Mediterranean gardens in Spain – June 2014

The long drought still continues

It is already the longest day of the year and temperatures are already in the upper twenties and mid thirtees centigrade, yet the drought that started last autumn has still not been broken in our valley. Flowering and vegetable plants and young fruit trees need watching closely so that an  extra watering to normal can be given when required.

‘How to use  less water in your garden’ – A timely new book

With the continuing drought the opportunity has been taken to extend and improve the booklet ‘Making waterless gardens a reality worldwide’ and publish it as a new 90 page book titled ‘ How to use less water in your garden – A practical guide to waterwise Mediterranean style gardening worldwide’. This is already available frolm Amazon Books. The book includes 300 practical ideas and a list of the most drought resistant plants for Spanish gardens.

Small scale growing of summer vegetables in builders buckets

To make better use of our drive it is now half planted up with tomatoes, lettuces, courgettes, cucumbers and squash in large black plastic builders buckets. To retain water and provide a powerful feed for young plants the buckets were first  half filled with partially composted rabbit droppings and then toppeed with a quality water retaining palm fibre compost. Naturally a drainage hole was cut in the base of each bucket before filling them. The plantation is in full sun for half of the day and plants are growing fast.

This is one of the many mini ways of growing good vegetables described in two of our earliewr books, namely ‘Growing healthy vegetables in Spain’ and ‘Apartment gardening – Mediterranean style’

Record crops of peaches and paraguayas

In spite of the drought several hundred small but sweet and tasty peaches and paraquayas were harvested ten days ago from three year old trees that had not been watered for six months as  there had ben no rain. As an experiment 50 cm wide and deep planting holes had been dug and then half filled with rabbit manure into which a couple of handfulls of TerraCottem soil improvement gel was mixed before planting the dry rooted trees. Once the holes were filled with soil and given a  heavy deep soaking the whole area of a dozen young trees of various types of fruit and nuts was covered with black plastic sheeting. The trees were then watered for the first six months and then left to nature for water. It would appear that the trees have now developed a realy deep network of roots

Harvests of grapes and olives will  be low this year

Following on from smaller than normal  harvests of late mandarins and oranges , due to the long drought conditions, nonirrigated olive trees and grape vines will,  as last year have small crops. Indeed in some areas the fruits have already dried up and fallen.

 

Thanks to readers for buying the book ‘Our 52 day retirement adventure along the Spanish Pyrenees’

The start of our selfsufficiency was our 52 day walk across Spain back in 1998 when we envied the lush mountain village vegetable plots and took on extra land when we arrived home. Incidently today we would have started a one day rest after walking for eight days.

During the walk we only had to put on rain gear three times. Perhaps this summer will be as dry. A book about the 930 kilometre walk was only published six months ago following pressure from family and friends, and the  Amazon Kindle version is proving to be a very popular read.