Update September 2013

Hello folks, not much to report for September other than we have had a brilliant harvest. The Beans are all gathered in, the Onions and Garlic are hanging, the grapes ripened and the Tomatoes are still going. We have come to the end of the Courgettes or Zucchini, the outside Aubergines and peppers are about finished now, but I still have Potatoes to dig up and bag.

The winter greens are now showing their potential and the leeks are brilliant – being a northerner I have a reputation to maintain for growing good leeks, therefore it’s great when it happens (see the home baking page).

I have all of my over wintering onions, garlic and Shallots ready to go, but have been waiting for the Courgettes to finish so that I can clear the ground to get them all set, hopefully October will allow me the time and weather to do that.

On a sunnier note, we went to Madeira for a break, just for a week but it was wonderful to see the fantastic flora and fauna. As per usual I spent some time checking out what the locals were doing to ensure they could grow fruit and vegetables, it was very interesting.

The terracing necessary in this mountainous island (Fig 1) means that every scrap of fertile soil can be utilised for growing; I am sure a lot of the land is being used as small holdings, however, there were sections of the terracing that were obviously allotment type growing areas. In Funchal there were even some gardens in a gap created in between a dual carriageway (Fig 2 & 3) (pictures taken from the cable car). I did take several pictures of terraced gardens, so will include some at the end of the article.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3

It was interesting to see the diversity of produce that was being grown; we went to a local market which served to highlight the commonality of produce i.e. Onions and Garlic that had been plaited into lengths, Beetroot, Carrots and Potatoes, Chillies and Aubergines were also quite a routine produce, then there were Fruits such as Pineapple Bananas and Citrus Passion fruits, even Banana Passion Fruit (Fig 4 & 5).

Figure 4 Figure 5

All of this produce was from local gardens being sold by local people; what was noticeable also, was that there seemed to be a continuous growing season for some produce. For example, Potatoes were being hoed up in gardens and Runner beans were being trained up frames and strings, these were obviously second or third sowings of these crops, how lucky is that? Even luckier, having a Banana plant in your garden, this was often the case; it would seem strange to us having two or three sowings of what are tender plants for us.

That’s all for now folks, it’s almost mid October, so just enjoy the pictures and the next update will be the last for 2013.

Terraces Terraces Garden