August brings to mind the special feast of Pollensa, the Moors and Christians. Now folklore tells us that it just might rain during these days, can it really be? Years back the streets of Pollensa were always decorated with coloured bunting, when it rained there were always complaints that the coloured dye from the bunting dripped onto the ladies dresses spoiling them, so it was reverted to white bunting to avoid this complaint when it rained. Can we really hope for a few drops of rain to help out with the watering.
As we look at ourselves already in the hottest month of the year we think more of holidays and days on the beach rather than gardening but there is no getting away from that. Hotter days demand more watering but that is not the only chore to be considered. Potatoes and onions need harvesting if these are crops you have planted. Onions do well to be strung up and hung in a cool dry place where they should last until well into the winter months along with the strung-up class of tomato I mentioned the other week. Potatoes can be kept for months as well but must be looked over from time to time in case there are any bruised ones that can easily rot causing bad smells and of course others rotting back as well. Having harvested these crops in mid summer it is suggested that after digging over the plot it is left fallow for a week or two. The extreme heat and dry conditions does not encourage weeds to germinate. This is what farmers do when they have harvested their cereal crops, plough the land and leave fallow for a few weeks so gardeners can well do the same. Why use weed killer when the sun will do the same job?
When it does come to planting up again remember there are certain crops that prefer not to follow others for example carrots and celery prefer to follow potatoes and lettuce or spinach, beetroot and courgettes like to follow onions. Other crops ready for harvesting in August are almonds although not so much is made of this crop these days with the lower cost of imported nuts and the higher cost of labour for harvesting. Another is the Carob but I doubt too many of us will need to worry about a carob tree in the garden.
There is no getting away from that chore of watering that has to be almost daily now, but along with that must be considered that the ground will also need feeding especially the lawn. A sprinkle of fertilizer is most important from time to time and a multi purpose fertilizer can be purchased from the co-op or garden centre in granual form. A few hand fulls sprinkled over the grass before watering well in, will soon show in the colour of the grass as it grows. Admittedly all this watering and feeding enhances the growing and more frequent cutting will be needed but it is well worth it. Lawn cuttings are superb for the compost heap that in itself, will need the occasional watering to helpin decomposition during the summer months as well as turning it from time totime.
The lovely crumbly dark compost at the bottom of the pile is just right for adding a little top dressing to the garden or filling those plant pots where the soil seems to have shrunk. Just as good for the garden soil is a little sprinkle of the newly cut grass , it helps keep the weeds down, fertilizes, keeps the soil moist and feeds the earth worms that will come to the surface to drag blades of grass down... We just have no idea what is going on in our garden behind our backs.
Now is the time when we most want to sit out on the terrace or lawn with a cool drink or even a cup of tea just to look around and contemplate what needs to be added to the ‘round to it’ list.
That is the one trouble with gardening it is never ending either here in Majorca or where ever you have come from.