lunes, 28 de diciembre de 2009


Celery in winter

Leeks Puerros Porros

Leeks can easily overwinter some of the severist conditions.

viernes, 25 de diciembre de 2009

Escocia sin huerta

A little bit whiter than the costa blanca

lunes, 21 de diciembre de 2009

U3A plotting in the Marina Alta

The U3A or university of the 3rd age in Denia have been plotting to achieve organic sucess.The main purpose of the U3A is to encourage lifelong learning and friendship for those no longer in full time employment by providing Educational, Recreational and Leisure activities for its members, and have embarked on organic allotments.

Each allotment is around 30m². Good luck.

sábado, 19 de diciembre de 2009

leeks carrots and Scotland

I'm in snowy Scotland and the vegetable patches have a rest from me. These are the carrots and ,beside, as always a memeber of the alium family.

miércoles, 25 de noviembre de 2009


Lettuce plants in between brassicas

French beans in November

My good friend Snr A welded some steel bar to form a very handy/useful bean support.
Only one wee problem, i have planted dwarf-french beans and the support is some 7 ft tall!!!
The beans taste lovely and we'll use the supports for a summer crop - which i like so much with rice chicken and red peppers, and are a principal ingredient of the paellas around the costa blanca

Organised versus Non- Organised , but both organic.

I have two vegetable beds on the go at present. Basically a test to see if organised or unorganised gives better results.

At present i am pleased with both beds and we are eating a selection of fresh green leaves at the moment in the form of lettuce, endives, swiss chard and spinach.

I am still picking tomatoes from one of the "net-houses" and have a load of peppers to take off the plants in the greenhouse and in the vegetable bed at the house.

The cabbages which are grown in an orange grove, with irrigation in between the trees have grown enormous. Some more plantlings have been planted in their place which will be ready for cropping march.

The time has come to plant onions and garlic, i have planted some red sets and white plantlets. I will sow "Lisboa" in january as it is just such a nice onion.

domingo, 15 de noviembre de 2009

Oils Aceites Olis

The basil plants were starting to look a bit tired and a little dishevelled so i have immersed them in olive oil to get a taste of summer in winter. I should be picking tomatoes to round about Valentine's day so this oil makes a wonderful accompyament to fresh toms.
Betera is well worthy of a visit on the 15th of Aug when they parade their huge basil plants. Some of them are more than 7ft tall and are about the 6ft in diameter, quite a spectacular. They also have, arguably, the most ferocious night of firework bangers in the Valencian community.

jueves, 12 de noviembre de 2009

Brassicas and Haggis

Brassica - the family which cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kolirabi, sprouts, etc belong to, are pretty easy to grow here in the Marina Alta.
My experience is that they enjoy the cool of winter here, rather than our hot summers. In hot weather I find that broccoli wants to try to “bolt”, and generally they like cooler conditions.
At presente I have sprouts, curly kale, broccoli, cauliflower and variuos varieties of cabbage on the go. I have been given many of the plantlets by Snr Alex, many thanks.
The snails can be rather fond of young plants, as can be caterpillars. White fly can also be a bit problematic, however some Neem oil or a light solution of washing up liquid well diluted will do the trick.
On the positive side we have a bountiful supply of which some of it I freeze for all year round use.
I rotate plant brassicas so that they are not in the same part of the patch for at least 3 years. I don't know if club-root is a problem in Spain, however the ploicy of prevention rather than cure I always find works best.
I will plant some romanesco, the sort of green pointed cauliflower looking thing, this weekend along with some more kolirabi which I am so fond of. The flavour I find very similar to “neeps”. Talking of neeps I heard a nasty rumour that on the Mediterranean they hunt haggis all year round and don't have a closed season!! I dearly hope that it is only a nasty rumour.

domingo, 1 de noviembre de 2009

Cabbage - Col - Col

I picked this cabbage yesterday.
However at the vegetable garden at the house i have has a pretty bad attack of catepillars, they have all but destroyed many. If it's not one thingh it's another. Sometimes there is just not enough time.
I will spray everything tomorrow afternoon with a little Neem Oil, as i noted greenfly on the oranges and limes, other caterpillars chewing the roses, and whitefly trying to nestle in on the peppers.

