Grow your own world!

This month in the garden - 2022

November in the Garden

November brings cooler days, longer nights and we hope, a healthy amount of rain. If you haven't yet got your habas and garlic in the ground, do so now. It's also time to plant peas. Tall growing varieties will need support. Twiggy sticks, the tops of bamboo or fruit tree prunings, are ideal. Stick them into the ground next to your peas as deep as you can and your pea plants will catch onto them with their delicate tendrils as they grow taller. Dwarf peas shouldn't need any supports, but as the plants get heavier and become laden with peas towards harvest time, they may start to flop over. At this point a few stakes along the row with a string running between them can be used to hold the peas up off the ground.

Carrots, spinach, beetroot, parsnips, turnips and fennel can all be direct sown, as can salad leaves, rocket, coriander and oriental greens such as mustards and pak choi. Lettuce, chicory, swiss chard, celery, celeriac, leek and onion plantlets can go in too. Strawberry runners can be removed and transplanted. It's a good time to give the strawberry patch a thorough clean up and top dressing with well rotted compost or leaf mulch.

There can still be a lot to harvest this month – chillies, peppers, aubergines, peanuts, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and yacon. The last three all store well for the winter, but make sure you keep them in a cool dry place and check them regularly. One rotting pumpkin in the store can cause its neighbours to turn to mush pretty quickly.

What better way to spend those long dark winter nights than organising your seed collection. If you find yourself with an excess of seeds please consider donating some to your local seed bank. SEEeD (Semillas Ecologicas Españolas en Deposito), for example, was formed in Órgiva in 2014 by three seed saving enthusiasts and has been making seeds available to the local community ever since. The bank facilitates the sharing of seeds within the community. Local growers donate their excess seeds to the bank - seeds they have grown themselves - as the bank does not accept any commercial seed packets. The seeds are then cleaned and packed by a group of dedicated volunteers and made available locally through our “shop” in Las Torcas in Tablones, and through events the seed bank organises throughout the year.

Each packet of seeds has the variety name, the year of collection and the grower's name or number written on it. This is so that we know when and where the seeds were grown. We have a wide range of micro climates in the Alpujarra so when they are choosing new seeds to grow, people can look for seeds grown at a similar altitude to theirs. It also means we can trace any problematic seeds. For example if someone donated us some chard seeds, and they turned out to be beetroot, we could find those seeds in the bank and re-label them.

SEEeD is a community project and we all work together to learn more about seeds and seed saving. Our monthly meetings are a great way to share our knowledge while cleaning and packing seeds and we run monthly seed saving workshops. We have built up quite an impressive seed collection over the last eight years and with Órgiva being such a diverse community we have seeds for varieties from many parts of the world as well as many local varieties. But all the seeds in the bank have been grown locally and so are well adapted to our environmental conditions. During the lockdown, when seeds and plants were not considered to be essential items and so were prohibited from being sold in the few shops that were open at the time, the seed bank was the only place to obtain seeds. SEEeD is a thriving, living, local seed bank and is incredibly valuable to our community. To get involved check out the website at

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