A little chore this month is to really look after the grape vine.

A little chore this month is to really look after the grape vine.

17-08-2006p.lozano

As we creep into this wonderful month of May full of sunshine and flowers the subject of watering comes very much to light. Yes, it is into serious watering time now. The ground does still hold a little moisture so it’s not quite a daily chore but it really can't be overlooked for too long. I am very much in favour of the Mediterranean way of watering which of course is a must in the heat of the summer months, this is the little gully between the rows of plants that can be filled with water and just left to sink into the ground. When the sun is at its highest and hottest in the summer we are advised not to water during the daytime and certainly not to sprinkle the plants allowing water to just stand on their leaves to work as a magnifying glass and really scorch everything. Evening time is also advised as the best time to water allowing the moisture to filter in slowly and not evaporate in the hot sunshine thus allowing the ground to remain damp all through the night. There is one exception to this. If you have a lawn of the typical Bermuda grass/ Grama, that just loves to be watered any time during the day. A great deal will depend on how much you use your lawn because nobody wants to sit on soggy grass!! But Grama really thrives from now on and will always be lush and green if watered frequently and fed with an all-purpose fertilizer every now and again. It will need cutting far more frequently from now on but watering, feeding and cutting keeps Grama looking and feeling like a real lawn. To keep a traditional Rye grass lawn looking just as nice one needs to be watering sometimes more than once a day, which means you, can hardly ever sit on it and that to my way of thinking is what a lawn is all about.

Gardening in Majorca really is just that little bit different to gardens in a northern climate. Here we have a growing season nearly all year round. Let's face it, we are already harvesting peas and broad beans where as in colder climates we would only just be planting them. Our roses are in full bloom as is bougainvillea and many of the annual bedding plants. Tomatoes that have weathered the whole winter with fruit all the time whilst this year’s crop are heavy with flower and fruit forming with still more seedlings in the early stages ready to transplant. All gardening, no matter where is just the same old routine year in year out, weeding, digging and searching out those annoying slugs and snails. Watch out for that little bug that looks like a Ladybird but isn't. The one I mean is the same colour but oval as opposed to a perfectly round little ladybird and it only has one black spot on each wing. This little devil will eat anything green, your roses, potatoes and any soft greenery, they seem to come into the garden like a plague of locusts and decimate anything in their path. Our next invasion can be the Colorado beetle known to attack the potato crop as well as aubergines, which of course are the same family. In Britain, there is such a fear of this insect, which I remember as a child at school being told to look out for them, that the importation of potatoes from La Puebla was never encouraged after the end of this month.

Another little chore this month is to really look after the grape vine. The little bunches of flower heads will already be maturing so be sure to snip or rub off any leaves that form between the grapes and the main trunk and any other laterals that have no sign of fruiting this year snip those off at the trunk as well. This will encourage all the goodness in the vine going to the fruit without wasting its efforts on useless leaves. All leaves must be left on the vine that does have grapes forming to provide a little shade as the fruit matures. Mildew is one of the biggest enemy of the vine, which will manifest itself as the heat, and humidity sets in. I am a great believer in copper sulphate but every gardener has his/her own method of fighting disease and any other invasion for that matter.

My household has always been known for taking in any waif or stray that might walk past the front gate. This week is has been a tortoise spotted by one of my grandsons as the little creature was actually running up the street so before it got run over by a car we rescued it so once again we have a tortoise in the garden, there is never a dull moment in our household.

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