July has gone and so has August and September and here we are at the end of October,
it’s shocking how time flies by so quickly.
I have to admit the heat really takes its toll and a siesta is necessary to keep energy-levels up, so then the evenings have to make up for the lost time.
Guests kept coming, keeping me busy and then the olive harvest started in early September.
I have learned some lessons in the garden, the hard way.
The garden gurus say to save seeds yourself, to propagate your own so that seed companies do not have the monopoly on seeds and our food supply.
I sowed courgettes, probably old seed or seed from shop bought courgettes, I cannot remember, mistake number one. Note to self: Always make sure you remember where your seed comes from.
I watered and fertilised, and water and mulched and incorporated ‘ollas’ and did everything to achieve lush, green growing plants. They flowered and some little baby fruit appeared. I harvested one; yes only one medium courgette from five plants. Every other fruit shrivelled up or died or did not even form.
The same with volunteer tomatoes from last year and the melon plants; they grew and developed nice green foliage, two small melons appeared and shrivelled up; granted after being attacked by the peacocks.
And my shop bought tomato plants? Yes, they are still producing, but I rarely get to enjoy a fruit as again the peacocks get at them despite netting and wire mesh. And the ones they cannot get the ants will claim for themselves. In an extremely dry, hot year any source of moisture helps the critters to survive.
Who am I to deny nature its bit? Well, it is damn frustrating to a go without a bounty of harvest after putting in the time of keeping the plants alive in the extreme heat.
Saying that, I did have some success with the cucumbers and made plenty of cucumber smoothies and the peppers are doing quite well and also the multi-coloured aubergines. I have purple, purple-white striped, yellow and white aubergines and even sold some to the Moroccan shop, which also takes our eggs. Ok, I am obsessing about those beauties, simply because this is this years most successful crop, as ants and peacocks don’t go near them.
This year’s lesson is:
- take note of where your seeds or plants come from, also what age the seeds are.
- do not buy hybrid or polyploid seeds or plants if you want to save the seeds or propagate new plants from the old
- bought plants will not guarantee successive produce in the next year, because of the same problem: lots of fruit in the first year, then diminished production.
- If you want to save seeds, buy organic seed that are untreated, produced without chemical additives like fertilisers and pesticides and are not hybrids for a once off showy grandeur of produce.
And did I mention the trouble these beautiful wonderful peacock and peahens give me? It’s definitely a love-hate relationship, full of passion. They break into the garden; push their way through netting and wire to eat all of the Swiss chard, some tomatoes, all of the cabbage, lettuce and what-have-you.
I am looking forward sowing my crop of Ruccola, self-saved and always a great slightly peppery salad ingredient.
HAPPY DAYS WITH LOVELY PEOPLE
In August I went to collect my daughter Elaine in Malaga, or rather Fuerengirola, taking in Benalmadena on the way where a dear friend of mine lives.
She is nearing her 80s, but an inspiration with her active life. She moved to Spain in her 70s, learned Spanish then and thus it proves you are never too old to start anything. Being a nurse by profession she volunteered her time and expertise in a nearby hospice and wrote a book at the same time. We met in 2016 in Granada on an excursion of the Spanish language schools and being both on the way to move our lives to Spain, clicked.
My daughter was after having a hen party weekend with friends and happy to move to the quietness of our finca. Not without being dragged over the border to Portugal, where my son and girlfriend holidayed in Albufeira. Well, ‘If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain’ or: don’t underestimate your mother, she will come and find you.
We spent a lovely day paddle surfing, paddle boating, jumping into the water, falling off the paddle board and filling ourselves up with food in between. All crowned with a cocktail, and a mocktail in my case, in the ‘Havana meets Jamaica Bar’, [R. Padre Semedo de Azevedo Nº18, 8200-167 Albufeira, the old town, Portugal], which we would recommend if you like really well made cocktails, Bob Marley, Shisha and a cool decor.
As you can see, I am lacking photos of this single day in Albufeira. Simply because we enjoyed ourselves too much to take silly selfies and were too busy splashing in the water and getting sun burnt.