanish names are given.

Learning Spanish?

If you are wisely learning to understand and speak Spanish it makes sense with an interest in Spanish gardening to learn the appropriate words. To help you our books include  comprehensive English-Spanish vocabularies.

Training roots to go deep

With no spring rain we trained many plants to put down deeper tap roots and generally most of the garden was not watered until the first of June and in a mature garden we no longer use a drip watering system. Deep watering occasionally when plants show stress versus unnecessary and ineffective daily shallow watering is our general guideline once plants are established.

Watering needs increasing

Having said that if you have a watering system operating most of the year you will now need to increase the  the hours of watering or preferably water for less hours but with higher volumes to get down to the lower roots.

TerraCottem now have a totally ecological product

Although the TerraCottem soil improvement product distributed in Spain by TerraVida was almost ecological a new eco product has now been produced. By the way one of the major benefits of these products is that they can reduce watering needs by 50 to 70 percent. This especially helpful when planting new plants in the spring and in maintaining apartment terrace flowering plant and vegetable containers at their best. Some how the text won’t go back to black. Must be the affect of the green product.

Late Spring/early Summer fruits

Wild and cultivated strawberries were followed by red and black currants. Then the last of the avocados and oranges were harvested and juiced and a crop of gooseberries eaten raw. Now ripe juicy peaches and apricots plus the first raspberries will be fully ripe within a few days. Summer and autumn fruit harvests will then continue month by month for we now have over thirty of the seventy fruits described in our best selling book ‘Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain’ planted up. And of course if spraying is required only ecological sprays are used as explained in the book

Container Vegetable growing

Congratulations to all those who have started growing vegetables in containers and raised beds in gardens and patios and on apartment terraces balconies and windowsills. It is really amazing what can be grown in just one  to six square metres. If you haven’t yet started to do so or need to improve what you are doing thgere are chapters on s mall scale vegetable growing in our books ‘Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain’ and ‘Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Gardening’.

Mid Summer paellas

Although we desperately need a couple of good nights of rain we hope that the evening of the longest day is dry for a summer paella is planned in the shade of our olive grove – adjacent trees give good shade from eight o’clock. As some of our guests are also paella enthusiasts will ensure that a royal mountain paella will  be cooked with the full range of ingredients and careful preparation described in two articles in the Archives of April 2011 are followed. Try it if you are not sure what is involved. For sure it has become difficult to obtain a really good paella these days in many restaurants as short cuts in ingredients and process are used to survive the economic crunch.

Fish and supplies for your ponds

Have just discovered a newish supplier of young and mature Koi Carp and all the pond supplies. They also design and construct ponds. The name is Koi Hacienda and they have an excellent website and online shop.

Spring 75 year lecture tour complete. Phew!

Lasts weeks talk on ‘Living well from our Mediterranean Garden’, based on our book with the same title, to the Val de Pop U3A was the last of a long series of Spring talks by Dick in England, France, Belgium,  Mallorca, Andalucia and Valencia Communidad to celebrate his 75th birthday with family and gardening friends and having had an own flower and vegetable garden for seventy years. Thanks to those who put me up and fed me excellently on route.  Dick keeps saying this is the final year of talks and garden visits. Garden visits have definitely ceased but since four talks at shows are already planned for Alicante and Marbella in 2012 and 2013 we will consider talks to gardening and social clubs to te end of 2013 provided the dates and travel logistics make sense. If any reader works for a cruise line we would love to entertain your cruise groups!

Enjoy June in the garden and speak to you in July.