Archive for July, 2012

Tomatoes at the edge

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

I’m useless at growing tomatoes the ‘normal’ way. I never seem to get them strung up right onto their supports, or am too late tying up the ripening bunches before they split the stem under their own weight. I forget to pinch them out so end up with an impenetrable tangle of misshapen top-heavy plants that flop on surrounding vegetables or deprive them of light. Then I invariably manage to break half the fruiting branches trying to sort them all out. And I always seem to end up with bottom end rot. If they weren’t so delicious I would begrudge them all the space they take up and their high maintenance.


Growing ponds

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Continuing the water storage theme, the bottom ponds have expanded again. We have yet to fill the top ponds – there hasn’t been enough water coming down the stream to do so without compromising the water supply for our neighbours further downstream. This small expansion of about 1,000 litres’ capacity gives us a much deeper section to the top pond, as well as increasing the amount of bank in contact with water and allowing us to extend the growing area. It also potentially allows us to take water further along the terrace once this dry spell is over and we have an adequate flow of water again.

Digging the new pond section


Rainwater harvesting

Friday, July 27th, 2012

It’s been a busy month and my lack of posts are a reflection of the amount of work that’s going on here rather than an absence of it! (If you’re on Facebook, then I often post briefer updates on the Quinta’s page there.)

This year’s lack of rain has focused a lot of attention on our water supply and fact that we have very little storage capacity on the quinta. As luck would have it, Liam, the newest member of the team, just happens to be an expert in building ferrocement water tanks, so after finishing the rear roof, we moved on to excavating a site for a water tank which will be part of a rainwater harvesting system collecting water for irrigation.

Site for rainwater harvesting storage tank

The tank site (marked in orange) with very necessary shade netting for the benefit of the diggers. We like to treat our chain gangs well here …