Tag Archives: garden

Abundance in the huerta

The huerta is at its messiest now as unpicked veggies bolt and plants get leggy. There are still veggies to be picked however, tomatoes are lingering beneath heavy branches collapsed onto the earth.

Tomatoes the size of small melons, which make excellent tomato sauce, squirrelled away in the freezer for a winter’s day when we long for the warmth of a summer day. Wrinkled, over-ripe vegetables are piled up, destined for Pablo’s pigs. Once the last vegetable is picked, the huerta will be ploughed into the earth again and so the cycle leading to next summer’s vegetables begins.

5 to remember
en su más sucio – at its messiest
zanquilargo – leggy
arrugado – wrinkled
ser arado – to be ploughed
el ciclo – the cycle

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Overflowing with abundance: the veggie patch in September #secretvalley #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-27i

After the almond harvest

I didn’t know, did you, that the almond nut is actually called a ‘drupe’ which grows from the tree’s fertilised flowers. The drupe has a leathery hull which surrounds the nut, furry, giving it the look of an unripe peach. When this outer husk dries and splits, it is time to harvest the almonds which for us is August.

I remember our first time in Spain, waking up early one August morning to a knocking sound in the distant hills. Mystified, we got out the binoculars and watched two men in an orchard. They were behaving oddly, knocking the trees with long sticks. I now realize that the method for harvesting almonds is similar to that of olives: spread a tarpaulin or net beneath the tree, whack the tree with a stick so the nuts fall.

Harvest here is over for the year, a few drupes still hang on the trees as a reminder that we missed a few.

Try these recipes featuring almonds:-
Hybrid Crumble
A Super Green Salad
Rice Pudding with Almonds

5 to remember
un casco – a hull
correoso – leathery
es tiempo de – it is time to
los binoculares – the binoculars
desconcertado – mystified

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
After the almond #harvest in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-275

Asparagus field… gone to seed

Ever wondered what an asparagus field looks like when the crop is finished? This is it. Fronds of fern-like, feathery leaves, which look more at home in a florist’s vase than in a farmer’s field past its best.

Done right, a farmer should only have to plant an asparagus field once. Once planted, that is the only crop for that field. Which means yield is very important. At least one year must pass before the crop is harvested. The first thing you notice is the spears, poking out of the brown earth like green fingers. Once the crop is finished, the plants will continue growing, up to 3-4ft by summer.

5 to remember
la cosecha – the crop
las frondas – the fronds
plumoso/a – feathery
una floristería – a florist
un jarrón – a vase

Aubergines of many colours

Until we started to grow them, I had no idea aubergines varied in colour so much. Most of all I like their purple glossiness, hanging heavy amongst large green leaves. I could do without the prickles though! No matter the colour, the taste is the same.

5 to remember
hasta – until
me gusta – I like
entre – amongst
las espinas – the prickles
lo mismo – the same

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Aubergines don’t just come in purple #vegetables in #Spain via @Spanish_Valley http://wp.me/p3dYp6-1O7

Yellow autumn

What colour do you see when you think of autumn? For me, here in Spain, it is all shades of yellow. The first leaves to take on a hint of yellow are the walnut trees. The delicate fronds in the asparagus fields turn next. Then suddenly every tree has yellowing leaves, fading golden, falling to dust. The wind has the last say.

5 to remember
para mi – for me
delicado/a – delicate
las frondas – the fronds
amarillamiento – yellowing
el viento – the wind

Aliens… lichen

Is it just me or do lichens look like something dropped, or dripped, down from outer space?

They look like plants, but aren’t plants. A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria, or both, living among filaments of a fungus in a symbiotic relationship. Some have tiny leafless branches or flat leaf-like structures, others look like flaking paint. Just to confuse things, they often grow through moss but lichens are not related to any moss or plant. They grow on almost any surface, most often on bark, leaves, mosses or other lichens, even hanging from branches. Some lichens grow on bare rock, gravestones, roofs, exposed soil surfaces and walls, but they are not parasites.

It is estimated that 6% of the world’s surface is covered by lichen. And I thought there was a lot in the valley. It is beautiful.

Oh, and just in case you didn’t know how to pronounce it… we English say lichen rhyming with ‘kitchen’. The American pronunciation is ‘liken’.

5 to remember
caído – dropped
goteado – dripped
el espacio sidereal – the outer space
el liquen – the lichen
el musgo – the moss

What’s that?

It is definitely a plant, but is it edible? I think it looks rather like kale, the vegetable. #8 mistle thistle 14-4-155 to remember
¿Qué es eso? – What’s that?
seguro – definitely
¿lo es?¿is it?
comestible – edible
la col rizada – the kale

Answer: Mistle thistle. April 14, 2015