Spring is Sprung – New Life in the Huerto

21 Mar

Spring is sprung,
De grass is riz,
I wonder where dem birdies is?
De little birds is on de wing,
Ain’t dat absurd?
De little wing is on de bird!

Apologies, but I do enjoy nonsense and nursery rhymes! Yesterday at 6.14am, Spring officially began here in Spain.  Unfortunately someone forgot to tell the weather and the warm temperatures we have been experiencing dropped overnight.

No matter, we have been putting some early plants into our veggie patch, but Big Man has been creating mini polytunnels to protect them on cold days and nights.

In about a week we´ll be eating our first broad beans, and the onions are also coming on nicely.

We planted a totally ridiculous 280 cloves of garlic, and are now planting lettuce between the rows.  Big Man will cover them with netting or the little sparrows will think they´ve been invited to a Michelin starred restaurant.

We planted a first “wave” of tomatoes, peppers and chard.

The tomatoes are already producing flowers.

The chard is almost ready to start picking.

But helpers are thin on the ground here. Better to sleep in the warm sun room.

Luna says "Just five more minutes and then I´ll come and help"

Maybe I´ll get up and help.

Did someone mention digging?!

Maybe not, I´ll just put my head down and no one will notice I´m here.

Think I´ll just stay here and wait until my fur grows back after the home haircut Mum & Dad gave me...

And a final piece of “newness”.  John From the Bartolini Kitchens, very kindly sent me a fantastic tutorial on how to insert the Flag Counter I now have right at the very bottom of my blog page. If you scroll down, down, down you will see that it is now starting collect flags from the countries that have visited my blog. Very interesting and a lot of fun to check up on. Maybe one day I´ll get to visit more of them.  Thanks John, my brilliant long lost Italian cousin!


77 Responses to “Spring is Sprung – New Life in the Huerto”

  1. Piglet in Portugal March 21, 2012 at 10:10 #

    My goodness your veggie patch looks so organised! Mine is positively wild by comparison.
    Jealous of your broad beans. 🙂 When did you plant them?

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 11:42 #

      We planted the broad beans on Christmas Eve! Well, Big Man and my dad did…a bit of a tradition round here. The other half of the huerto is still not dug over though, so don´t be jealous 😉

      • Piglet in Portugal March 21, 2012 at 12:21 #

        they were from seeds then?

      • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 14:42 #

        Oops – yes the beans were from seeds! Well, dried beans which we soaked in water overnight then planted. This helps to get them germinating more quickly.

      • Piglet in Portugal March 21, 2012 at 15:51 #

        OK. I better add them on my to do list for December 🙂

  2. Florence March 21, 2012 at 10:20 #

    Hi T, Wow, your veggies are growing well. I know I have said it before but those few degrees make all the difference. Our tomatoes, although growing nicely, are still in little pots in the greenhouse. Hasn’t Luna grown! Fab photos. TFS.
    Regards Florence x

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 11:43 #

      Yes, always a couple of degrees warmer here a little but further down the mountain, and more noticeable in the cooler months. Yes, Luna is two now so full grown…she was rather stretched out in that photo which was rare as she normally runs when she sees the camera…very odd dog!

  3. chaiselongue1 March 21, 2012 at 10:23 #

    Your huerto looks wonderful – those mini polytunnels have worked so well! Everything much more advanced than here, except that we are picking chard that has overwintered. It’s such an exciting time of year, isn’t it?

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 11:44 #

      We are pleased with our experiment – it´s the first time we´ve done this. We have been eating chard that overwintered too but eventually dug it up about 2 weeks ago when we saw that the new chard was taking off. It´s such a tough (not to eat though 😉 ) little veggie, we love it!

  4. chaiselongue1 March 21, 2012 at 10:24 #

    PS What fun! I like your flag counter….I must see whether I can work out how to add one.

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 11:45 #

      I´m sure John will send you the details if you ask him!

      • chaiselongue1 March 21, 2012 at 14:23 #

        Thanks, I’ve done it now, and got it right the second time!

      • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 14:39 #

        Yay – now you can “flag watch” like me!

