By the end of April we are self sufficient in many herbs in the organic kitchen garden
Considering we are on the edge of the last semi-arid zone in Europe, we have had an abundance of rain this last month. The wildflowers in the ramblas and hillsides are giving us a stunning display of colour and our kitchen garden has benefitted. From plantings made at the beginning of last month I can fairly safely say we will be self sufficient in some of the herbs; parsley, coriander, bay, rosemary, tarragon, oregano, and thyme. It may not sound like much but, as Julie pointed out, it is encouraging to have our own herbs to pick, on our own doorstep, after only two months and it saves us a few euros each week. Have you seen how much they charge in the supermarkets for tiny bags of herbs?
Granite barbeque worksurface
The unseasonably cooler weather had me looking at ways to protect the butternut squash plants that Julie grew from seed. My solution is to take 8 litre water bottles, cut out the bottoms and place them over the plants. String leading from the bottle neck to sticks that act as pegs keeps them in place when it is windy.
Kermit amidst herbs
The courgettes are a little more hardy so they looked after themselves. Against the back wall in the kitchen garden I put in some string bean plants, also grown from seed. A wide row was planted with onions and leeks, plugs from the local viveros. Julie found a place in Huercal Overa that sells plugs at a price I can cope with, 10 cents each. The broad beans and peas I sowed directly in the ground last month are coming on well. Julie’s raised bed is showing a rash of mixed leaves, rocket and radish, all seeds sown just two weeks ago.
Leeks and Onions
I am a great believer in not throwing stuff away if I may have a use for it in the future. The contents of my shed drives Julie crackers but even she had to admit that having a black granite work surface (a fireplace hearth, rescued from the skip during the house renovations) in what will be the barbeque area looks good, or it will when I have rendered the breeze blocks. A kitchen sink and worksurface was also ‘rescued’ and is now plumbed into the exterior tap, great for washing plant pots in the potting area. Our Spanish neighbour, Jose, spotted our renovations and popped round with his trailer to liberate the remaining kitchen cupboards and work surfaces. He is using them to make new laying boxes for his chickens. A man after my own heart.
In the flower garden, I drew a plan to work out where the paths were going. The lines of the paths were then laid out with garden string and tent pegs. I am using old bricks, laid edgeways at an angle for the edges. The previous owners had laid large areas of gravel on woven plastic sheets, so I already had all the materials I needed. The plastic sheets were cut down to path width, 60 cms for paths that would take a wheelbarrow, 40 cms for the smaller paths between beds. The sheet is covered with 4 cms of gravel, packed down and inlaid with stepping-stones ‘rescued’ from an old water feature.
Protecting butternut squash
The rockery has a new resident as well, a gnome. Julie found the little fella beneath an old shrub. He was sadly in need of new clothes, so Julie painted him with acrylic paint and finished him off with a coat of clear varnish. She has since found numerous frogs, a couple of dogs, a hedgehog and a duck, all of which are on her garden ornament renovation assembly line. Kermit seems quite happy between the parsley and coriander.