How does your garden grow? (1)

Roughseas, roughseas quite most contrary,
How does your garden grow?
Radishes and lettuces,
And cabbages all of a row.

Look! Mary has a green watering can with a rose sprinkler just like roughseas - we don't dress the same though
Look! Mary has a green watering can with a rose sprinkler just like roughseas – we don’t dress the same though

The beans were finally past it to the extent that José had helpfully cut them down for me and left the stems in a heap. The remaining beans had a nasty case of black fly. Not good.

Veganic gardening

Orders for the following day were to visit the garden centre first thing for some seeds. While my gardening is pretty laid-back and minimal, I do follow a few principles, which are basically not just organic but veganic, which avoids the use of animal slaughterhouse products, so for example, I don’t use hoof and bone or whatever it is that people throw on their gardens.

No pesticides

I don’t want to be eating Agent Orange or its descendants. I don’t want my dogs or any other animals, birds or insects to be eating it either. I want to eat freshly grown vegetables not poison. I do use companion planting. Studies have shown that some companion planting works, on other combinations, the jury is still out. Either way, it isn’t going to do any harm so why not give it a go?

No deep digging

The best part of the soil is the first few inches, and the only animal product I use is from the chicken shed where the manure breaks down the straw and any food remains (veg and corn and wheat) into a fine compost, I chuck it on the top from time to time and use it when I put plants in. When I remember.

Crop rotation

I follow the classic legumes, brassicas, roots rotation. I’m debating whether or not to include a separate potato rotation to extend the time between the subsequent brassica crop to avoid club-root. When I was tidying up the bean plot before sewing the brassica seeds I found a number of errant peas sprouting away. I figured José had ‘helpfully’ popped them in. Thanks José, but this is no longer the legume plot, it is now dedicated to brassicas (and lettuce). They got moved into little plant pots of their very own. I am quite fascinated with the local (commercial) crop-growing in Spain, there seems to be no semblance of rotation at all. Plenty of pesticides though. And black plastic.

Black plastic remnants after the potato crop has been lifted - a great use of petrochemicals there :(
Black plastic remnants after the potato crop has been lifted – a great use of petrochemicals there :(

On my shopping list, after perusing half a dozen gardening books, were different varieties of radish, lettuce, cabbage, white turnips and purple sprouting broccoli. Companion planting for brassicas includes tagetes, nasturtiums and dill so they were added to the list.

The garden centre was a disappointment. Apart from the fact that it had more than halved in size – no luxury planting in the garden when Spain is short of cash – the former greenhouses were totally overgrown. So sad.

As for the seeds, there were no turnips or broccoli. I settled for some long radishes and some round ones, some cabbage and some lettuce. No choice of varieties. I also bought a pack of artichoke seeds.

No nasturtiums, but I did buy four tagetes and some basil, coriander and chives. So not a total disaster. I didn’t buy dill because I wasn’t sure whether or not it was eneldo in Spanish. Turned out it was.

Seeds – €1.45
Herbs – 90 cents each
Flowers – 75 cents each

Not content with that, a few days later I zapped off to the local garden shop in the village. Despite being a small village we have not one, but two garden shops, plus the huge veg wholesale corrida, because we are a major centre for crop growing.

The local garden shop is one of those dark intimidating Spanish places that I have never visited. Not helped by the fact that it also seems to be the meeting place for all the old boys in the village who hang around outside most of the day. This could be on account of the fact that the woman who works there is a rather good-looking and trim blond.

But nothing ventured, and I noticed they had dill/eneldo outside so I went inside and asked the price. Eighty cents. The veg seeds were £1.20. No wonder all the locals use it. The garden centre just lost a punter. I bought white turnip seeds and a dill plant.

Trouble is, planting seeds and herbs doesn’t take long, so then I embarked on cutting back the winter jasmine. Scalped it, in fact. Every single one of my neighbours commented that it was depilado. Shaven not scalped.

The itchy green fingers wanted to buy some more herbs though. So I skipped down to the village shop yet again and bought thyme and oregano. Herbs in Spanish are las aromaticas, which is a nice name I think.

My radishes germinated in three days, the lettuces a day or two later. Cabbages after around a week. The white turnips were around a week as well. The artichokes took a full two weeks. Or the only artichoke to germinate so far took two weeks.

