Hot summer gardens in Spain

The record drought continues

Still no rain. The drought which has been continuous since last summer is now said to be the most extensive for eighty years. Gardens ,agriculture, natural lands and wildlife are suffering. Poorly fenced properties are now regularly entered by thirsty rabbits and wildboar and ripening grape crops are now at risk.

New book ‘How to use less water in your garden’ was timely

Our new book published last month was timely and early purchasers and readers have no problem finding ideas relevant to their property among the three hundrred plus proven ideas. The ideas are not only relevant to Spain but also to all Mediterranean climate locations and other parts of the world that have droughts from time to time – including the UK.

Making full use of the drive

Experiments to make our garden self sufficient, having given up our alllotment*, continue. This summer we have an extra dozen large black builders buckets along one side of the drive planted with cougettes, squash, pumpkins, melons, lettuces, tomatoes and peppers.

The buckets were half filled with rabbit droppings with compost heap compost on top. To reduce the chance of plants drying out once summer temperatures rise above 30 degrees centigrade , as now, some TerraCottem water absorbing gel soil improver was worked in around the centre depth of the buckets. All are doing well. They are only in full sun for half the day which helps reduce moisture evaporation and extend ripening times.

* Allotment given up as now approaching 78 don’t grow for others or a Michelin starred restaurant as it moved 60 kilometres. Also thieving has become a problem with the high level of unemployment, agricultural water costs have gone up as the pumpman now has few customers – 90 percent of local agricultural land is now abandoned-, and the water if used is now full of weed seeds from the open channels through which it flows.

Living well from your garden 

With this extra space to supplement the original ten-tub veggie garden*, the bean trough and raised beds we are living well and summer guests are loving the range of home grown veggires, fruit, herbs andeat that we raise. If you would like to know more about our selfsufficiency gardening our case study style book ‘Living well from our garden – Mediterranean style’ is available from Amazon Books. * The concept of a ten-tub veggie garden was first described in chapter 3.9 of our book ‘ Growing healthy vegetables in Spain’.

 Summer Valencian paellas  grown in the garden

With the expansion of veggie growing space, rabbits breeding well and one day chicks purchased early May now large enough for paellas our weekly paella, now cooked in our new paella kitchen and eaten under the integral awning, are definately home grown and ecological. If you would like to know more about the history, ingredients, cooking and eating of a genuine authentic Valencian paella our inexpensive booklet ‘Authentic Valencian Paellas’ is available from Amazon Books. A Spanish translation is also available.

Try a vegetable paella

Not everyone eats meat these days so a recipe for a paella with vegetables only is included in the afore mentioned book.

Made with some twenty varieties of vegetables it can be very colurful as well as tasting great and taking less time to cook than ones with meat.

Mediterranean al fresco cooking and eating

With high fire risks barbecue fires are now  banned, so it makes sense to install facilities, as I have,  for solar and tagine on charcoal cooking. I have also recently purchased a grill plate to use on the paella gas ring.

Christmas turkey growing well

A turkey poult was also purchased in May and grows fast on grains and spare vegetables and herbs. Maybe it will beat last years weight of 40 pounds. Two self raised bantam chicks give it friendly company.