Grow your own world!

This month in the garden - 2023

February in the Garden

February has to be the most unpredictable month of the year weather-wise. Some years are hot and dry, some wet, some cold and frosty or we can experience rapid changes featuring all these possibilities. My favourite February days are spent inside the greenhouse listening to the rain lashing on the roof while I sow the seeds for the summer’s abundance to come. It's also the time the stunning almond blossom heralds that spring is just around the corner. An optimistic month indeed.

This month sow seeds for tomatoes, chillies, peppers, aubergines, basil, coriander, celery, celeriac and lettuces under cover to protect them from frost and cold winds. If you are in a protected area with a warmer microclimate you could sow melons, cucumbers, courgettes and pumpkins too. I generally wait for the longer, warmer days of March for these rather than take a gamble on the weather. Outside, direct sow seeds for beetroot, carrots, parsnips, radish, chard, rocket, spinach and turnips. Potatoes can go in too. Mustards and oriental greens can be direct sown and it's worth trying an early sowing of French or runner beans in a protected spot. They won't survive a frost, so choose your spot carefully.

Prune your fruit trees now, before they start to blossom and plant any new ones you have your eye on. Scatter some seeds around for companion plants such as sunflowers, poppies, nasturtiums, calendula and echinacea. Dig up comfrey roots and divide them to make new plants. You can also transplant raspberry suckers and strawberry runners, as well as divide your yacon and Jerusalem artichokes and transplant them.

As a gardener who regularly rants on about eating local and supporting local growers, it's wonderful to see so many new initiatives popping up all over the place. From the Ecomercado in Granada on the first and third Saturdays of the month (now in its 9th year), to the Ecomercado in Salobreña on the second Sunday of the month, Cádiar mercado AgroArteSano on the last Saturday of every month and the Huella Meraki encuentro de agricultores in Órgiva on the last Sunday of every month (the most recent arrival, featuring locally grown food served in the dishes from the café as well as a seed and plant swap), there's a local farming event to attend every single weekend. Plus the many other events taking place in the Lecrín valley and on the Costa Tropical. The Lanjarón seedbank held its first meeting in January.

How refreshing to experience our community's response to the cost of living crisis, to the climate crisis, to the general mismanagement of our world by governments and unelected bodies such as the EU and the World Economic Forum who seek to micromanage every aspect of our lives. By taking matters into our own hands to provide locally grown organic food that is not overpriced and overpackaged and to make it available at so many wonderful markets we're showing a practical response to the problems that the mass media frame with such doom and gloom. There's no food crisis when a community is providing for their own needs. There's no excuse now for anyone not to be eating local, at least some of the time. Keep our money circulating in our local economies, don't give it to the multinational mega-corporations. Why put yourself through the torture of a trip to a giant supermarket when you can have a lovely day out to a local farmers' market? The wide range and quality of products available on these markets demonstrates the level of commitment and length of time our local producers have been working hard to perfect their craft and they are now finally coming together to organise these wonderful events. We´re growing our own world.

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