The plot after a week - rads at the edges, then lettuces with a single row of cabbage in the middle and parsley at the back, feathery dill at the front
The plot after a week – rads at the edges, then lettuces with a single row of cabbage in the middle and parsley at the back, feathery dill at the front

I watered first thing in the morning ie at first light and then again in the evening, using water from the butt that had been standing for a few days rather than straight from the tap. I also used a sprinkler rose on the watering can rather than gushing loads of water all over the delicate seedlings.

While I was busy working on the terrace, the street sweeper decided to chop the weeds out of the street. This was a good thing, as I normally do the weeds next to our path as he rarely does it. One year a different sweeper came up with a pesticide spray thing and ‘helpfully’ sprayed all the weeds on my path. Aaaaagh! Anyway, luckily the council must have run out of money to buy pesticides these days.

But as we came back from a beach walk, Partner helpfully pointed out that not only had he half-heartedly chopped back the weeds on the street, he’d also decimated MY spinach on MY path!! Which I was going to take in for the chickens. No Christmas box for Mr Street Sweeper. Shame he hadn’t got rid of the actual weeds on my path.

As ever the walk around the beach was wonderful. Those of us who go for our morning constitutional like to get out before 9am while it is still relatively cool, by which I mean not yet stinking hot. It also means the beach is deserted. Later on at weekends, the beach starts to fill up with sun-worshippers. We reached at least 30 degrees over the last couple of weeks. We also had some rain which pleased Ms GardenerontheMed no end.

Looking towards Málaga
Looking towards Málaga
Looking east up the coast
Looking east up the coast
Paco's bar - beach paradise!
Paco’s bar – beach paradise!
Another rainy day on the Costa del Sol
Another rainy day on the Costa del Sol

Regular readers of roughseas will know that my idea of hell is being let loose in a supermarket or shopping mall. However, I will happily use my village shops, none of which are nasty soulless conglomerates. I even like the (small) supermarket there – Supersol is part of a chain – but the staff are friendly, one of them went to school with our neighbour and is the twin sister of the woman in the garden shop, nobody is in a rush, if someone only has one or two items and you have more, you let them pass in front, typical village scenario.

Village well up the back street on the way home
Village well up the back street on the way home

One evening as I wandered up the street from Supersol armed with an array of pickles, gherkins, silverskin onions, olives, I was followed by the local goatherder/shepherd and the sheep flock. They obviously hadn’t been to Supersol but they had been out for their daily wander. It happens less and less around here, but this family business obviously continues to take them walkabout. A few days later at around the same time (say 8.30pm) he came up the street with his goats, so this photo is for Yvonne, of Pets, People, and Life – who has a fine goat called Billy Bob.

Goats - lots of them
Goats – lots of them

And to end with a reading list:

One of my gardening bibles is Veganic Gardening by Kenneth Dalziel O Brien. Highly recommended.

Next most thumbed are probably The Kitchen Garden, Month-by-Month, by Andi Clevely, and Jim Hay’s Vegetables Naturally.

My top three
My top three

And the second trilogy of organic books are:

Organic Gardening by Geoff Hamilton
Pippa’s Organic Kitchen Garden (most appropriate as Pippa was busy sniffing around the newly planted plot)
The Chase Organics Gardening Manual (in the UK I used Chase to buy seeds through mail order – superb selection of seeds, with a lot of organic ones too.)

And the next three on the list
And the next three on the list

54 comments on “How does your garden grow? (1)

  1. I have to be honest, when I saw the photo of the goats and then the title of your post I thought ‘oh no!’ Having kept goats and tried to keep a veg garden I know from bitter experience that the two don’t mix. I thought this post was going to end in disaster with the goats devouring every last morsel of your hard labour and toil. How wonderful then to discover that they hadn’t!

    I really miss having a garden. I fantasise daily about having a place here where I can grow things, especially things to eat. I’m hoping in the not too distant future that we can leave Jakarta and make a permanent move to somewhere where I can dig, and sow and plant and get my hands really filthy once again.


    • Haha – you have reminded me of one of my favourite quotes from one of my books that I forgot to mention, a top class (if somewhat idealistic) self-sufficiency manual. He talks about goatkeepers having their veg gardens destroyed year after year, but they always optimistically think the following year they will resolve the problem. But, says the author, what the goatkeeper/gardener forgets is that goats have 24 hours a day to plan how to get into the garden – whereas the goatkeeper/gardener does not have 24 hours a day to plan prevention. I love the idea of goats happily planning for every minute of their waking, and probably sleeping life, how to get into the veg garden yet again.

