November 5th  is now past us and now it is the time for bright autumn gardens to cheer us up and temp us into chiller morning gardens to do essential prunings and dead-headings to encourage colourful Christmas gardens. Having been away for a few days seeing  a number of friends gardens and giving a talk to the Costa Blanca Gardening Circle The two photographs show what greeted me this morning . Firstly the view across the mid garden along the rockery when going to feed the fish in the fish pound just off the photo to the left and secondly the view through the kitchen window when changing the water covering the olives being prepared for pickling.

Hopefully nature will be kind this year with no early frosts and the salvias at present taller than the olive tree will be still in flower at Christmas. It is amazing how just a couple of spring type showers breaking the long drought and heavy morning dews have brought on autumn gardens. Unseen in the photographs winter and spring bulbs are well above the soil and a large clump of crocuses normally out in January are already in full bloom and two of the collection of bottle brushes, Castemons, are flowering for the third time this year. If you wonder what the net is in the photo it is an aviary build around an apricot tree for a collection of interesting birds which were in their adjoining shed at the time.

So once this article is emailed to EWN I am out into the garden to do some pruning and weed the fast growing vegetable seedlings and plantlets. Today’s breakfast salad includes lettuce, garlic chives, young garlic and radish shoots, rocket, purslane, chichory,  a broccoli leaf, a couple of young onions, two young carrots, nasturtium leaves and flowers, a mini red pepper and one of the last two tomatoes. The mix is not only colourful and freshly harvested but also chemical free and healthy.


These are grown in a number of raised beds and my ten-tub builders bucket vegetable plot as illustrated on page 61 of our still well selling book Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain’.

It is not too late to start to do the same this year as many markets have a vegetable plant stall and some vegetables such as carrots and radishes have low germination temperatures.

There is more about what we grow in the book ‘Living well from our garden –Mediterranean style’ which will also be available in Spanish later in the month, like the other books from Amazon Books.

If you are concerned about the quality of soil and composts that you have for growing vegetables go to the garden centre and purchase some bags of  soil based compost and sacks of worm compost, then search out your local Agricultural Coperative and buy some inexpensive sacks of dried goat or sheep manure. Mix these up to fill some black builders buckets first making an inch round drainage hole in the bottom, or mix into a few square metres of the garden and you will ready to plant up an immediately productive mini vegetable garden and enjoy delicious salads by Christmas. I must now go off to eat today’s breakfast salad topped with some blue rosemary flowers for colour and energy f



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