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Archive for February, 2015

Spring is here!

plum tree in flowerI can tell it has because all the young almond trees are putting out leaves. And my black plum tree (ameiceira preta) is in flower! I am excited because I only planted it a month ago. It was a good size tree when I bought it and hopefully I’ll see a few plums!

 

This month has essentially been about grafting. I had started grafting a few olive trees using cleft grafting and a splice union graft.  I think I pretty much have got the hang of cleft grafting. The splice joint takes more time and effort. It also is not as strong as a S(or J) type graft where the scion and root stock actual interlock. I’ll have to learn this for next year.

Cleft grafted peach onto bitter almond tree

Cleft grafted peach onto bitter almond

 

A neighbour whose land borders mine kindly gave be some peach tree branches to use for firewood.

I must take him to lunch. I am sure he is an interesting man. He is Portuguese. He was 30 odd years in Africa as a colonial soldier .

Anyway, I then had the brilliant idea of grafting some of these branches onto my bitter almond trees and excess almond root stock. So fingers crossed it works and I am able to coax something sweet from the otherwise  inedible.

Splice graft - peach scion onto almond root stock.

Splice graft – peach scion onto almond root stock.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSC_0402I germinated some tomato seedlings! Two varieties, ‘Alex’ and ‘Sweet Million F1′. Sweet million really came through for me last year, despite being neglected and being put in heavy clay soil. So I hope for a repeat this year. Alex who visited last spring, had given me the ‘Alex’ variety of monster tomatoes in 2012. This was in England, so I had the seeds with me. Hopefully they will do well here.

 

 

 

The tiny cutting of this daisy type plant from England survive the winter and is really thriving!

Linda says they are Chrysanthemums.

Linda says they are Chrysanthemums.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coeve Galega

Coeve Galega

 

I put a bit of irrigation pipe alongside a part of my bother with the front road and have stuck in fig and pomegranate cuttings. There are also a some young carob (alfarobeira) trees growing. I also planted some Portuguese cabbage (coeve galega) here.

 

 

 

 

Here is my fig tree nursery.

fig tree nursery

fig tree nursery

 

cabbages

cabbages

Some cabbages and green peas growing at the Seven Sisters ditch (swale) around the young orange trees. I find that  grass cuttings on top of  small shredded olive branches and leaves and wild fennel stems works well. The latter support and help the grass cutting to filter down the organic layer slowly. Otherwise the grass on it’s own would compact tightly and decompose far too quickly. Which is not bad but as my friend Martijn said it’s gone too soon.

 

 

 

 

My just eight green pea plants doing well. Already had a bowlful.

green peas

green peas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Loving my Vortex gingabike. And the trailer it can pull. I used it to buy some wood and go get a bottle of gas from town. It goes very well with the trailer attached.

Vortex electric bike and trailer

Vortex electric bike

 

Well, that’s all for February. I broke a bone in my hand a couple of weeks back which has slowed me down but I can’t stop. Staying warm in winter has been a challenge. Thank goodness I had my stove. It has been brilliant. It does hot water for my bath and I have cooked a lot of stuff on it too.

It is warming up nicely now so roll on March :)

 

January in the Algarve.

 

Has been a mixed bag. We hand a couple of weeks where the temperature reached 19ºC during the day and didn’t fall below 8ºC at night. We have more normal winter weather now with a cold northwesterly blowing and a excepted maximum of 13ºC. But is is sunny so my solar panels are working well :) . I still haven’t built a charge controller for the wind turbine to harness all the wind energy we have here.

 

Gardening/agriculture wise it’s been a good month. I have started a green compost heap to try and rapidly compost weeds. However I don’t think it will be sufficient so I invested 30 evros in a metre cubed of “stumu”.

Stumu

Stumu

I think it is essentially bog. It smells likes the place in Kenya where we used to go to buy earthworms for fishing.

 

 

 

 

DSC_0393

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have applied some on a small vegetable bed where I have planted some cabbages and four cucumber plants. They are under the cut bottles. DSC_0398I am excited about the cucumbers as I have never seem a cucumber plant before!

I added the cardboard layer after planting as this is when I managed to get hold of some. It works very well as a weed suppressant.

 

 

 

organically grown cabbageOf the cabbages I planted in November I got only 1 badly eaten individual. But it was tasty. :) I got some red cabbages growing at the Seven Sisters swale (ditch) so we’ll see have they come along. I currently get a steady stream of lettuce leaves, even in winter.

 

 

Jamie Oliver Green Peas

Jamie Oliver Green Peas

The trees are doing well. I have planted another plum tree this weekend  as well as a couple more carob trees. One of the two lemon trees has actually flowered! This is just the beginning of it’s second year’s growth. I might a actually see a lemon or two this year :) . I need to press on with grafting more olive trees this month as well as try and set some hardwood cuttings of fig and pomegranate.

 

 

 

 

almond bloom

almond bloom

The almond trees are in bloom. I planted 30 almond seeds in late October in fifteen holes. Six almond saplings are now growing! I have also been transplanting some of my young almond trees as I have quite a few of them.

Young almond trees

Young almond trees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the EIGHT Jamie Oliver greens pea plants are doing well. I should have really sown more. The Portuguese here grown them in clusters. I’ll try this next time. I gt some gowning down at the Seven Sister’s Swale too. I palnted 10 potatoes in the heavy clay just to see how they will do. Six potato plants are now growing slowly.

 

 

 

I haven’t done much about the floor inside the house or built Primeiro his dog house. I need to built a chicken coop too. We eat a lot of eggs. Manged to solve the horrible smell you used to get after you emptied the urine tank by creating a simple U-bend in the flexible hose.

 

I am slow but I am having fun doing what I manage to do :).