      I wanted acres of land in Spain and it didn’t happen. My terrace is tiny (well relatively compared with my UK gardens) but you quickly learn to make the best use of your space. Something I’ve learned from Spaniards who are fantastic at using outside space.

      I feel for you not having a garden. In Gibflat we don’t even have a balcony so I am starting a window garden (inside), and I’ve also plonked a sad-looking parsley plant in the outside patio that we have access to. I think it should be a statutory requirement that all flats should have balconies and allotments should be made available for those who want them :)


  2. Our growing season is about to start too. I cut my grass–no, I mean Dandeloins–just this weekend. A clear signal. NL’s soil is generally bad. We have a lot of bog and a fair bit of softwood forest. The soil is thin and rocky for the most part. Only about 5% of our total area can be used for more widespread farming. Finally, our growing season is very short–from around now to late September. Traditionally we’ve used kelp and caplin (very small fish that roll ashore to spawn) to fertilize the ground. Traditional gardens contained potatoes, turnips and carrots but many of the things you planted now find there way here and try to grow :>) Increasingly the commercial farms rely on chemicals, though. Berries grow wild and plentiful here. Blueberries are my favourite but most prefer partridge berries (they resemble and taste a lot like cranberries) or bakeapples (our form of mulberry). From now until September our unspoiled areas (which thankfully is most of them) will smell heavenly!
    Oh, and the seafood is still great here. Cod, salmon, char (it’s like salmon but better), herring, mackeral, lobster and snow crab are the local favourites. Easy to find and easy to catch–in season. That is, of course, why we were settled by the Native Americans and later, by the Europeans (the Norse, who regularly visited and briefly settled here 1100 ago were likely here mainly for the plentiful timber).
    You’re hitting the 30’s; we’re hitting the 20’s :>)


    • Dandeloins eh? Fires the imagination there.

      The soil around us where the commercial crops are grown is excellent as it is whatever you call land that used to be under the sea, the word has escaped me. It’s not reclaimed, just the sea receded. But very fertile. Sandy/loamy, but it can be poor in domestic properties because of just chucking in crap building materials.

      Our growing season is long, (Sept to May/June) although I do think commercial growers abuse the soil, probably why they chuck commercial fertiliser onto it. And if the price for the veg isn’t high enough, the leave it to rot anyway. What a waste!!!!

      Seaweed is brilliant. I used to use an excellent solution in the UK. Expensive though. Found some the other day at nearly ten euros a container. I left it. No-one else will buy it so it will probably be there when I return. Whether or not I need it is a different matter.

      There is local fishing in our area but being vegetarian it passes me by. There is also a problem with fishing young fishes (whatever they are called) illegally and depleting the stocks. But I have written about rapacious Spanish fishing practices before.


      • We have a long history of animosity with Spain over their practices on the Grand Banks. Liners inside nets being one of the worst–some boats put a smaller net inside the proper one. This catches EVERYTHING even though they are generally only licensed to get the larger cod (if at all). The unwanted fish–it’s called ‘by-catch’ is just dumped; wasted. Yes, it is criminal. We–the Canadian Government–have tried repeatedly to prosecute those responsible but Spain keeps stepping up, applying international muscle and getting them off. The irony is that the boat owners usually end up successfully suing the Canadian government over the … poor treatment. Sick!!!!! And, yes, the Grand Banks fishery is all but ruined as a consequence.


        • The history of your Rock never fails to amaze me. Most of which I have learned from you! Before that I knew it as somewhere cold that was Canadian where nice dogs came from. But Spain fishing right over there?!! Defies belief.

          I have written before about Spain and their fishing policies, both from a political and anecdotal perspective (both in relation to Gib).


          But just how does Spain manage to keep swinging the so-called international jurisdiction their way? Something fishy going on there … sorry couldn’t resist. Or maybe someone is confusing our two Rocks?


