Proud of our achievements
Hi to all GOYers! I felt I had to put into words how pleased we are with our achievements in our garden. After years of several fantastic holidays in this Paradise we moved to a tiny village in the Picos de Europa mountains in Northern Spain almost two years ago, having had a new casa built on the footprint of the original casa where the “garden” had been a corral for animals. After several builders, JCBs and trucks full of bricks and stone had been rambling over the land, you can imagine the state it was in! But, undaunted, my partner got stuck in to digging out trenches with a pickaxe, grinding up the compacted soil by hand and taking out as many rocks as possible, creating a new “mountain” of rocks 6′ × 6′ × 5′ high! Our only neighbours have a smallholding and happily shared their piles of well-rotted animal manure so we could enrich the soil.
Last year we grew runner beans of several Spanish varieties and one British variety, which didn’t do well, so we now grow only Spanish beans. We also grew several Golden Sunrise tomato plants, about 20 onions and Little Gem and Lollo Rosso lettuces, all from seed. My neighbour’s Butterhead lettuces kept bolting and finally, in desperation with FIVE of her lettuces in my fridge, I found a recipe for Lettuce Soup – a real winner – that kept our tums warm on many a frozen Winter evening!
This year we had a better plan of the garden and, after more incredibly hard pickaxe work by my partner, have seven 2’ deep beds in which we are growing potatoes, brussels, leeks, two varieties of tomato, lettuces, runner beans, French beans, beetroot, cabbage and white and red onions. We also grow lots of different herbs, with basil being the main contender – we luuuuuurve pesto on our pasta – and I have today made enough pesto for seven double portions which is now languishing in our freezers, along with bags of blanched beans giving us 26 double portions and still coming! The tomatoes are gearing up to ripen and will give us salads, the glut will be pulped and frozen to use in sauces for lasagnes and paellas and, hopefully, there’ll be enough green tomatoes, with some of our onions and apples from our neighbours, to make Green Tomato Chutney. We dug up four of our potato plants, mainly because our neighbours had Black Leg on theirs so we thought we should check ours, but they were fine and particularly tasty cooked with my mint and tossed in butter with salads.
As well as this produce, I have two areas of the garden for flowers and, along with most of Spain, this region likes to decorate its casas with displays of potted pelargoniums and surfinia petunias, so I have been kept busy potting up cuttings for window ledge and balcony displays, as well as trying out seeds sent to me from Britain to see what will grow at this 700 metre altitude.
We’re not the best of gardeners. Some of the photos of other members’ gardens are really beautiful and ours is scruffy and un-planned in comparison, but I am so proud of what we have achieved with this incredibly stony ground and vastly different weather patterns with heavy Spring rainfall, Summer temperatures of 30 degrees plus and Winter snows of 3ft deep. Never mind what anyone else thinks – I deliver us a Gold Medal for achievement.
Thanks for reading this rather long blog. Happy Gardening!
- 18 Aug, 2008
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Gardening with friends since
2 Jul, 2008