Well, last weekend the Moors and Christians fiesta in Pollensa lived up to its tradition of the paper street decorations ‘always getting wet’ if in fact one can count thosefew drops of rain as ‘getting wet’. At least it helped water the garden and cooled the air down for a while.
Unfortunately along with the rain there is frequently the strong winds that do more damage than good at any time of the year. Just make sure that young newly planted trees have firm supporting stakes and any recently grafted trees will need extra protection against these summer gale force winds. We are totally in the hands of the elements so must do our best to secure what we are growing if we don’t want to find them battered to bits.
As I briefly mentioned last week, all vegetable seeds can be sown from now on, but first we must prepare the ground. There are those gardeners who find a shuffle with the hoe is enough to turn the top soil and remove the weeds. I personally like a deep dig over with the garden fork and at least the freshly dug plots will be ready for you when you do want to plant the seeds, a little manure or fertilizer of some sort is reccomended at this point as well.
Weeds can be well dug in and left to rot but I prefer to see them pulled up, roots and all before they form flower heads or go to seed. It is always most annoying that the weeds thrive just about anywhere whether we want them or not even in the potted plants on the terrace not to mention every corner of the garden so never let the weeds go to seed if you can avoid it because every one of those seeds will germinate with no help at all! At least with the ground dug over and standing fallow for a while is good for the soil.
The nice part about gardening is when you can harvest some of what you have grown if you have a kitchen garden or fruit trees. It is certaily time to collect almonds and some vines have early grapes sweet enough to eat before the birds get at them. There are some lemon trees that have ripening fruit all year round whilst there are flowers, green lemons and ripe ones all at the same time. Herbs that we prefer dried such as sage is as good a time as any to pick off a few sprigs to tie up in little bunches and dry out in the fresh air ready to rub down to a fine powder and keep in an air-tight jar ready to add to sage and onion stuffing or sausage rolls.
Having mentioned onions, if you have a good crop now would be the time to pull them up ready to tie them in strings to keep for the winter, they keep better that way rather than in a tray. The same with the ‘keeping’ type of tomato, if there are several fruits on each truss weave them together to hang up in a cool place, if they have no stems to help tie them up then placed individualy in a tray shaped box kept from the fruits touching each divided up with old newspapers for example. One can often find this way of keeping tomatoes means you have them in the larder until they come in the garden again next year.
Lets take a quick look at some of the flower bulbs that are put away. It is still too early to consider the spring flowers but the larger bulbs that do so well in pots like the Amarylis will need to be allowed to dry out and allow the bulb to enter its rest period. After a few weeks lift the bulb from the soil until it is really dry and divide any off-sets. Some schools of thought suggest the bulb being put into the fridge for a week or two.
These bulbs have frequently come from Holland where they have a cold rest period so here in this climate we must make this climate for them. It all seems a long way off but if we want bulbs on the terrace then its about time to start re-potting what we already have, don’t just throw them away. Otherwise we will shortly be seeing these bulbs in the garden shops or on the shelves of some supermarkets to remind us its time to get them planted up if you are wanting to start off with new bulbs.