  3. Hey I am not a gardener, although love the beauty of flowers and eating the vegetables,, My father had a garden and an allotment, and he use to rotate,, he grew more everything,, sweetcorn, potato, runner beans and broad beans,I love broad beans. the usual cabbages and lettuces, carrots etc you get the idea. And it was the fruit that I loved,, loganberries, strawberries, and blackcurrants, gooseberry and rhubarb.. I use to potter about the garden with him on nice sunny days. And to top it all my mother used to cook them and make fabulous things. rhubarb crumble,, Mmmmmm’ You know roughseas, I surprised myself by reading your post,,, and interesting it was…:)


    • I love flowers too. First priority goes to my veg, but flowers are like any type of art, they are beauty for the soul. In the UK I had more space so I could have separate beds for each class of crops, here I have to do it one class at a time. I’ve grown strawberries and rhubarb, but that’s it for fruit, although I do have a lemon tree that so far has produced the tiniest lemon that could qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records.

      I liked rhubarb crumble at school. No-one else did, too sharp apparently.

      You mean you didn’t plan to read it, or you were surprised it was interesting? :D


      • it was the topic,, gardens etc,, i always come to your alerts,, but I did read and enjoyed,, so yes I am guilty partly, judging a book by its cover.. enlightening and basically it was me being surprised it was interesting,,, but then again I should have known this really…;)


        • Haha. So gardens are boring but you read it anyway? :D

          Thanks for saying you always come to my alerts though, nice to hear that.

          Flowers next up! with a few other additions for distraction for the non-gardeners;)


  4. Well, I’d never heard the term veganic gardening before….but it turns out I seem to adhere to its principles anyway! I must say I’m very much in agreement with your approach to gardening overall….but particularly the laid-back bit! I do love an inspiring gardening post that I can relate to – thanks!


    • It’s quite an old book, having a quick search on the tinties it can also be called vegan organic these days. Anyway, it’s easy really, organic gardening without using bits of dead animals. Suits me.

      I love gardening. I love growing veg and salad, and I enjoy seeing flowers bloom too. I don’t see the point of making hard work out of it when it can actually be quite easy. I am not going to test the soil for acid/alkali balance – bought a test kit once but never used it! You can get too complicated in life and that isn’t my approach.

      As a sideline, I’m amazed how many of the blogs I read/bloggers who read mine are all interested in gardening! I don’t remember a garden post on yours though, maybe I’ve missed them?


      • Exactly! I have always been put off by the ‘Gardeners’ Question Time’ kind of approach to gardening. It doesn’t need to be that complicated. Frankly it just ends up stressing me out which is entirely counter-productive
        I haven’t posted anything gardening related in ages, tbh….no wonder you missed them!


        • Some of GQT was OK, it was when they transcended into lala land about goodness knows whatever that normal people didn’t spend all their time thinking about. Your soil ph balance should be 6.25 not 6.34 or whatever for example. I mean that is so over the top.

          As with many things, my gardening approach is minimal. But it works. I spent a euro forty five on a pack of broad bean seeds and ended up with at least five kilos. Max cost 30 cents a kilo plus minimal water. That’s all I’m looking for – plus pesticide free :)


  5. Your post made me nostalgic for the huge back gardens we had in our tea plantation homes. I was never at a loss for gifts when visiting friends – from sacks of veggies to jams and pickles :-) I know friends here who manage to grow vegetables on their balconies, but our frequent trips out of town to visit the kids and R’s dad makes it impossible for me to even consider :-(


    • Tea plantation homes? Sounds wonderful. Very Somerset Maugham!

      Pickles – don’t even go there. As soon as I make something, pickles/chutney, half the jar is emptied :( Doesn’t matter whether it is mixed olive pickle, peach chutney, veg pickle – we just eat it far too fast. Reminds me, I need to make yet another jar of veg pickle.

      Trips from Gib to Spain make it a problem. I have visions of carting plants around with us to keep them watered :D But in Spain I am lucky as my neighbour does the watering :)


  6. Amazing pics my dear.Don’t no much on vegetables or cultivation and I will refrain from giving my opinion. But, it’s super awesome to live ur passion for gardening coz not many have the patience to do so:)


    • Aaaagh! Vishal. Just remembered I forgot to acknowledge all your lovely awards. I am the world’s worst with them. Must remember to mention them on my next post. Thank you so much. Doesn’t your mum do gardening? I am surprised how many people do the garden thing.


  7. A great read, I thoroughly enjoyed it :-)

    I’ve never been much into gardening, but the bug hit a couple of years ago when I had success with some tomatoes.
    This year, complete with new greenhouse, I’ve lots going on :-)

    Your veg patch looks lovely, I envy your warm climate, I’m sure it would make things a lot easier.

