Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's hot in the plot?

Asturias is renowned for it's unpredictable and changeable weather patterns. May this year has been unseasonally cool with lots of showers and days of chilling north easterly winds. This has resulted in plants and vegetables being a bit behind compared with other years but a few days of warm sunshine last week caused a sudden spurt of growth and vigour. The plot is looking hot and it's always exciting to see the results of planning and preparation.

In the vegetable garden, the addition of boards to create raised beds plus lots (but never enough) of well rotted manure and 8 tonnes of sandy top soil seems to have helped with the soil structure. Following where possible our crop rotation system, we were able to plan what goes where thereby minimising the chance of infections and poor growth. Luis keeps a record of germination dates, planting times and space allocation which helps a lot in keeping track of when to do what.

The potatoes are growing well and to date, there isn't much evidence of blight so fingers crossed they will continue to grow and produce a decent crop. The 400 onions are looking perky and beginning to swell and with a bit of regular weeding, they should do well over the next few months.

We are trialling 4 kinds of tomatoes this year and have planted 4 of each. Due to the climate and the possibility of sea mists, we grow the tomatoes under plastic supported by a metal frame. Just enough ventilation to keep an air flow but not constrained as to promote fungal infections. It seems to work well.

Coppiced hazel has been used to erect two sets of bean supports and we will be growing twice the amount we grew last year to harvest and dry. The peas, mange tout and sugar-snaps are still producing well and the challenge now will be to keep the Jays and Magpies away.

Sage flowers

Salad crops are blissfully happy and we have so much self seeded rocket, I might have a go at making some jars of rocket pesto for use on pasta and bean salads. Carrots are a first for us this year as until the soil was improved it was impossible to get them to grow in such heavy clay. They seem to be growing well and we look forward to fresh young carrots. There is still a lot to plant out including: squash, marrow, cucumber, aubergine, celery, fennel, peppers, celariac...and so on.

We have just ordered another 3 tonnes of sandy soil to complete the work needed on the vegetable beds and hopefully the weather will continue to improve so we can get the young vegetable plants in and established before the heat of summer.

Elsewhere in the garden the peach trees are setting fruit as are the apples. The pears this year seem disappointing but it is early days so we will see. The flower beds are looking good with lots of colour and many visiting insects to help with pollination. 

Thanks for the kind emails and messages, we do appreciate them. As always we would love to hear from you and hear about what's hot in your plot.


  1. Anonymous5:45 pm

    Beautiful as always

  2. The garden looking absolutely marvelous. It must be incredibly rewarding to see all your hard work coming to fruition so beautifully.

    I like the idea of pesto on bean salad - I'm rather partial to parsley and walnut pesto myself and can imagine that combining well with a bland white bean...

  3. Thanks Anonymous and pcpb. There is still so much to do as it is a big plot but we are slowly getting there. Considering it was a very neglected apple orchard and meadow, it has developed well over the past 6 years. @pcpb I like the sound of parsley and walnut pesto.


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