Second Spring

I loved September when we lived in the UK.  The change of colours, the harvest, the hedgerow fruits, foraging for wild food and the making of jams and jellies, pickles and preserves.  Here in Spain Autumn is less like autumn and more like a Second Spring.  In fact the locals here call it Secundo Primavera.

Experiments in drying of fruit and making of jellies are the order of the day and will be featured on the Food from the Finca site pronto.

Almost the instant that September arrived the cooler breezes came too.  The searing summer heat dropped a little and we have had a couple of thunderstorms and good drenchings of rain to make everyone (including the veggie garden) feel fresher.  It is still warm, we are averaging temperatures in the early 20'sC and being able to get out into the garden to work at any time during the day without regard to the sun comes as a bit of a shock.

We gathered up the last of our figs and bagged them only to find out that we need to sort them before taking to the Co-operative.  Our painstaking efforts were corrected by a friendly Spanish neighbour who showed us how quick and simple sorting could be... we now have four bags of Good figs and two bags of Bad figs.  We are waiting on a phone call from the Co-operative to tell us when to bring them down.

Planting timetables here in Spain are quite different from what I am used to in the UK so we are guided by the plug plants available in the garden centres.  If they are selling them then it must be time to plant them.  So I have planted lettuce and broccoli and cauliflower, which hopefully will be producing in time for Christmas.

We started a new compost heap and are determined to be a bit more serious about the composting.  The soil needs huge improvement if we are to continue to grow our own veg.  I say IF because we have had doubts on this one.  The summer heat was so intense and the daily watering an onerous chore and the resulting vegetables were not, I have to admit it, great.  The fault is definitely with the paucity of the soil.  A quest for manure has been started but is meeting with little success.  The best we can do is compost everything possible and look for an ecological preparatory feed to spread about the garden.

In other news:  The little black Castilian hens escaped and were so difficult to catch that we decided to just let them be.  So they are now free range.  That makes three cockerels and three hens loose on the finca - clearly a cull is in order.  Not as bad as you might think.  We still have plans to make an enclosure for the Castilians as we would like to keep the breed pure if possible, which means only one cockerel has to go to the pot.  We are buying another couple of bog standard brown hens later this week for eggs - I do miss my home grown eggs.

The geese are getting fat(ter) and the first will be culled at Michaelmas which is September 29th and traditionally is the earliest you can eat a goose... its called a green goose when you eat it this early.  The other 4 will be kept until nearer Christmas before culling.  Long term we are questioning continuing with the geese, they are a lot of work during the summer months when there is no running water on the finca.

And finally.... the olive harvest approaches (beginning December) and we are looking for volunteers to come help with the harvest.  Hardy outdoorsey types required - its very physical work.  As always we guarantee good food and an experience.


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