    You’ve got a great collection of books there.
    I love the idea of Pippa having a go ;-) Jasp has sat watching me too, and had a good nosey in the pots.

    A great pic of the goats, they look like they’re on a mission.


    • I realised when I was revamping the veg plot for the next crop ie brassicas, that I had never written in much detail about how I garden, just a few odd photos of whatever, so I thought it might be interesting to add a bit about the theory ;) given how many readers seem to be interested in gardening.

      I still envy you your tomato success :D although to be fair I never bought seeds just chucked some in from some old tomatoes. I do think buying seeds makes a huge difference. In some cases anyway.

      I never had a greenhouse, the nearest I got was fleece making sort of polytunnels although I did lust after a few cloches.

      The difference the weather makes is to speed up the crop cycle, hence the Spanish getting so many crops out of a season. (And shipping everything to the UK!)

      I probably don’t need all those books, but it is just bliss to flit from one to another and sift through what they each have to say, because they don’t all give the same advice, especially regarding what plants can be planted with others and what varieties are the best.

      Pippa is not as interested in the garden as Prince and Paddy were (endlessly raided the strawberries and the salad), so I was surprised to see him sniffing around to see what the new plants and seeds were.

      It doesn’t matter how many years I have lived here, I love to watch the goats/sheep wandering past. You’re right though, they do move fast. Maybe some food at home? Who knows.


  8. Loved the goats…are they plotting on the hoof do you think?

    I’ve always been too mean to buy expensive chemical products…but French gardeners must keep Monsanto etc in champagne the way they zap everything in sight. I used to think that if their garden sheds went up in flames the firemen would need hazard gear.


    • Where they live, they have a huge plot of contained and roofed land. Not much chance to plot at all. Don’t know where they go during the day, just see them on the way out or the way back. Free grazing land continues to dry up.

      And Spanish farmers will be keeping Monsanton in cava, not just regarding pesticides but also for their use of GM crops. But that’s for the next post on Clouds.


  9. I enjoyed this post. Always good to read how other people garden. All the pics are good and interesting. The goats look as if they are being driven to the slaughter house. Pretty goats though. I hope your garden is productive. It looks like a nice one.


    • Thanks Y. I must admit I enjoy other peoples’ gardening posts and enjoy seeing their pix, so I thought I should return the favour with a slightly more detailed post. And the beach and the goats were – vaguely – related :D Luckily the goats are going home, although that does bug me every time I see them. Our neighboursup the back are also goatkeepers, and I hate to see the trucks arrive for them. It cuts me to the quick.

      I think if you get decent germination from your plants, unless you get a huge plague of whatever, you have a good chance of getting your money back and more plus some decent fresh veg. That’s all I ask :)


      • I get that same sick feeling each time I pass by a cattle, hog, sheep, goat or, poultry truck. If meat eating people ever saw just how these animals and birds are raised and slaughtered would they have the “stomach to continue eating meat?


        • The trucks are horrible aren’t they ? with all the animals crammed in so tightly together. We used to sing the song at school:
          “on a wagon bound for market
          there’s calf with a mournful eye…”
          I wasn’t vegetarian then but I always used to cry when we sang it. I’ve written quite e few posts about being vegetarian over on Clouds so if you want to browse around over there you might find some thoughts we share in common.

          I don’t think people care and/or they don’t want to know. Ignorance is bliss. Then there are the ones who can afford to buy organic and free range, so that’s OK isn’t it? (sarc) And that’s before you even get into the debate about how many people in the world are starving and what a poor use of resources raising animals for human consumption is. And the total unscrupulousness and lack of ethics eg feeding sheeps brains to cattle leading to them developing BSE and subsequent cases of CJD in people. If the size of the piles of slaughtered animals and the stench from the burning carcasses didn’t open peoples’ eyes I doubt anything would. Sadly.


          • Yes, we are in agreement about eating animals and birds. I am totally disgisted by how dumb, yes dumb people are about the meat that is eaten. I prefer dimb to ignorant as I write this.

            I don’t eat meat for ethical and moral reason. I admit to eating salmon since my MD told me I had to eat more protein. But I almost never eat the fish for I just don’t feel it is the right thing to do. Soy milk is ok for me but the fermented soy to use as meat sub is not liked by my body.I have had to abandon the block soy that is packaged in water. I hope it is just a temporary thing.

