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This month in the garden - 2020

July in the garden

July and by now there should be a bounty of courgettes, tomatoes, basil and beans. We had a strange start to the season this year, not just because of the corona virus lockdown, the weather was much colder for far longer than usual and many of the summer crops got off to a slow start. Everything should be well established by now and the work of tying up tomatoes and making daily or every other day harvests should be routine. Watering is the first priority now as temperatures start to soar.

It always amuses me to start talking about winter veg when its so hot outside. Its already time to sow brassicas from seed to get the plantlets ready to go in the ground in the autumn. Brocolli, cauliflower, kale and cabbages can all be sown now and kept in a shady spot. Don't try to grow them in a greenhouse. It will be far too hot and the tender seedlings will fry. The best sowing days for leaf crops, according to the biodynamic calendar, are July 20th and 31st. Continue with direct sowings of French beans for harvest in October.

This is the first issue of the mag to be published since the start of the lockdown in March. As the state of alarm was declared, the garden centre shut and the almacens in Orgiva were not permitted to sell seeds or vegetable starter plants as they did not fall into the essential items category. This was a huge problem for those getting started with their spring plantings.

SEEeD (Semillas Ecologicas Espanolas en Deposito), our local seedbank, was able to fill the gap as it managed to continue to function throughout the lockdown. Some members grew a lot of extra plants and our network managed to supply them to those in need. I feel like I have to be careful what I say here as hefty fines were threatened for anyone moving around during the lockdown without a good reason. For those whose gardens are not in the same place as the house they live in, they were unable to travel to the garden to carry out the essential work of the season to ensure their crops were planted. Gardening was suddenly all about secret meetings and sneaking around the back streets exchanging plants and seeds. For those that were concerned about the security of their jobs and thought they may be relying on their gardens to feed themselves over the coming months, it was a risk worth taking.

We can all breathe a big sigh of relief (through our masks of course) that the state of alarm is over and we can now freely buy tomato plants, potting compost and seeds. The seedbank provided a huge amount of seeds to growers over the first few weeks of lockdown and the stocks are decidedly depleted. I call on all gardeners and growers out there to save seeds this year to ensure that they are prepared for an event such as the one we have just experienced should something similar happen in the future. And also to please support the seed bank by donating seeds to help replenish the stocks. If you are new to seed saving or an accomplished seed saver and still have some questions or doubts, then come along to one of our seed saving workshops that we will be running over the next few months. The first one will take place in Orgiva on Saturday July 25th from 10am till 1pm. Places are limited to 10 people so please get in touch if you would like to attend. The workshop is free, donations of seeds or money are very welcome.

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