BY the month end late summer harvests will be bountiful and Spain’s ‘second spring’ just a month away. It’s time to decide what vegetables and herbs to plant for autumn, winter or spring consumption. New gardeners in Spain will be amazed by the possibilities for Christmas day:
Broccoli/brussels sprouts: plant seeds early, plant plantlets in October or buy at that time.
Potatoes: keep old potatoes in a warm dark place to stimulate growth before planting out.
Non-storing onions: sow seeds in September, plant plantlets October/December.
Garlic: plant corms in November/December.
Carrots/parsnips: sow seeds from September.
Beetroot: September to October.
Radishes: sow seeds October to December.
Broad Beans: October to December.
Peas: November to December.
Lettuces and cut-and-come-again seed mixes: sow seeds September to October, plant plantlets as soon as you see any.
Agretti: sow seeds in September/October.
Wondering what agretti is? Illustrated above right it came up in one of my builder’s buckets it tastes like a cross between young spinach and samphire. I explored further and found:
• It’s also known as land seaweed, friars beard, saltwort and Salsola soda.
• It’s full of the energy of spring
• Vast quantities were burned in Spain and Italy in glass and soap making until a modern alternative was found in the 19th century.
• It became a niche peasant food in Italy.
• It’s recently been rediscovered and used in restaurants in Italy and the UK and made popular in TV cooking programmes.
• It’s tasty eaten drizzled with fine olive oil and lemon or in a tart.
• Seed stocks are low in UK and Italy.
When we wrote ‘Growing Healthy Vegetables in Spain’ we had successfully grown 110 types of vegetables here in Spain. Some we liked better than others and I have now added Agretti.
In the autumn I’ll look for a couple of veggies I’ve never eaten and will grow and trial them. Hopefully I will find another gem.
(c) Dick Handscombe – www.gardenspain.com