Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

Lots in flower.  April, in general, was very warm and dry.

A good year for iris, which are some of my favorites.

Don Juan is the first rose to bloom.

Oddly this year, first came the daffs, then some tulips, then the crocus, and now more tulips.

Seeds update.  Great germination from the sweet peas, also the calima bush beans were almost 100%.  Some of the squash are up and getting true leaves.  But the tomatoes have barely made an appearance, the peppers not looking spry, and nothing on the tomatillos or the indigo.  Have since sown more indigo, cucumbers, zucchini/courgettes, herbs and flowers.

In the garden, my neighbor gave me a sack of sprouted potatoes so they went in.  I checked the early reds and found only a very few with eyes showing, so I replanted those and composted the rest.  So much for early.

Onions planted last weekend.  Mostly the local ¨chata¨ which are a little squat, but great keepers,  and some regular Spanish onions too.

Peas are up, lettuce thinned twice.  You can see the nasturtiums that overwintered on the wall. I´ve tried transplanting volunteer seedlings, but they all seem to die.

Breo ¨helped¨ thin the carrots, so they´re uneven but coming along.  No sign of anything resembling a line of parsnips.  Seriously considering planting peppers here and trying the parsnips again early fall.

Ripe strawberries.  Two of them!  That´s one more than I got last year.  Birds must be busy doing something else this year.

And the currants are showing fruit!  Is that early?

Found ants had set up housekeeping in the bagged soil.  Made some worm tea for the seedlings. 

Hoping to get the panels for tomatoes up this weekend. Scapes on the garlic have to be cut and made into something delish.

In ¨Sprung¨ news, Breo has been limping on and off since January so we finally took him to the animal hospital in Lugo for x-rays and a diagnosis.  We´re told he has a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in his knee (ACL).  This is apparently quite common in large, active dogs.  He´s taking anti-inflamatories.  Surgery is expensive, but left alone the joint will get arthritic and since he´s only 4, that hardly seems fair.  So, he´s scheduled for surgery in May and we will have to think of ways of keeping him absolutely quiet, no jumping on furniture, no racing to bark at tractors or passersby.  Any suggestions would be welcome.


  1. Hi, Coco!

    You have been a busy bee! Your flowers are ahead of ours, but we seem to be on an equal footing with the veg. No strawberries here yet; our harvest is usually about the same as yours last year - 2. Slugs and chipmunks, mostly. I discouraged the slugs quite a bit by putting scratchy straw around each plant.

    Do they grow tomatillos in Spain? I am trying my first ones this year (I love that sauce). They look really good so far. I am going to plant a few more potatoes even though it's so late as there are a bunch of sprouted ones in the pantry.

    I didn't have a Breo help thin my carrots (well, I didn't plant any . . .), but my neighbor's Golden Retriever got into the garden through an unrepaired hole in the fence (it was a pretty big hole!) and helped thin a bunch of my flower seedlings. I figured out it was Murphy because of those interestingly large footprints.

    Now that I think of it I believe that my parents' dog had the same injury that Breo has. They kept an eye on her limp for a few months, too, and it just didn't go away. She was a Siberian Husky, large and rambunctious like Breo. Kiki had surgery for it and was just fine.


  2. Hi Pam,

    No, there aren´t any tomatillos here, so I´m really eager to grow some! Last year I tipped the tray of seedlings and this year they are a no-show so far. Most frustrating.

    From what I read, the ligament tear is quite common. The surgery sounds horrible, but has a high success rate, so there we are. Unfortunately, about half of the dogs that get the surgery blow out their other knee, so we´ll see.

  3. Hi Coco,

    Good luck with Breo and the fluffy collective sends warm regards and well wishes for a speedy recovery. I have it on good advice (i.e. the fluffy collective), that keeping quiet is perhaps something for other less active dogs. I hope it turns out well.

    Your garden is looking superb and thanks for sharing the flower shots. Irises do well here too, but your rose is something else indeed as it is a stunning colour! Incidentally, the last photo of the currant looks spot on to me. They usually ripen here about Christmas to early New years (of course everything is upside down here). Is it a black, red or white currant? It is hard to tell early on, but you know, it might just be a gooseberry or jostaberry too, as they all look very similar - especially early in the season. They are so easy to propagate too. The seedlings are looking great too. I assume you bring them inside at night? Sometimes I don't depending on what sort of year it is.

    Unfortunately, everything likes strawberries, so you have done well getting those two (which look very tasty). I've had no luck ever with parsnips so if you have any tips on growing them, I'd love to hear of them? I'd go the peppers.



  4. Thanks Chris,

    No luck here on parsnips, either. I have more in the packet, so I might sow some in September and see what happens.

    Don Juan is beautiful, and smells good too!

    There´s a red and a black currant. Not sure which is which at this point.

    Started putting up the posts for the tomato trellis yesterday, and have managed to arrange for the second set to exactly coincide with a recently transplated rose. Unbelievable. Lesson to self, start with the critical end. How much space to you allow between rows? Do you plant both sides of the trellis?

  5. Hi Coco,

    Well I sort of messed up the spacing between the rows of tomatoes this past summer, so I'm planning to revisit that in May when I remove the remaining tomatoes and vines. The beds were too wide and the walking path was too narrow. So the upshot is that I have no answer for you. Incidentally, for next season, I'm planning to use plastic trellis on either side of the vines rather than the chicken wire, which to be honest was not a good idea as the steel cut me on several occasions. I haven't tried using a single trellis because that requires be to thread the vines through the trellis. When the vines are contained between two fences, they look after themselves. I only tried that arrangement this past summer and it seems to have worked. And at a guess, I reckon the beds will end up being about 40cm (although I'm still in trial mode), whilst the walking paths in between those need to be about 50cm.

    Yup, lots of lessons are learned! I hear you.

    Cheers. Chris

  6. Well, one of the trellises may have to be angled, which will drive me mad visually, but there it is.

    Then, what to do with the squashes. Never ends, does it?

  7. I've had no luck ever with parsnips so if you have any tips on growing them, I'd love to hear of them? I'd go the peppers.