By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe, active gardeners and authors living in Spain for more than twenty years.
Non seasonal weather
June starts in an unusual fashion this year. It’s raining and has been for much of May. Luckily the soils are saturated to take us through to July with the minimum of watering and reservoirs are no longer empty so threatened major water restrictions have been called off. However the damp weather has caused havoc in many fruit growing areas with major insect and fungal damage as it was not possible to maintain spraying programmes. Likewise in gardens and on vegetable plots. But most importantly plants, including annuals and vegetables, have been slow to grow due to the major reduction in the number of sunshine hours. Hopefully things change this week as there is plenty to do in the garden and today the first of June we have only managed two short hours between thunder storms.
So what needs doing once the sun is out?
- Weekly deadheading of flowering plants.
- Remove and compost the windblown weeds that have germinated and grown at an amazing pace during May.
- Plant out any plants grown from seed or cuttings that are still being sheltered in the greenhouse or cold frame.
- Watch out for mealy bug and aphid attacks on flowering plants after the rain and act fast. Eco solutions are presented in Your garden in Spain – From planning to planting and maintenance.
- Spray fruit trees weekly preferably with eco sprays. Luckily a new source of our favourites Neem (an insecticide), Propolis (a fungicide) and nettle (an insecticide and foliar feed) are now available by mail order from one supplier in Spain www.happyecogardens.com .
- Harvest the early season glut of soft fruit and dry what you can’t eat in a day. We have written an earlier article about drying and the Dorrex dryer that allows us to do so overnight 365 days a year – more info email email@example.com
- All the fruit vegetables are planted and growing well considering the weather but they do now need weekly dustings with sulphur powder. Likewise your grape vines and raspberry plants.
- When you have a dry day check out the irrigation system to ensure that jets are not blocked and that there are no leaks.
- Be vigilant for snails and slugs. One can easily loose a line of emergent carrots or herbs over night.
- Ensure that the roots of plants and trees in pots, window boxes and other containers are not waterlogged. Tip them on one side for a few days if they are.
- Tie up beans, tomatoes and peppers as they grow to reduce the chance of wind damage.
- Keep the now faster growing lawns trimmed.
As said earlier there is much to do before the hot weather arrives and the above are just an extract from the monthly calendars included in our books. If you haven’t purchased them yet you will find them practical and thorough guides to planning, planting, trouble shooting and maintaining colourful, perfumed and productive gardens wherever you reside in Spain or other Mediterranean areas of the world.
* The latest books are Your Garden in Spain, Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain and Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain. See the Our Books section of this site.
© Clodagh and Dick Handscombe June 2008