  5. thecompletecookbook March 21, 2012 at 10:42 #

    Your garden looks incredible!!! I am quite sorry I did not plant anything – I didn’t because we are still waiting to find out if we are doing a contract in Namibia, which has taken 6 months longer than expected!
    I think you did a stellar job with pups haircut – don’t think I would brave doing that.
    🙂 Mandy

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 12:17 #

      It´s unsettling if you don´t know where you are going to be. My you do have interesting lives! The haircut was hysterical with the two of us doing it (he usually goes to a professional but she´s expensive and miles away and he´s such a roughty toughty country boy, we thought we´d give him the shaggy haircut look!). Alfi was so patient and just sat there looking at us as if to say “you´ve never done this before have you”?!

  6. The Spain Scoop - Regina March 21, 2012 at 11:22 #

    What kind of dog is that curly-haired one?

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 12:14 #

      He´s a bit of a mongrel but the vet thinks he has a touch of Spanish Water Dog with some sort of terrier – he was a stray who turned up on my neighbours´doorstep and we took him in for 3 weeks while they were away and they were then going to take him to the animal shelter. That was nearly two years ago – he´s now the Little Man of the house!

  7. Bluejellybeans March 21, 2012 at 11:24 #

    Hi Tanya!
    I can see that indeed (and despite of this cold weather) spring has sprung over the huerto. I love the map thingy 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 12:17 #

      Yes, it´s snowing up your way I see today on the news – how strange! And the map is great, I´m loving seeing the news flags pop up 😉

  8. themateriallady March 21, 2012 at 11:48 #

    Looking good. I can’t grow veg in my very dark, north facing garden but I do my best with pots of herbs wherever there is a patch of sun. Sadly, that would block them for your doggies. Well done with the haircut!

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 12:22 #

      North facing is tougher, but pots of herbs always make a big difference to any garden and any dish! I didn´t really grow much apart from weeds in London 😦 Thanks for the kind words about the haircut – we may go into doggy grooming if times get tough 😉

  9. TBM March 21, 2012 at 12:38 #

    When can I come over for dinner?

  10. promenadeplantings March 21, 2012 at 12:39 #

    The veggie garden is coming on a treat, looking very smart. I was thinking along very similar lines with planting some lettuce between the garlic, so I think I will give it a try. And how much garlic? I thought I grew a lot but you guys win hands down!!

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 13:27 #

      Yes, we did get a bit carried away but we use an awful lot. I think visitors will be going back with garlic in their cases this year 😉 The lettuce in between the garlic works well, and as Big Man says “no need to add garlic to the dressing” 😉

  11. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide March 21, 2012 at 12:49 #

    So in awe of your garden!

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 13:27 #

      Looking forward to seeing yours. And I couldn´t find okra seeds in the UK so may look into ordering some 🙂

  12. gardenfreshtomatoes March 21, 2012 at 12:49 #

    Lettuce in thegarlic? What a great idea! With the garlic moved out of the main garden into a bed of it’s own, that would free-up even more space for ….peppers? Melons?
    I have to think on this!

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 13:28 #

      It seems to work well, and we should be able to harvest some soon, then when the garlic comes up in a couple of months, we´ll have a bed for some late beans or who knows what!

  13. fati's recipes March 21, 2012 at 13:11 #

    Love the flag thing! And your garden of course…. and the super awesome tiles displayed behind Luna… any updates on them grape leaves? I think dad stopped bothering with his, he’s focusing on our lemon tree, it’s given us some really good lemons so far, any tips for that one? Some of the lemons are really hard, like almost a rock-hard hardness… I think it’s 1st year of being a tree in our yard is over, only noting it because I’ve read before that the1st year for lemon trees isn’t very good…..

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 13:31 #

      I remember you liking my tiles before – I love that Little sun room and use it so much, especially in the colder months. The vines were cut right, right back in January and Big Man cut my parent´s vine right back in London last week. It´s already beginning to sprout so we should have a growth spurt soon.

      Our lemons were also hard the first year, you´re right, Year 1 is generally not good. Don´t prune it too much, maybe just the tips if it´s getting “branchy”, lots of water and then try and ignore it!

      • fati's recipes March 21, 2012 at 13:48 #

        Awesome! Thanks… yes… dad’s doing little pruning on it, not very much at all… maybe his sort of gardening? 😉

        Thanks for the advice!