            I’ll check out your cloud blog. Thanks for letting me know..


          • I remember being concerned about it as a kid, but put it to the back of my mind. I was pretty horrified that tongue was exactly what it was called though. I thought it was just a name for it, not realising it was actually an animal’s (ox) tongue.

            We started in the 80s for health reasons as there was a big fuss made about people eating too much red meat. So we cut down, and then everything gradually got cut out of our diet. Fish was the last to go:

            I’ve read about soy allergies, but I don’t seem to have any food allergies :) I like soya milk, not that I drink it very often, only with occasional muesli, but I do use it in cooking for sauces. I would be lost without tempeh and tofu I must say. Do you eat seitan? Or do you have a gluten/wheat allergy as well? :(

            I hope it is just temporary for you too. We had two weeks in Spain and apart from paella, virtually every lunchtime meal was legume-based – and we didn’t get fed up with it. Especially as it is cheap :)


    • More to Paco’s Bar than meets the eye. But I’m saying nowt in public ;) They have more than one bar and some fine dogs too. They are all a stripey variation on the original one we first met, unsurprisingly called Tigré.


  10. I’m assuming (1) means there’ll be more :) Until I get my own garden, I love vicariously poking around in others, picking up ideas and tips and plumping out my dreams. We have a couple of garden books but my favourite is Dig, which my Dad knowing of those dreams, gave me for the 40th. I love laying on the futon on the verandah and browsing through it. I’ll keep an eye out for veganic/organic gardening books in the second hand shops and at the markets – they look interesting, and akin to permaculture which I’d love to pursue as much as I can.
    I also love wandering around garden centres… in Sydney, just window shopping – the rail ballast dust kills everything except geraniums (which survive but don’t flower), succulents and a unusually hardy Fuschia. You would not want to eat anything grown on our balcony but it would be nice to see progress photos of yours.
    Occasionally I buy plants for TA. I wonder how my basil is going in my absence.
    I like that you know what you’re eating, and you put the time and effort in. There’s a lot of wonderful things in life to aspire to but I think that a productive vege garden and chooks is the best of all :)


    • Yes, it is pretty permaculture-ish. Just wasn’t word widely used a zillion years ago.

      I like succulents. They suit the climate and I like to have plants that are appropriate for where I live. Having said that, I thought roses were so English but they thrive like no-ones’s business in Spain, so I am loathe to get rid of them. The plumbago also works well, but this for the next post about flowers not veg!

      I’ve never had any success with fuchsia. I think they are beautiful, but not one that works for me.

      With the exception of our first house when we were doing the commuter run in and out of London and struggling to pay the mortgage, I have grown something in every property. It sounds idealistic doesn’t it, and playing at something, but it is immensely satisfying. Truth is you can’t be remotely self-sufficent without a shedload of ground and hard work, but there’s no reason why you can’t go part way there.


  11. Loved the pics of your village. Goats reminded me of a scene from The Sound of Music. Was hoping for a pic of the old chaps hanging outside the garden centre though! Wonder if they would have posed for you?


    • It’s not a touristy village, non is it twee, nor does it have major historic remains or anything like that. It is a simple working village in a rather nice location. When people talk about ‘the real Spain’ as opposed to the Costa tourist resorts full of high rise and British bars, that’s exactly what our village is. There are a few Brits live in the village, none in our part (the old town), There are literally only a handful of us in the actual pueblo, an Irish woman down the beach, and another Brit down on the main road. There are more in the campo area out the back, but the village is 99% Spanish with a few Latin Americans living here too.

      I think I’ve got one of the old chaps but it’s well in the past, would take me ages to find it. Easier to take a new photo next time :D


  12. That’s a lot of goats. Once I worked at a summer camp and we used goats to clear brush and poison ivy away from cabins and tents…they eat anything. And run snakes off. Always felt kindly towards them after that.
    We had several big gardens each year growing up. Did crop rotations and companion plants as my mom and brother were allergic to everything. It’s always nice to see a small farmer using a hoe to cultivate rather than big equipment and pesticides – it’s work, but if you do it continually and steadily, it’s not so much at one time. Actually a smaller garden is more my speed…my dad never gave up the big ones
    Your garden looks well underway.
    Love the beach pictures – with summer’s tourists, our beach wanders will be fewer until fall


    • They do tend to fill the street. The flock of sheep is just as big. In the past they’ve walked/run them together but they seem to be taking them out separately these days.

