Caper flower

Caper flower.

07-06-2021Wikipedia

June is bursting out all over, there seems to be some little ditty that comes to mind every time we put pen to paper so to speak. Actually the other saying I have recently referred to is concerning the weather at the end of May and the Spanish popular saying tells us to watch the weather until June 10th if you can actually believe it.

Our English speaking ‘Ne’re cast a clout’ converts into ‘don’t put those winter woolies away until the 40th of May (June 10th)’ and this year seems no different. Although it has been on and off weather there has been little rain, at least not enough rain to keep the newly planted garden moist so watering on a regular basis is already necessary. Sprinklers and hose pipes need to be in place for the summer watering routine.

Remember it is always advisable to water well in the evening giving the wet earth all night to absorb the moisture rather than watering in full sunshine where a great deal of this will simply evaporate and in some cases water droplets are frequently magnified by the harsh sunshine, scorching the plants. Oh dear, we long for those sunny days but there is always just some little hick-up that we are to be warned about.

Potted plants have to be well considered now, they could well be in full sunshine all day long and until they are really accustomed to the direct sunlight need to be given some shade during the hottest part of the day. Some don’t like full sunshine at all and are best placed where there is plenty of light but no direct sunshine. All pots will need much more frequent watering, this is where the drip-tray comes into its own, many plants prefer to be watered from the bottom so by just keeping this drip-tray with water in it will probably be enough. Another consideration is the type of plant pot.

Plastic ones are easier and lighter to move around but there is nothing to beat a good old fashioned terracotta pot which holds the water and stays cooler during the heat of the summer months. There is nothing worse for a potted plant than to have its roots in hot soil. Here is another ‘oh dear’ we long for the warmth in the soil to help germinate the seeds in the spring and now we are trying to keep the soil from overheating during the summer. It does seem difficult to find that happy medium.

Let’s be more positive and look on the sunny side! One of my favourites in the garden is the Caper plant. I can’t think what to actually call it, a bush, a shrub or a vine. It is one of those plants that really does need to be cut back to the hard wood every autumn and about now it responds to this pruning but sending out yards long new growth with tender leaves and its flower buds. Now here is where you have to decide, do you want Capers to pickle in brine or vinegar or just the flowers that come out every day filling these yard long vines with their delicate white flowers because the Caper is the actual flower bud before it opens, so you choose, fruit or flower, you can’t have both. There are villages in the centre of Majorca where the main crop for harvesting is the Caper with these tight little green flower buds harvested for just that. It is a plant that also grows almost wild as we find it cascading down the old walls of Alcudia in great bunches full of flower.

Potatoes

Now there is another option I am told, ‘False Capers’ these are the flowers seeds of Nasturtiums whilst they are still green. The moment the colourful flower head has dropped off the tender green seed can be picked to be pickled just like a Caper and supposedly nobody can tell the difference. These seeds quickly ripen and turn brown so they must be picked as soon as they form.

Our local gardening manuals tell us we can still continue to plant all types of vegetable seeds as well as harvesting those early ones or transplant those that may be needing more room. Naturally everything will be needing more constant watering now. And the big plus will be that you could already be harvesting those early tomatoes. Another fun thing especially for the terrace is a bucket full of new potatoes.

You only need about four. Potatoes that have already grown shoots whilst in the vegetable rack so pop them in an old bucket with a drainage hole in the bottom and cover well with soil. You could of course use a large plant pot, in any case you only need about four potatoes they must not be overcrowded and there is nothing more flavoursome than a new potatoe directly from the soil, washed or scraped and into the pot with a sprig of mint, doesn’t it make the mouth water just to think of it. So if you are a flat dweller with a balcony that doesn’t mean you cant enjoy a freshly dug new potatoe.

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