  14. zestybeandog March 21, 2012 at 13:40 #

    What a great garden and CUTE pups! 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 14:34 #

      Thank you and I agree, the pups are very cute..but then, I´m biased!

  15. ChgoJohn March 21, 2012 at 13:52 #

    Yours is one very impressive garden, Tanya! Wonderful to see how much further along your plants are than those in this area. (My tomato seeds just germinated last week!) And I love that you opened your home to a stray dog. Rescue dogs are the best — even Max! You are very kind to mention what little I did to help you install the Flag Counter. You surely would have figured it out on your own. I only provided a short cut and was more than happy to do so. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 14:37 #

      Thanks so much John, but we did take shortcuts in not germinating our own seeds 😉 I agree about the dogs – both of them are rescue dogs, there are so many strays here as a lot (not all, but a lot) of folk here don´t get their animals neutered. Bad news. Anyway, we got lucky and have two mostly well behaved but very good natured “chuchos” (mutts)! And the flag counter has been a big hit – you may be getting requests for a tutorial I think! Thanks again for your help with it…

  16. Tandy March 21, 2012 at 15:08 #

    Patch is lying here looking like Luna! Hope your harvest is bountiful 🙂

  17. Mad Dog March 21, 2012 at 15:21 #

    That’s a fantastic vegetable garden – I bet I could eat your entire crop of garlic! I just had to stop myself eating an entire chorizo and large piece of delicious manchego with pan con tomate 😉

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 15:32 #

      No rationing then?! Maybe you´ll get garlic in the next goody bag 😉

      • Mad Dog March 21, 2012 at 19:47 #

        I stopped – it should last for a couple of days – thanks 😉
        I bought some tonic to go with the lemons tonight …and some gin!

      • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 19:58 #

        Perfect – cheers!

  18. JamieAnne March 21, 2012 at 15:22 #

    Happy Spring!!!!!

  19. Karen March 21, 2012 at 17:18 #

    Look at your garden…how great. How far apart do you plant your tomatoes…they look closer than when I plant mine. I love the protection that Big Man has made. It must give them extra warmth. We went to Maine this weekend to check on the cottage and we still have 6 inches of snow and ice up there. I just have to wait patiently…at least it is better than last year where there was still 3 feet on the ground.

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 17:36 #

      Good question – have just run out with my tape measure (it was to hand as I am dressmaking!). They are 33cm apart (in line with the watering system in that part of the veggie garden. Normally though (so Big Man tells me) they are in another part where they would be 40cm apart and some people plant them 60cm apart! I just told him about your apple orchard and he´s a big fan of “proper” cider, so his eyes lit up 😉 Hope that snow soon melts for you…

      • Karen March 21, 2012 at 18:34 #

        Thank you for measuring…that was so nice. I plant mine at 60cm and my husband thinks they are too close. I wish you and Big Man were our neighbors…I’d trade garlic for hard cider.

  20. Caroline March 21, 2012 at 17:49 #

    Wow, your garden is so organized and professional! Mine would look like….well, I’m not too sure, haha. But holy cow, 280 cloves of garlic!? That’s insane. Yay for spring!

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 18:02 #

      All credit to Big Man for the organisation – mind you, once it was all laid out 3 years ago with the watering system, what followed was easier! Yes 280 cloves so hopefully 280 bulbs. A little over the top but at least we´re safe from vampires 😉

  21. Rachel March 21, 2012 at 18:36 #

    I bet *your* dogs would never steal a loaf of bread… 😉 Love this gardening season! Mmmm and love the photos – thanks for sharing!

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 19:12 #

      Well, given half the chance they probably would! Glad you enjoyed the look round the veggie patch 🙂

  22. niasunset March 21, 2012 at 20:00 #

    Oh dear Chica, this post sounds so exciting, Good Luck for your Spring garden, but you can guess what fascinated me much more, they are so lovely so lovely, Blessing them all. Thank you, with my love, nia

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 20:05 #

      Ah Nia – I´d bet they´d love to meet you, they are good at making new friends!

