By Clodagh and Dick Handscombe surviving their twenty fifth summer in Spain
As we enter August July has been hot but no record temperatures this year. The Southern costas and the inland plateaus have reached the lower forties and the Costa Blanca the mid thirties on the hottest days. There have been a few isolated thunder storms and in a few areas gardens were seriously damaged by tennis ball sized hail stones. More storms are forecast for mid areas but generally all the tasks listed in last months article July in the Spanish Garden need to be continued plus the following.
Some special jobs for August
- Cut back summer flowering bulbs such as lilies and gladioli and deadhead society garlic to stimulate continuous flowering. Regular watering of agapanthus might keep them flowering until the middle of the month.
- Trim berried lantana branches to prevent them falling and being squashed on paths and to stimulate continuous flowering. .
- Harvest sun flowers for snacks and bird/animal feed. . Keep some for sowing next year.
- Cut lavender flowers to tidy garden and distil them for oil if you have a still.
- Harvest onions and dry before storing.
- If growing vegetables in containers as illustrated in Part Two of Growing healthy vegetables in Spain start of seeds or plantlets for autumn harvests.
- Keep on top of perennial weeds especially in the vegetable garden.
- Ensure that the compost heap is kept damp.
- Harvest early grapes and dry some to prepare raisins for snacks and the Christmas cake. See early article re drying fruit and vegetables.
- Excess tomatoes can also be dried – most conveniently on a heated air tray drier to not have to worry about varying temperatures humid nights and insects. An English language description of the Dorrex driers we use can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org .
- Make tomato jam and chutneys from tomatoes, peppers, squash and freshly dried raisins.
- Harvest colgar tomato plants once fruit start to colour and hang up by the roots to a beam in a cool sheltered covered area to store for winter use.
- Harvest almonds and dry in the sun before storing.
Other seasonal tasks are listed in our books Your Garden in Spain (for the flower garden), Growing Healthy Fruit in Spain and Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain.
© Clodagh and Dick Handscombe August 2008