Planting melons. | CONSELL D'EIVISSA


Here we are already in the middle of the month of May, a month always full of surprises both weather wise and in the garden. The month can provide us with beautiful sunny days but then a sudden cold snap or sharp shower changes the whole picture. For just this reason we are told in English to ' n'ere cast a clout till May is out' I was never sure if this referred to the month of May or the May blossom. Here in Spanish there is no doubt what they are referring to 'Hasta el curenta de Mayo no quites el sayo' roughly translated as, 'until the fortieth of May don't take that layer of cloths off'. Well, we all know there are not forty days in the month of May so what it really means is until the 10th of June!

May really is an active month in the garden with all those peas and broad beans ready for harvesting as well as sowing seeds and transplanting those seedlings that are large enough to handle. One thing we never need to worry about is frost that is for sure but there may just be the risk of a hailstorm when it rains heavily. There can always be something out there to upset the apple cart. If you don't have a seed bed, now that we can get out and about, garden centres and the Co-op have always got seedlings just ready for transplanting, there are all of the cabbage family as well as onions, leeks and garlic. If they can be found in these local shops, you can be sure it is the right time of year to be transplanting them. You need only purchase a few of each and then repeat this several weeks later so that you don't end up with dozens of any one vegetable all ready to harvest at the same time. Watch out in your own vegetable rack, the garlic you have may already be just showing a green tip or two as you break the cloves apart, some of these are ideal for planting, just as they are.

We are always encouraged to attract the birds and bees, butterflies and moths but even these will have a downside. Butterflies and moth for example produce caterpillars that will eat their way through any greenery they hatch out on so along with other bugs, look out for these. Slugs and snails spoil it for themselves by leaving their own silvery trail; they are a menace any month of the year so just keep hunting them out.

With the present world situation, it has come to the attention of many apartment dwellers with a terrace that one can get as much fun out of vegetable gardening on a terrace as well as just flowers. I have mentioned before just how useful it is to have all the culinary herbs on hand in pots on the terrace but there are plenty other seeds that will thrive in a pot. Starting from seed it is handy to grow plants that grow from a larger seed so you can see what you are handling and put the seed directly into the pot you want it in. It is still the perfect time to plant Melon seeds, Cucumber and Marrow/Courgette. These are what I would consider as larger seeds that are easy to handle so by planting just one or two in a fair sized pot you will soon see them germinate and there you are, heading for your own vegetable garden on the terrace. If you haven't enough large pots you can always revert to the 'grow bag' that’s just a bag of good compost left open at one end and the seeds planted. Bags of compost are very reasonably priced in most larger supermarkets that have a plant section, by reasonable price I mean under 2 €uros for a really large sack. You will of course need a sturdy plastic bag for the 'grow bag'.

Smaller sacks of compost are available so each one could be used as the grow bag. These will of course need to be frequently watered as any other plant on a terrace. Another vegetable, believe it or not is a potato in a bucket. Who doesn't end up with a sprouting potato in the vegetable rack? A galvanised bucket is the best, a few drainage holes in the bottom and filled with soil, just pop the sprouting potato or two into the soil. Naturally you need a great deal of patience watching vegetables grow on the terrace but as they mature they all have their flowers so you can enjoy first the flower then fruit so to speak.