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Posts Tagged ‘vegtables’

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It is that time of year again so last Sunday morning we were doing what has become a yearly event eating breakfast community style.  I have mentioned this before, but just incase this is the breakfast in question.

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First they light a large bonfire over which a grill is placed where the salted sardines are cooked before they are taken to be kept warm.

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Whilst this is going on ordinary BBQ’s are going with tomatoes, onions and garlic cooking, then kept warm in trays over more BBQ’s.

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In the meantime the bread is being prepared. Small loaves are cut in half then the center neatly cut out to make a pouch, these are then placed on tables ready to be put together as follows:  one sardine, two tomatoes, one large onion and finally a large clove of garlic.  These then go to the front table where you que, you get a bib – and you need it – and your plate of goodies.

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Now set out to one side are tables  with olive oil – this is an olive oil fiesta celebrating the harvest – red wine and of course olives.  So once you have your breakfast you pick your spot fill your loaf  then stand there munching and drinking (the dribbling goes without saying) not bad for 3Euros it it? We then wandered into the hall where the various villages have stands displaying their oil, with small baskets of bread so you can taste it. Yes, just like wine, there is a different flavour to each oil. Maybe not as different as wine but it is there.  Two years ago when we had our last olives pressed there was a distinct peppery taste to it, can’t say much about last year as we did not have any olives to press because of the drought.  But looking at the trees this year I am thinking we might be in luck this November.

Well that was our Sunday breakfast what was yours?

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I was discussing gardening with a friend and realised that gardening here is rather different from the UK.  For a start the growing season is from October – when it gets cooler and is supposed to rain – through to end April after that it begins to get far too hot.  My wife likes to grow things such as tomatoes, peppers and her herbs so we have been on a learning curve for some while.

Innovation comes to mind when water is not readily available, as in previous posts I have explained that Manel brings the house water up when needed 5000 lts to fill the cisterna.

Then we have three 1000 ltr cubes for the garden which we fill from rain water or get topped up plus a 8ltr tank for the ‘Water Bar’ which is so vital to wildlife up here.  So when thinking of planting this is how it goes.  First what do we eat a lot of, what takes the least amount of water and can it be grown in pots, tubs etc.? Then of course what tubs etc do we have what can re-recycle?

To answer these questions and explain why my wife grows them I shall start with the simples.  Over here it is not impossible to buy fruit and veg cheaply.  Most gardens grow their own food resulting in surplus which they take to a little shop on a share basis ie, they sell the goods and share the profit.  But most of the women here grow their own herbs or walk the country roads picking wild herbs for the kitchen, whilst keeping an eye open for the wild asparagus which will be available in spring or for the snails.  This is typical country people’s fare and they know where to look and find it.

The women make preserves and tomato fritto which doubles as a sauce, soup and additive to dishes, and my wife makes chutney and relish. So she grows her produce in various containers to keep the bugs at bay.  Here it is said when buying plants or sowing seeds one for the bugs one for us..

So my wife trawled through the various gardening magazines – surprising how many have perfectly good ideas but refuse to sell to Europe they really are short sighted – and then looked round for things to adapt.

The first was an old toilet which after it had been cleaned and the waste pipe end blocked,  I set up under the tree cemented it in place and filled the bottom  with stones for drainage then topped it with compost and we planted strawberries in it.  To assist with the watering I installed a self watering drip feed and the strawbs are now over hanging the loo and the fruit are large and sweet. Using things like old sinks & loo’s earns 5 *****.

For the tomatoes we tried two ways of planting.  One was in the garden against the wall of the generator house the other was in growbags. The result was that we had lots of big beef toms and a toad took up residence at the end so the role of growbags gets 4 ****’s.

Next came a very ingenious idea the use of unwanted guttering and drain pipes.  The guttering is simple and can either be set on a wall with brackets or on a  x—–x horse the ends caped off then filled with compost then planted with salad.  The drain pipe can be cut to short length and used to bring on celery.

Well that’s how far my wife has got this year, but next year I expect she will be better prepared. I have seen the cement and stones out but what is going on I am not sure…..  I can say however that off of the single butternut plant we have had several tasty fruit.

Nothing is un-usable you can find a use for most objects in the garden just make sure they have drainage holes and the rest is imagination, ingenuity and fun  but the results are fresh food wonderful.

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It really rained last night in fact it was quite a storm.  Thunder crashing over head, lightening flashing lighting up the night sky, and rain? not a lot, it rained hard for a few minutes put 500ltrs into the garden cube. So this morning when we eventually woke up, it was cooler smelt fresher and the oppressive feeling had gone.  During the storm you could feel the charge so intense was the atmosphere.

So the garden.  The vegetables looked really well, there are cobs forming on the corn, beans appearing on the stems and the squashes, cucumbers, and melons spreading out over the ground.  For those of you who did not know, I decided to try the American Indian way of growing food.  They planted corn then grew beans up them and covered the ground with squash which kept the moisture in.  Know what, it works here as well.

As for the tomatoes, well they are beginning to turn red.  We grow these in potato bags, and they are really going strong, there are also radish in plant troughs with rhubarb doing its thing behind the poo patch.  The poo patch I hasten to explain is a trench which we filled with a mix of chicken and goat poo – good for rhubarb.

Potatoes!  Well I planted some in the ground intending to make a patch of them, however when digging them up I discovered not a lot.  A small boiling nothing else.  So, because the heat during the next two months would cook them in the ground, we are going to plant them in a couple of bins which have had the bottom cut off in the hope of new potatoes for Christmas.

I have come to the conclusion that, as we do not use pesticides or chemicals growing needs to be done in tubs etc.,  Roll on dinner.

It is now August and next week will be September, over a month since I began to write this, and not a drop of rain.  The only things to survive have been the tomatoes and cuecumbers in the pots.  The rhubard is ok but everything else has suffered from the heat.  The water was used up last month so I am now considering a system for the garden, albeit late.  We usually get a storm or two in August but nothing this year, still life is a learning curve and I am still learning, even the birds water evaporated.

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