Spanish gardening- Rain at last makes it easy

By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe

Holistic gardeners and authors living an d gardening in Spain for 25 years.

At last some rain!

For us the spring/summer drought continued through to Friday 28th September. Then we received 28 cms of rainfall in a day. Rather different to the total of 2 centimeters over the previous six months! Gardens immediately greened up and nature was in some cases not sure of the time of year. Our male carob tree that normally flowers and becomes full of bees in March is already doing so. Large patches of summer bulbs that hibernated during the summer drought are now sprouting plus some well established Spring flowering ones. A few large asparagus, five months out of season , were enjoyed for dinner last night. A bottle brush that normally has a great spring flowering with a lesser autumn one has an amazing autumn flowering this year even better than last spring’s.

But mostly is the joy of being able to work comfortably in the garden with cooler weather and workable soils.

Good time to plant up vegetable plot

With the earth on vegetable plots and in raised beds and containers now easy to work clear out old crops and plant new seedlings or plantlets. Advice on what is best to plant/sow now is given in our books Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain and Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style.

Grow more healthy fruit by planting up now

If you just have token orange and lemon trees be more adventurous  as there are many fruits suitable for coastal and inland gardens from Cataluña in the north to Andalucia in the south.

Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain describes over seventy possibilities and we have half of them growing. Some cropping heavily every year and others lightly every so often because our conditions are not ideal. This year the long drought and high temperatures favored our Kiwino vines which are related to the kiwi but have bunches of smaller grape sized fruits. Tried some out on some Spanish agriculturalists over breakfast yesterday. After studying them from all angles for a while they tasted them questionable. ‘Mmm delicious!’ was the general reaction followed by’ But where are they from, What are they?’. I explained that they are a Spanish fruit from Galicia but we have it growing in our vegetable/fruit plot.

Christmas window boxes.

As the weather cools off it’s time to plant up over wintering plants in apartment window boxes.Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style provides photographs and descriptions of a range of interesting and inexpensive possibilities that use a wide variety of plants.

Pre Christmas prunings

While we have sunny but cooler weather suggest to give all straggly plants, especially climbers and shrubs alongside paths and terraces a good trim to stimulate late flowerings through to Christmas.

Spring bulbs need planting now

Some good offers of Spring bulbs are appearing. Now that the soil is moist it is easy to plant them. In spite of having an mature garden we have planted some more Dutch irises, Sparaxis and Scillas Siberica.s Each can do well in Spain. If you run a gardening club you may be able to arrange to buy in bulk for members at attractive prices from a major distributor such Theo de Boer b.v. in Holland.We have just done that via the popular Javea Gardening Club.

Autumn talks

Dick will  be giving talks and answering your gardening questions at several events prior to Christmas.

The soonest are as follows.

October 25th Javea, Alicante U3A Javea gardening group

November 9/10th Estepona, Andalucia, Homes Gardens and Outdoor Living Show

November25th Oliva, Valencia, U3A Oliva General Meeting

Launch of new booklet

Within the next few days we will be launching a new booklet as a supplement to our other books. It will have worldwide appeal.

Happy autumn gardening.