Archive for April, 2011

Polyculture planting schemes

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

When I wrote about this site on its home page “It’s our virtual scrapbook, repository of working ideas (I can’t lose them if I put them here!) …” I was kind of half joking, but having just spent a good hour trying to find the piece of paper on which I scribbled last year’s vegetable planting schemes, I should have paid my own words more heed.

Raised beds

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Housework

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Both buildings on the quinta are being worked on at the moment. A while ago we fitted locally-made chestnut doors and windows to the smaller building, and today it got a new roof.

Smaller building on the quinta

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Slugging it out

Monday, April 18th, 2011

One of the main downsides to using mulch on beds is that it provides an optimum environment for the slugs. They can hide out beneath it during the heat of the day and stay cool and moist, venturing out at night to feast on whatever tender juicy young seedling has been planted through it. After 80% of my melon seedlings disappeared over the course of a week, I was looking for some good ideas to prevent them from doing quite so much damage.

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Bamboos

Monday, April 18th, 2011

If the potatoes are behaving as if they’re on steroids, you can almost see the bamboo growing. In the area where I harvested a lot of canes to build supports for the peas, beans and tomatoes, the bamboo has suddenly begun to sprout in earnest. One minute there’s nothing there, the next there’s a half meter tall shoot emerging. The tallest of the new shoots have grown something like 2m inside 2 weeks.

Bamboo shoots - Phyllostachys sp.

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Potatoes on steroids

Monday, April 18th, 2011

Or so it seems. I’m having to add a new layer to the potato box every 4 days. And this even before they had their first dose of nettle liquid plant food that has been fermenting in a barrel for them and the tomatoes …

Potato bin

April 10th – 2 layers and ready for the next

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Balcony and trellis

Monday, April 11th, 2011

We’ve started work on the larger building again. Or, to be more precise, a local team of joiners has started work. We’d planned on doing this with help from local friends, but reassessed when their own building project took off and we got to scratching our heads over where we were going to source sufficient sweet chestnut poles for the job. I’ve been buying some from the Presidente of the local junta (and the previous owner of this quinta) who has a pile of old, well-seasoned chestnut vigas that have been lying about for the best part of the last decade, but he doesn’t have enough, or enough of the right size, for what I had in mind. In the end, it was going to be quicker and far more economical to call in the team, since the team come complete with the wood.

Beginnings of a balcony or alpendre

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Raising potatoes

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

A week ago, the potato bin looked like this

Sprouting potatoes in potato bin

Now it looks like this, so time to add another layer.

Sprouting potatoes in potato bin

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Lowering poles

Monday, April 4th, 2011

With all this raising, there had to be some lowering. Balance … Specifically, the old electricity pole right by the larger of the two buildings on the quinta. It, and another 2 poles on terraces further down the quinta, used to carry the power supply to the village above us. The power supply now follows a different route and the poles are obsolete. Obsolete and in the way.

Disused electricity pole by house

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Raising beds, trees and vegetables

Monday, April 4th, 2011

With Spring now on a pogo stick, the clocks sprung forward, and the weather getting warmer by the day, work in the garden is now a dawn-to-dusk priority. It’s become a race to get trees planted and raised beds built before the season overtakes us.

Top terrace raised beds

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