Founder of Mallorca Gardeners Deborah Forster

Founder of Mallorca Gardeners Deborah Forster.

26-09-2020Caroline Fuller

Thank you for agreeing to collaborate with the Majorca Daily Bulletin, you have a founded a fabulous group and I lookforward to bringing some of the ideas to print, please can you tell us how it came about?

Well originally during the lockdown in Majorca I found that lots of the tomatoes that I had planted, sprouted into plants and I was left with way to many. I also didn’t really want to buy seeds so I thought I would do a plant swap. Originally the group was called Plant Swap and I invited friends from the island to join in. That soon extended and before I knew it people who I didn’t know were asking to join. At this point I researched and was surprised to note that there wasn’t a gardening group on the island so I renamed it Mallorca Gardeners and the group quickly went from 40 to over 1300 members. The group has been so successful and we have managed to keep it as a really friendly group of people who try to answer each others questions and share ideas.

What sort of things have you swapped plants for?
Well its been quite exciting, I have swapped for chocolate cake, vegan cheese, wine, herbs, cucumber plants, loofah plants, allsorts. Some members of the group spend every weekend visiting others and swapping things.

Do you think gardening is a sociable thing then?
Yes definitely, I have met some lovely people through this group and I believe that many others have made new friends all through gardening.

How would you inspire others to give gardening a go?
Try planting a sunflower or some beans and watch it grow. They grow so quickly you’ll want to plant more. If you think about what you eat, its amazing to eat what you planted.

Do you have a big garden?
No, I have a terrace. Its perfectly possible to grow something to eat or flowers in a smaller space. Take a walk aroundPalma and look at some of the wonderful balconies and terraces all growing plants and produce. You don’t need a garden you just need a pot and a bit of soil.

Plant of the week

This week is the Aster. SallyAngels from the Mallorca Gardeners Group writes.. “Such vibrant colours of the simple Aster...

Curious facts:
Many people mistake the aster for a daisy; however, the aster is actually a member of the sunflower family.
Its yellow centre is textured and made up of a network of extremely small mini-flowers called flowerets. In ancient times, Asters were burned and smoked as a means of warding off negative energy. ... perhaps we ought to take this up again ?....
They have been used in remembrance and also medicinally to treat headaches, colds and muscle aches.
Aster is also the birth flower for those born in September.

My top tips of the week

· Preserve all those cherry tomatoes, simply place them whole in the freezer to use in sauces later in the year to remind you of summer.
· Plastic bottles can be recycled as great cloches for the autumn seedlings.
· Deadhead marigolds and save the seeds for extra plants next year- great for planting with tomatoes to keep nasties away.

Compost

One idea for an overflowing compost heap after summer harvests is to use a trench system. Instead of piling even more on to the compost heap, dig a trench in your planting area about 40-50 deep and fill that with kitchen sraps and garden waste. Cover it over with soil and it will rot down intime for spring plantings of peas and beans that will love the extra nutrients.

We did it Mum!

Sisters Wendy and Jayne have shared this photo of themselves growing tomatoes for the first time. Their Mum had saidshe wasnt able to grow tomatoes at that house so the sisters set out to prove her wrong and by all accounts were able to harvest a fabulous crop of lovely tomatoes. Well done Wendy and Jayne!!

Jobs for the garden now

· Watch out for eggs! The Cabbage white Butterfly is busy in the garden laying her bright yellow eggs. If they hatch there will be lots of baby caterpillers that can strip a plant of leaves very quickly...keep a check on the underside of your brassicas.

· Prepare your soil for next year. As you empty your planting beds and if you are not planning a winter garden in some beds, now is a great time to mulch the ground and add some nutrients back to the soil. Cover the area with a thick layer (2-3 inches) of compost and mulch over the top. Mulch can be anything from a layer of cardboard to grass clippings, wood chips or even peb bles. We used crushed carob this year.

· What about herbs? Now is a great time to plant up some herbs for the garden, many struggle in the heat of the summer sun but this time of year there are the cooler temperatures which many like coriander enjoy.

· What else can we plant now? We have a year round growing climate and now is a great time of year to plant out lots of leafy vegetables that struggle in the summer months like chard, spinach, winter greens. Broccoli, cauliflower and kale can be planted now, root veg do well now and of course beans and leeks.

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