green fingers

Some bean sprouts

viernes, 30 de octubre de 2009

Compost - Recycling

Busy recycling -yes i have taken to riding a bicycle again. Thankfully there is no photographic proof of this.
In the garden i have a couple of big blue plastic barrels which i use for re-cycling about everything i can. Before using them, i ground off the top and drilled lots of air holes with a 50mm
hole cutter all the way round and in the bottom. All in all, about half an hours effort.
All the compostable kitchen stuff is put in the buckets, along with newspapers, garden rubbish, even the dusty leaf mould stuff thats picked up by the blower thingy whilst at clients.
I add a bit of chicken manure to the barrels and a couple of buckets of the re-cycled compost from the local compost shredder.
The finished product is an earthy smelling very dark looking humus which i use as a mulch and a great soil conditioner.

domingo, 18 de octubre de 2009

Beetroot - Remolacha - Remolatxa

I purchased some beetroot translpants from a lovely lady in Denia, very knowledgable and a source of infromation about "la horta valenciana". Her shop is called the bodgea de Teresa Pastor and it is just on the entrance to Denia before the bus station. She has the widest selection of plant transplants I have came across in the area.
The beetroots have been in the ground a couple of weeks and are doing well.

martes, 6 de octubre de 2009

Beans - Judias - Bajoquetes

The late beans are doing well.

Las judias tardias estan creciendo bien.

Las bajoquetes tardeanes van be

Neem oil at 2cc/litre every 14 days

Aciete del neem 2cc/litro cada 14 dias

domingo, 27 de septiembre de 2009

celery - apio - api


The Sunday Press

This cold press i will use for goodness knows what. But I like it

Peas - o bolitas verdes

Planted sept 23rd, variety Lincoln.
I will "nip" them out in a few weeks when they have settled into their new home, and pop a support round them.
I will spray with Neem Oil very week to avoid the onset of Fungi as it is pretty wet here at present. Dosage 2cl per litre.

jueves, 24 de septiembre de 2009

September Reins

The summer has been hot and dry, just for a change, here in The Costa Blanca. The second "spring" has sprung.

A quick look back at the main part of the season- what's grown well? Everything. Apart from some brocoli planted too late in the season which quickly bolted into flower.

Problems - loss of tomatoes production due to tutta absoluta. It really is a 4x4 pest. The sucess story,if it can be called that, is the newly constructed "net-houses". I built these with complete crop isolation in mind, and it has worked with the late tomatoes, a crop which is particularly vulnerable to tutta attack. Sounds a bit rum "tutta attack"- answers on a postcard. has a good guide to this nasty .

High-notes. Cucumbers, peppers, potatoes, onions, leeks, artichokes.

Super high-notes. The quality of fresh fruit and vegetables that we have eaten throughout the year.

Current agenda: Soil preparation for next year has begun as a crop rotavation system is used. Lots and lots and lots of recycled compost has be dug into the ground to improve the moisture retention and general stucture,along with a little bit of well rotted ckicken manure. My own grapes have been regular this year, but a client's moscatels have been super sweet.

Late peaches will be ready for picking around the week of the full moon of October. Peppers and toms to be picked.

Planting; I have just planted beetroot, leek, lettuce, celery, cabbage, peas and beans in the form of plantlets.

jueves, 30 de julio de 2009

Canna - Richard Wallace

My uncle Ritchie would have been proud of this flower bearing his name. Can grow up to 2m.

domingo, 26 de julio de 2009

Canna - Red Dazzler

Canna "Red Dazzler"
Plenty of light , plenty of water, and a bit of diluted Neem Oil applied by sprayer to keep beasties and fungi at bay.

sábado, 25 de julio de 2009

Canna - Orange King

Outsatnding Canna big bright orange flower - luciois reddy bronze foliage.

