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This month in the garden - 2020

November in the garden

The nights are drawing in and the temperature has dropped significantly. The winter beds are all planted up and now we pray for a decent amount of rain! If you have not yet planted habas and garlic, do so now. November can feel like a quiet time in the garden. All the activity and busyness of September and October; clearing out the summer veg, growing on all the seedlings, sowing seeds and creating new beds, has passed and now it's time to wait for the habas to sprout and some of the faster growing crops such as radishes and lettuces to be ready for harvest. Everything feels much slower and we may find ourselves looking for jobs to do. It's a good month to tidy up after summer. Put away all the tomato poles that are strong enough to be re-used next year, protected from the weather. Take the opportunity to have a look at your tools, oil the handles, clean them up and sharpen blades and fix or replace anything that is worn out or broken. Tidy up weed piles and overhaul compost bins. Spread manure around fruit trees.

Sweet peas, calendula, nigellas and other insect attracting flowers can be sown now. Continue successional sowings of coriander, rocket and lettuces. It's also time to organise all the seeds that (I hope) you saved over the summer. Label them with the variety name and the year and store them in a cool, dry place. Paper envelopes are best. SEEeD, your local seed bank, will be delighted to receive any excess seeds. The seedbank was a valuable resource during the start of the lockdown in March and stocks of many of our varieties are now very low. With the corona restrictions not showing any signs of letting up, we would love to have enough stock to serve our community of local growers again next spring. SEEeD continues to meet the first Wednesday of every month, upstairs in Las Torcas in Tablones from 10am. The monthly seed-saving workshop, on the last Saturday of every month, has proved to be so popular that we have a waiting list. Please get in touch if you would like to book a place on this informal, hands on workshop and learn all about saving great seeds.

The eco-mercado in Granada has suffered another blow due to new restrictions relating to the virus. The October Granada north market was cancelled at 10.30 pm the night before. By this time, all the stall holders had picked and packed their produce in anticipation of the next morning's early start. With such short notice of the cancellation they all had to find an alternative way to sell their produce or suffer throwing it all on the compost heap. We are living in uncertain times where markets and people's livelihoods can be shut down at a moment's notice.

One good thing has come out of the pandemic: the increased interest in growing food. So with more people growing their own food, it's important to build networks where we can support one another by swapping our excess or buying from other growers. It's deeply disappointing that Granada's open air, ecological market selling locally-produced healthy food is deemed a health risk while the multinational supermarkets remain open, selling out-of-season, chemically-fed produce grown under Almería's plastic sea. The appalling working conditions endured by the greenhouse workers have been in the press yet again in recent weeks but that picture never seems to change. I don't know if those workers are being forced to wear face masks in the already hostile environment of the greenhouses. Think about where your food money goes and what it ultimately funds. Would you rather your money supported local, ethical businesses or profit driven, exploitative industry? If you have a bumper crop, consider selling it to your friends or neighbours and encourage them to think about the food system and the choices they can make about how to spend their money. It's a real possibility that the food system could collapse. We can build a new one, that serves us locally. THE REVOLUTION IS IN THE GARDEN.

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