Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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Na Horta (In the Veg Gargen) - April

April can be an unpredictable month: strong winds, high temperatures and heavy rains are all possible. One minute you can’t see the bottom of the garden because of the mist, and the next minute it’s off with the jumpers as the sun comes out.

  • Be prepared for the wind: asparagus can grow very tall and get blown over so loop some string around each plant and tie to poles. Sprouts, cauliflowers and calabrese also need to be firmed in well. Give climbing beans and peas a helping hand by tying them up until they get a hold on their own.

  • Now’s the time to sow the sun loving veg: tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, sweet corn etc can all be started under cover.

  • Earth up potatoes when you can see their leaves breaking through the surface.

  • Keep an eye out for the ants. They don’t do any damage themselves but will happily cover your broad beans with aphids and make huge nests under roots and in plant pots. It’s impossible to get rid of them of course but ant powder can help temporarily in the garden, or boiling water. Soak pot plants in water to drown them out and wrap gaffa-tape inside out around the trunks of fruit trees to stop them crawling up.

  • Prune your olive trees. Now’s the time to do more substantial lopping; and remove all those shoots that are making a ‘skirt’ around the base of the trunk.

  • Keep the plastic water bottles from your lunches out. Cut them in half and use them as individual cloches when you transplant out. They’ll keep the young plants safe from slugs and cold temperatures at night, and protect them from the wind. You’ll need to remove the bottles if it gets too hot during the day but it’s worth the effort. After a week or so the plants will be strong enough to look after themselves.

  • Don’t forget to sow some companion plants especially marigolds and nasturtiums. They make the veg patch look nice, as well as attracting the bees and aphid eating bugs.

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by Jackie McAvoy (read her blog The Story of Casa Azul)

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