Water Melon - Sandia- Melon d'Alger

jueves, 23 de julio de 2009

Cannas - Available from September

The news on the canna front is good.
The propogation of 4 trusted varieties of cannas is superceeding all expectatcions and the canna rhizomes should be in excellent condition.They will be available from early september onwards.
A little about the cultivation Cannas. In Spain they like to be planted pretty deep, as they like well prepared rich soil. They are rather ravenous in their appetite so some well rotted manure, preferably chicken , should be put in the ground.
Water freely in summer preferably with a drip irrigation systems feeding every month with a balanced liquid fertiliser.
If there is a risk of frost the crown of the plants must be protected with a form of mulch. Every couple of years they like to be sub-divide to prevent overcrowding.
Disease and Insect, pest: Canna is a hardy plant not much affected by disease and pests. Although some bacterial and fungal diseases like bud rot (Xanthomonas sp.), rust (Puccinia thaliae), stem rot (Pellicularia rolfsii) and canna mosaic virus may infect the plant. Diseases can be prevented by using only healthy rootstocks. I like to spray during the spring and summer months with a little Neem Oil at a rate of 2cc per litre as a preventative fungicide/insecticide.
Cannas can grow tall enough to form a summer hedge and generally speaking are sort of bold and brashy.
My uncle was called Richard Wallace and this was the first variety of canna that I planted. A sort of non-family hodoo! The variety name first atracted me, however the large green leaves and bright yellow flowers soon won me over. The other varieties are "Red “Dazzler” which has large dark redish/maroonish leaves and large audacious flowers. "Mediterranean King" has green foliage with yellow/red flowers.And last but not least "Orange King" again with reddy/bronze foliage. The 4 varieteis are from tall class of Cannas.
As a house plant they fall into the easy to look after category.
Spray regularly with water, put in a place with plenty of light.

miércoles, 15 de julio de 2009

Festes and it is. Thanks Bonaventura

Half way through fiestas and all is well. The neem applications are keeping things under control in the green field. Melons are looking good, I just hope they are sweet.

Tomatoe report- bad-ish news.the tutta absoluta thingy is in full production, despite the current crisis it is multiplying rapidly.

Leeks and maize are surpassing expectacions, brocoli however a bit of a disaster - i think it is just too hot and the flowers don't stay compact.

lunes, 29 de junio de 2009

cucumber and avocado soup

There’s no reason to only use cucumbers raw—they are wonderful sautéed then pureed with avocado for a silken-textured soup that’s good warm or cold.

Makes 4 servings, about 1 cup each

ACTIVE TIME: 35 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil2 cloves garlic, minced1 small onion, diced1 tablespoon lemon juice4 cups peeled, seeded and thinly sliced cucumbers, divided1 1/2 cups vegetable broth or reduced-sodium chicken broth 1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepperPinch of cayenne pepper1 avocado, diced1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1 to 4 minutes. Add lemon juice and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 3/4 cups cucumber slices, broth, salt, pepper and cayenne; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook at a gentle simmer until the cucumbers are soft, 6 to 8 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a blender. Add avocado and parsley; blend on low speed until smooth. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.) Pour into a serving bowl and stir in yogurt. Chop the remaining 1/4 cup cucumber slices. Serve the soup warm or refrigerate and serve it chilled. Just before serving, garnish with the chopped cucumber and more chopped parsley, if desired.

potatoes - patatas - creiilles

I'm happy with the potatoe recollection, "sputna" - what we refer to as "egyptians"- has been the most sucessful of the white potatoes. A healthy crop from each shaw. Red potatoes to be recollected in the coming weeks. Then sweet potatoes to plant.

lunes, 8 de junio de 2009


This is the product that the beasties are treated with. It is an organic/natural insecticide called Neem. There is a picture of the tree a couple of entries back.
available from

domingo, 7 de junio de 2009

Huerta Sana - Pedreguer

El Jefe

The project has been aided by El jefe - Jaime Fornes Avella. He is truly a remarkable man. Formidable, possibly even intimidating with his brusque manner and his Valencian sense of volume of conversation.
He celebrates 80 this year, and his passion for fruit and vegetable growing only seems to grow. Maybe its the juice of a lemon with a pint of water first thing in the morning that does it.

Jaime Fornes Avella - Pedreguer

No hay muchos hombres de este tipo.Las cosas estan claras, hay transparencia. Jaime Fornes Avella - una inspiracion, un ejemplo de la fuerza humana, a veces un poco brusco. Jefe, te saludo.

lunes, 1 de junio de 2009

Cosecha - home grown

What can't speak can't lie