woensdag 12 juni 2019

An horta in the Alentejo - Part 4

2018-2019 ... Hot! Cold! Dry! Wet! Everything... luckily not at the same time, but suddenly and consecutively.

2018 a hot summer


The tomatoes that we bought from the market were tasty. Some call them 'Roma', but we call them 'Chucha'. A beautiful oval tomato and sometimes round, with firm flesh and, moreover, not from elsewhere, but from here. Reason enough to keep the seeds and give it a try in our garden. And a big harvest it was!

On the internet you can find how to prepare seed from fresh tomatoes for sowing. And here...

Soak the fresh seed (moisture inclusive) in some water. It will then make bubbles... ferment. The seeds then detach from the water.
Then you can sieve the seeds from the water and put them on a saucer to dry.

In a hot summer under a burning sun, a basket over the lettuce is very welcome.

Well on its way... but there, under that lettuce head, somethings happens that you are not aware of...


As welcome as our (shredded cane) mulch is in the summer, the more big the mistake is to leave the mulch on the garden in winter! In the summer the mulch protects the soil from drying out... and in the winter it does the same... which provides the snails with a wonderful escape to hibernate and make new young snails. These new young snails will certainly find your new young lettuce. We did not know... and when we found out it was to late.

In particular the veins of the leafs have to suffer.

So: Do not put any mulch on the garden if it is not necessary. In a cold and wet winter mulching is absolutely unnecessary. Do not create a snail's paradise. And once it is born and full of joy dining on your plants, it is not that easy to get rid of them. We never had any problems with snails. Precisely because of the dry weather conditions in summer. But if there is an abundance of moisture in winter, the soil can do without mulch. 

The best thing that we thought to do was to replenish the garden with fresh compost and leave it fallow for a winter, so that no shreds would make a hiding place for any snail.

And... back to growing lettuce in pots. 

August 4, 2018... a day to remember

During the day in the shade more than 45 degrees Celsius ... and in the burning sun more than 50 degrees C.

And then in the evening, after a complete summer without even one drop of rain, an overwhelming thunderstorm came over which washed everything away. The tomatoes, which were in the burning sun the whole day, suddenly cooled in the icy gusts of rain. Anybody would shrink in such a situation... 
The next day the consequences became visible.

This was the end of a tomato harvest. Because in the course of time practically all tomatoes withered.

2019 a cold winter

Hendrik's fresh leaves idea

Because we wanted to put the garden fallow in winter, because of the snails drama, we could not grow cabbage in the garden this winter. And growing cabbage in pots is difficult because a cabbage requires more food to grow up than there is in a pot... was our experience.

The idea: Various cabbage varieties in a pot ... You do not let them fully mature into an adult plant whose cabbage can eventually be harvested. No, you harvest the fresh leaves. Tasty stir fry in the olive oil and you have a perfect meal. New leaves keep on growing for a long time, until the spunk is gone. In the meantime you regularly sow new cabbage in pots. Three plants in a pot has proven to be the best. It costs a little more seed, but having nice fresh vegetables is worth it.

Hendrik's new greenhouse

It was an eyesore to Hendrik... this endless improvising of us in our greenhouse. "This is the last one we are building," he said. "And now it will be good."

A new floor in the greenhouse, we lay with anti-rooting cloth...
... which we then smooth out and secure in the bottom with long nails with rings.
Almost ready.
Even more welcome lettuce in pots. Now parked on the terrace, waiting for the 'definitive' greenhouse.

Without mulch

A new beginning ... after many nights with frost. And the cold is not over yet.



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