      • niasunset March 21, 2012 at 20:22 #

        kisses for them…. 🙂

  23. TheDorsetFinca March 21, 2012 at 20:04 #

    I love your posts about el huerto – I hope you have great success this year with your growing. The flag counter below is also really fab! x

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 22:48 #

      I should do more…it´s interesting to watch the changes over the months. The flag counter is great…people seem to like it!

  24. Sawsan@ Chef in disguise March 21, 2012 at 20:37 #

    I love yor gardening posts Tanya. Watching the garden come to life must be a real joy

    • Chica Andaluza March 21, 2012 at 22:47 #

      It is a joy, and I am so much more aware of the seasons changing here than I ever was before.

  25. Diane Thorn March 21, 2012 at 23:58 #

    Hi T.
    Well I’m going to enjoy your garden from now on, as we are going into winter. I’ve never had any luck with growing garlic so my envy knows no bounds. Your lettuces are well organised too. My heritage lettuces are self seeded and just come up all over the place – even on the gravel parking space.

    • Chica Andaluza March 22, 2012 at 09:42 #

      Hi Diane how lovely to hear from you! Love the sound of your lettuce springing up all over the place – bet it´s delicious 🙂 Take care, Tanya

  26. peasepudding March 22, 2012 at 13:06 #

    That is an impressive veggie garden and I sure that isn’t much garlic when one lives in Spain. Hmmm now I want a flag counter!

    • Chica Andaluza March 22, 2012 at 14:30 #

      Thank you. And yes, we do use a LOT of garlic here 🙂

  27. Just A Smidgen March 22, 2012 at 13:50 #

    I just adore your garden.. are those watering pipes in the bed, or are they marking the different plants and veggies? I have to say I adore your pups.. I feel just the same this morning.. we have snow (why now?? it’s spring?? where are da birdies??) and I want to bury my head back under the covers…

    • Chica Andaluza March 22, 2012 at 14:31 #

      Yes, they´re watering pipes and we have them set up on a timer for the summer to water at night when it´s cooler. The pups are a delight, always keep us entertained. Do hope Spring starts to show its face for you soon!

      • Just A Smidgen March 22, 2012 at 15:05 #

        Thank you, me too:) Wishing hasn’t made it so… yet!

  28. Purely.. Kay March 22, 2012 at 21:30 #

    Hey.. I don’t think that’s a lot of garlic lol. Maybe it’s just me lol. And just look at that cutie pie of a dog of yours.. so cute

    • Chica Andaluza March 22, 2012 at 21:40 #

      I´m sure we´ll use it – it´s a staple here like bread (and wine!). Glad you liked the dog 😉

  29. dotdos March 23, 2012 at 03:49 #

    ¡Qué buena pinta tiene todo! Y Luna fantástica 😉

    • Chica Andaluza March 23, 2012 at 08:39 #

      Muchísimas gracias – tenemos mucha esperanza este año para una cosecha buena! Y si, Luna es muy mona 😉

  30. ....RaeDi March 25, 2012 at 20:47 #

    T you and Big Man have been busy! The garden is lovely and I am sure to bring you lots of delicious fresh food… I want a dog so bad! Yours are so cute, I love the hair cut! I too want a map, that would be so fun to watch and see where all the people who have come to visit… It is amazing!

    • Chica Andaluza March 26, 2012 at 09:56 #

      This post was popular, I think people enjoyed seeing the garden. But yes, the stars were the pooches 😉

  31. PendleStitches March 27, 2012 at 10:52 #

    Your garden is amazing. Your pups are adorable. The Husband has promised me he’ll build me raised vegetable beds at the back of the garage this year. Next yeat we’ll have a little crop too. I can’t wait!

    • Chica Andaluza March 27, 2012 at 12:42 #

      Raised beds are brilliant – some of our flower beds are slightly raised and they are so much easier to dog over and weed!

      • PendleStitches March 27, 2012 at 13:13 #

        That’s what I thought…and it’s a wasted space at the moment so it will put it to good use.

  32. Marissa April 3, 2012 at 02:29 #

    Beautiful garden! Spring makes me want to get some plants too, but it’s going to have to be indoor plants for now. I love the nonsensical nursery rhyme. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza April 3, 2012 at 12:40 #

      Thank you Marissa – we´re very lucky to have that space, we really enjoy working on it and then enjoying the fruits of our labours!

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