Wednesday, December 12, 2018
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Things to do in November in your Veg Garden in Portugal.

Ted Hughes described November as "The month of the drowned dog"; and that certainly makes sense here in central Portugal. But don't think it's time to retreat indoors by a cosy fire – there's still plenty to do in the veg patch! The rain means that the soil is much easier to dig into and there are lots of projects you can get on with. na horta nov2

  • If you don't have one consider making a pond; whatever the size a small pond is better than having no pond at all. It's an amazing magnet for all kinds of creatures including dragonflies, water beetles and birds. Frogs will help to keep on top of any slugs in your lettuce, just make sure it's easy for things to crawl out of. Our water lily survived the frosts last year and at times we had 5 flowers open simultaneously.

  • The large cubic metre water butts you see around aren't the most attractive objects but one attached to the guttering will fill up in no time and provide a great water resource when the sun comes out again.

  • This is the ideal time to plant trees, the soil is not only easy to dig but still warm from the summer.

  • It's also time to cut back some plants including autumn fruiting raspberries and asparagus. Burn the asparagus fronds so that you kill any asparagus beetle eggs lurking there. Then mulch around with straw to keep the weeds at bay.

  • You'll be seeing garlic for sale in the agricultural co-ops; now's the time to plant these easy to grow veg. Don't forget winter growing onions too.na horta nov1
  • Use the small branches removed during the olive harvest as props for any dwarf peas and broad beans.

  • On a sunny day rake up all the leaves to make leafmould; your beds will really appreciate it. Simply pile the leaves in a cage of chicken wire and wooden poles and wait a year (or two!) for it to rot down.

  • Luckily for us Portugal means winter sun. Many herbs will grow happily on a south facing windowsill, and I have a friend who successfully grows red chillies like this.

Finally, away from the veg patch, consider planting some flower bulbs. They're always successful here coming up in the spring when there's rain and then disappearing in the summer – no fuss or watering! Oh, and look out for the field mushrooms which are appearing now, along with the chestnuts it's a great month.

This page is written by Jackie McAvoy, read her blog The Story of Casa Azul.