Monday, 9 November 2009

Tips for successfull planting of winter veg in Andalucia

So the weekend is over with a little rain to water the freshly planted baby lettuces, cabbage onions etc. After a long hot summer the autumn has finally arrived. The lower temperatures are perfect for planting out winter crops especially lettuce and cabbage- spinach and carrots should already have been seeded as they need that bit of extra warmth to get them growing soon enough before the colder temperatures set in, same for peas of any variety. Down here in Southern Andalucia weve been experiencing extremely mild October weather which for the moment seems to be continuing well into November. Luckily this inhibits the profileration of slugs and snails the bane of baby lettuce and cabbage plants. Make sure you prepare the ground well by first digging the plot over ( choose a plot that will get plenty of winter sun ie a south or east facing bit of the garden) and then once the soil has dried out abit you can then hoe it to a fine texture ready for planting. One of the most important parts of preparing vegetable beds is to make sure they have plenty of nutrients, so a good dose of manure is recommended. Its important to make sure you leave enough space between plants- they might be small now but in a few months youll be surprised at how much they can grow especially with the right care, and then they will definately appreciate the space and you will be able to work the soil easier. Make a small hole which you should then fill with extra manure mixed with the surrounding soil and then plant the seedlings so that theyre roots are well covered without sinking them. Follow this with a gentle watering at the root after which you can firm the soil again making sure that they are well anchored. If in the following days the weather is clear and sunny the plants will suffer from too much sun so its important to shade them using either loose straw left over from clearing or also spare roof tiles work really well (making a little triangular roof by leaning one against the other). Depending on the weather the new plants will need regular watering until their roots are established enough to benefit from deep down moisture. With the right care lettuces can be ready for harvest within 3 months and cabbages within 5 months. Happy eating!

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