You are now probably experiencing the hottest weeks of the summer for this year thunderstorms to cool off gardens for a day or two and replenish the water table have been rare. Luckily apartment owners can shade plants during the hottest hours with blinds and awnings but that is not feasible in villa gardeners except on a covered terrace, under gazeboes and in the semi /dappled shade of trees which are invaluable for helping tender plants survive both in the ground and in pots.
This is the time when irrigation systems need running for longer periods and those with four or five centimetre diameter water tubing sunk in the ground around young trees and with Terra-Cottem soil improver mixed into flower beds and containers will be reaping the benefit. Do walk around gardens and terraces at least every other day to identify plants that are starting to suffer. Give these an extra evening watering with a watering can or hose and ensure the moisture gets down to the soil around the deepest roots. If not root balls can die from the bottom up. If you are not sure dig a hole alongside affected plants and refill after watering . Naturally the above applies in the vegetable as well as flower gardens and fruit orchards. But recognise that some early leaf fall on almond trees and trees that fruited earlier is normal at this time of year.
This is not the prime time for buying most plants except drought resistant ones to brighten up terraces during your summer residence – see part four of ‘Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style’ for the safest options. But it is a good time to plan for autumn colour and vegetable growing. Indeed brassicas seeds need sowing now unless you intend to buy plantlets in the autumn for Christmas Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
Check the extent of your garden colour over the next four weeks. If lacking make a note to plant up more lantanas hibiscus, plumbagos, bignonias and bougainvilleas before next summer. If you have gluts in the vegetable garden of courgettes, peppers, tomatoes and aubergines make up some tasty chutneys and relishes for the winter months.
As well as watering don’t forget to dust your tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, melons, courgettes ,squash and grapes with inexpensive yellow sulphur powder against mildew once a week late evening. A 750 gm box cost us 1.6 euros last week from our village general store. Sulphur powder is also effective for getting rid of ants. Just sprinkle it on nest holes and lines of ants. It is ecological and won’t harm children or pets. But don’t confuse natural sulphur powder- azufre in Spanish- with copper sulphate.
Sorry mentioning some summer work but it is useful for ensuring delightful and productive gardens and apartment terraces. Our 3.5 square metre first floor terrace experimental veggie garden is still producing well. It is off our bedroom so for convenience it gets watered every other morning before the sun comes up. Yes that’s breaking our evening rule for watering but we don’t feel like watering vegetables when going to bed! See page169 of ‘Apartment Gardening Mediterranean Style’ for a photograph of the terrace back in February. We have grown over 21 types of vegetables on it so far!!
WINTER/SPRING SEASON FOR TALKS AND DEMONSTRATIONS
Several readers have asked if we give talks, demonstrations, do book signings and do garden audits. The answer is yes provided we are not out of pocket and can sell a few books.
In recent years we have spoken at charity days, community gardening groups, U3A conferences and meetings, American tour groups, social clubs and of course gardening groups, flower arranging groups, luncheon clubs, Lions and Rotary meetings, the opening of new restaurants and hotels and shops etc.. If you run a cruise ship company in your working time we would also be interested in supporting you with interesting motivating talks.
The talks can be on most gardening topics to fit in your programme of other speakers, Health from your garden, Self sufficiency in Spain, Walking across Spain …based on our 52 day walk across Spain to celebrate Dick’s first pension cheque, and surviving cancer by 5 years …it’s now 17! Dick is also willing to speak on Strategic leadership, Product management and Managing by objectives based on his pre retirement books.
If you are interesting in booking us please write in the first instant to www.yourgardeninspain.com mentioning the ‘Messenger in Spain’.
Clodagh and Dick’s gardening books