Wednesday, March 27, 2019
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  • Early Autumn is the time to prepare for the rains in central Portugal. Read More
  • Garden fires can be very dangerous in hot countries, like Portugal, but are also very necessary, but the time for burning is controlled. Read More
  • Olives appear on tables in restaurants and when visiting friends; olive trees can be seen everywhere especially in rural areas and olive oil is used liberally in Portuguese cooking. Read More
  • Take it with a pinch of Salt? Read More
  • To The Bitter End ? Read More
  • The term ‘Black Market’ is widely used all over the world, all with a similar meaning refering to the illegal, undeclared economies and trades. But what is the origin of the term? Read More
  • Things to do in February in your Vegetable Garden in Portugal Read More

In The Garden

  • Na Horta (In the Veg Garden) - February +

    Na Horta (In the Veg Garden) - February Things to do in February in your Vegetable Garden in Portugal Read More
  • Na Horta (In The Veg Garden) November +

    Na Horta (In The Veg Garden) November Things to do in November in your Veg Garden in Portugal. Read More
  • Garden Fires in Portugal +

    Garden Fires in Portugal Garden fires can be very dangerous in hot countries, like Portugal, but are also very necessary, but the time for Read More
  • Prepare for Autumn Rain +

    Prepare for Autumn Rain Early Autumn is the time to prepare for the rains in central Portugal. Read More
  • Everything You Wanted to Know about Composting in Portugal +

    Everything You Wanted to Know about Composting in Portugal Composting is the purposeful biodegradation (rotting) of organic matter, such as garden and food waste.  Read More
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Delights of Transport

  • The Use Of Car Indicators in Portugal +

    The Use Of Car Indicators in Portugal There is a lot of consternation, concern and frustration from Expats over the use of car indicators in Portugal. We Read More
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Something's Cooking

  • Grilled Sardines with Lemon and Oregano +

    Grilled Sardines with Lemon and Oregano These could be served as a starter or main course and are a flavourful alternative to the normal Portuguese style Read More
  • Beer Bread +

    Beer Bread This is the quickest, simplest bread you will ever make! It is a typical South African bread and tastes great. Read More
  • Pancakes - English or American +

    Pancakes - English or American Simple recipes for thin English style pancakes and thick, small American / Scotch pancakes. You choose. Read More
  • 5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake +

    5 Minute Chocolate Mug Cake A simple and delicious Chocolate cake for one person, that you can make in only 5 minutes.This is the most Read More
  • Texas Smokey Barbecue Sauce +

    Texas Smokey Barbecue Sauce This makes a quick, authentic Smokey BBQ Sauce perfect for summer dining. You put it on anything meat or vegetarian Read More
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Things to do in December and January in your Vegetable garden in central Portugal.

There might not be much snow in Central Portugal but freezing temperatures there certainly can be on higher ground. However, clear blue skies and golden hues can make this one of the nicest times of year to be out in the veg patch, when its not raining.

  • One of the main concerns is the frost over the winter period. Water bottles cut in half can be put over any seedlings you may have growing now and even the most basic plastic wrapped frames protect half-hardy plants. Citrus trees are very vulnerable – three or four wooden poles covered with bubblewrap will certainly help the smaller ones. Bubblewrap is also great for wrapping round terracotta pots if these can’t be moved to a sheltered spot. Protect delicate cauliflower heads by covering them with their leaves.

  • Winter is a great time to do some physical exercise! If you want more beds for next year dig the ground over now (removing perennial weeds) and then cover with cardboard or layers of paper. (A great way of dealing with Christmas packaging!) Wet these thoroughly if there’s no rain on the horizon and, if possible, cover with grass cuttings. Come February / March all the cardboard and grass will have almost disappeared and they’ll be ready for sowing.

  • We are attempting the ‘no-dig’ way – letting the worms do the work for us. Any empty beds are covered with compost preventing weeds from growing and which slowly works its way down improving texture and nutrients.

  • Just because all the leaves may have fallen off your straggly vines doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a good time to prune. Keep an eye out for what the locals are up to as it varies in different areas; ours are not cut until early spring.

  • Remember the wild life! Don’t start too many bonfires; keep a pile of any logs or cut-off branches to one side for hibernating hedgehogs etc. Toads love a large pile of leaves. And don’t rake up and dispose of the fallen olives, the birds love those!

  • This time of year is always one of reflection. Think about starting a gardening diary - it’s a great way to record dates, successes and failures. Don’t be put off though with a bad year for one crop, have another go and compare the outcome – you may be pleasantly surprised. With crop rotation in mind, and if you’ve quite a few beds like us, a plan of what’s been growing where is a good idea.

  • Finally, sit down with a seed catalogue (and your plan!) and dream about next year’s veg patch. Happy growing for the year ahead!

na horta_dec_jan

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