      Ah yes, as I said to Lottie right at the top of the comments, Goats have 24 hours a day to plan how to break into your vegetable garden. I admire them.

      I don’t think my dad did crop rotation because I don’t remember him growing beans. Carrots, cabbages, sprouts, (great fun picking sprouts for little fingers), and salad crops – lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes. But no potatoes and no beans and no onions. So an odd mix.

      Locally the commercial growers differ in their approach. Some line the fields with black plastic, others don’t. Some using black plastic tuberia for water irrigation, others use a mattock to cut channels when it is their day for the water for their plots. Must take a pic next time I see it.

      Midweek is still ok down our beaches, or early morning. Come summer …. like you. Even on our trip back mid morning on Sunday the beaches were filling up.


      • We grew several types of peas and beans. Our favorites are purple hulls and a “cream pea” or field pea that most people used for cattle feed – but old time farmers eat them, too. Those are the ones we miss most – but last summer I found a local farm growing them shelled and froze a bunch – we have them on special occasions like Christmas – sure grandparents on the farm wouldn’t believe that!


        • I’ve read about cattle food being perfectly edible for people too. Haha – cattle food for Christmas? :) I grew scarlet runner beans in the UK, really miss those, they don’t have them in Spain but they have so much more flavour than flat green beans.


          • My dad’s family were dirt poor farmers for a long time. They rotated crops because it was the only way to improve growth – didn’t buy fertilizer – didn’t use animal waste as it might cause illness. They raised all their food.
            They moved into “town” and ran a boarding house when the oldest son who was extremely bright was ready to go to college. My grandfather decided farming was too hard a life and wanted better for his kids. He worked as a prison guard. All the kids worked too and each helped the ones behind them pay for college – 2 PhDs and 3 Masters.
            I have to laugh and say they and their lifestyle on their organic farm were ahead of their time…they all lived long lives. So field peas for me!


          • It makes sense though doesn’t it? It does to me anyway. Not so much that they were ahead of their time, but it was probably the only option. And as with many things, people go with whatever is fashionable or a tecnological improvement – allegedly, instead of thinking for themselves. Perish the thought of bucking the trend. Good on your family for the achievements and helping each other out.

            I often compare the lives of my parents with those of next door (same generation), both of mine dying before they were 80, and next doors well into their 80s now (think José is 86/7), he gave up smoking in his 50s, she never smoked, they don’t drink much, and they eat a typical mediterranean diet with little meat. There are downsides of course, she can’t read or write (apart from her name) although her eyesight is amazing – is there a connection there? – and as a child she was picking beans in the fields all day. She lacked calcium as a kid though and her bones are a bit brittle these days. She is incredibly sharp though and very funny.


  13. I wanted to make a comment about the goats being walked thru town – not much of that goes on anymore …reading other comments enough said there. Another delightful visit in your village, love it.


    • When I was a kid in the UK, cows and sheep were a regular feature being moved from field to field. Must be years since I saw that. In Spain, more and more land gets fenced off so there are fewer places for goats and sheep to be taken. Silly really, it makes sense because they clear the ground after the crops have been taken. Although not too sensible when the crops have been blasted with pesticides.

      Thanks though :)


  14. Love those Spanish tiles on that wall. It fits with my [limited] idea of what Spanish architecture should look like! And nice little garden, too. I’m rather partial to growing veggies myself… ;D


    • The tiling on the well is relatively new, so don’t know whether the council has paid or the owners of the land. Anyone’s guess. As for the veggies, it’s interesting looking back on that six months later. I’ll be doing a look back on my veg experiences over the year and a successes and failures – of which the cabbage was one, I should have picked them when they were babies, left them to grow big and ended up with disasters :D


        • They heads looked rotten so in the end I gave up and chucked them. Which is why I was annoyed as had I used the young leaves they would have been fine. Wrong time of year maybe? And yet there were some in the fields locally. Not enough space definitely. One of my lessons is to use things when they are small I suspect.


          • I have had a lot of waste too over the years, leaving things for a ‘better time’. When is better than today?? Although to be technical, even the waste is recycled and adds something to the soil, so it is never a total loss.


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