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This month in the garden - 2022

April in the Garden

Finally, after heading towards drought for many months, March brought some decent rain, even if it was filled with red mud. The calima or sirocco usually happens in summer and this latest one was the muddiest for many years. The minerals in the soil that is carried on the wind from the sahara are great for the garden so a double bonus for us gardeners. Not such a joy for the people of the pueblos who could be seen jet washing, scrubbing and hosing for days afterwards in attempt to change the now terracotta coloured villages back to pristine white. I don’t fancy the chances of the human race to survive a real crisis when the priority use for the long awaited water is cleaning. So much cleaning in my pueblo that the municipal deposito was emptied and the town supply went off the day after the rain.

The plants however loved the muddy rain and are all thriving. April is a busy month in the green house. Lots of tiny seedlings to pot on and more seeds to sow. Keep on with cucumber, pumpkin, courgette, melon, watermelon and luffa seeds. Basil can be sown now and more tomatoes, chillies, peppers and aubergines if you need them. Okra can be direct sown as well as sweetcorn and peanuts and the first plantings of French, soya and Asian beans. Parsnips, carrots, beetroot, turnips and radishes and spinach can be sown too.

Start thinking about planting tomatoes and other tender summer veg out into the garden beds towards the end of the month. Keep an eye on the weather. Depending on where you are located, it can still get cold and we did experience a killer frost on May 1st in the higher Alpujarra a few years ago. Don´t rush it. The tomatoes and co will be happy in the greenhouse or otherwise protected from the cold for a few more weeks yet. Get your tomato poles ready as well as supports for beans and cucumbers.

Between the rain, the mud and the rising temperatures, perfect conditions have been created for weeds. I’ve said this many times before – keep ahead of them. Your hoe is your best friend now. A quick run up the rows before the weeds have started taking hold will save so much time and heartache later. The best time to weed really is when you haven´t get any weeds (yet). If you mulch, now is a good time to do that to keep all that moisture in the soil.

The habas should be ready to harvest by now as well as potatoes and salads. The peas will be near the end of their harvest so make sure you select some of your best plants to go to seed and save those for next year. Leave the pods on the plants until they are dry and papery. When the peas inside are completely dry, put them in the freezer for five days to kill the weevils. The weevils lay their eggs in the pea flower so the peas develop around the egg. Although your pea seeds look fine when you harvest them, the developing larva is working away inside and the mature weevil will eat its way out in spring,

If you would like to learn more about saving your own seeds, come along to one of the seed saving workshops hosted by SEEeD, our local seed bank. Workshops are held on the last Saturday of every month on a finca somewhere. The workshop can even be brought to your finca. Get in touch here for more details.

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