In this last of our ongoing ULTIMATE GUIDE Veggie Gardening we will walk with you step by step through the making of a backyard herb and vegetable patch in a Mallorcan garden that will not just give you bragging rights, but also save you money!
“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.” – William Blake
We’ve done it. We’ve reached the ultimate moment where we can now look back and learn from both the victories and defeats of our backyard raised garden experiment. Here’s what we came away with.
What We’d Do Differently #
This was our first foray into raised bed gardens, so we were bound to make some errors. Fortunately, none were too disastrous, and all we hope can be rectified next time.
First, never underestimate the ability of tomato plants to grow to abnormally towering heights and to spread out like a cat in a patch of sunshine. We put in 3 or 4 (I can’t remember and as they are as thick as a jungle I can’t tell where one ends and another begins) and they were slow starters, as they are heat and solar-loving things. But once they started to flower in June, there has been no stopping their prolific output. Because I’m a tomato fiend, I’m in heaven, but I can see a time in the not-too-distant where one more tomato salad, gazpacho, or pasta sauce “treat” will be one too many. Lesson learned. Next year we'll plant two plants on opposite sides of the raised bed and will keep a good eye on them.
Second, not all herbs like to grow together, nor do they like the same conditions. Our coriander started off amazing and petered out before May came to a close. Thyme likes its personal space and goes brown if it’s being crowded out. Those kind of rookie mistakes won’t be repeated.
Third, salad greens make an early appearance and disappear. We had a deluge of greens for a few months, then nothing. Next time, we will plant when we did now, and remove them as soon as they slow down to make way for something else that likes hotter days and grows fast.
Last but not least… (deep breath)…my husband is an over-waterer. There. I said it. He is obsessed with watering and in some cases too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing. We went away for three weeks and the person who was meant to come water clearly did not do so regularly, but that forced drought really made a difference in some of the plants. The tomatoes are no longer cracking, for example and the peppers have gone from being stunted to growing beautifully. So next year, I’m going to try and impose a watering schedule as well as planting plants that need more water or less water together, so that I can set hubby loose on the thirsty plants whilst protecting the others from his enthusiasm.
What We’d Do the Same or Try to Replicate #
My bug-bear has always been basil, but this year, miraculously, it has prospered beyond my wildest dreams. I am now putting this down to the few weeks with little water and will make sure that this is protocol from now on.
We also did well with cucumbers, despite not really placing them where they could spread out well, an easy adjustment for next year. We’ve had a bumper crop that have been both tasty and juicy.
Tomatoes, well you already know! They were put in the above category, not because they weren’t a success, but because there were too many planted too closely. The tomatoes themselves have been nothing short of delicious. The best have been the small yellow ones, with a sweet taste and not a hint of bitterness. The dark red cherry tomatoes have also been good, and the larger varietal which I only know as “on-the-vine”, are ripening in waves as we speak.
So there we have it. The good, bad and ugly of our Mallorcan raised bed garden experience. It has been and continues to be great fun and great for learning how to grow in this Mediterranean climate. We will definitely plant a winter garden in autumn, will keep you posted on that then!
#Mallorca #vegetablegardenMallorca #growitathome #growityourself #homegrownvegetables #backyardgardens #raisedbedgardens #mediterraneanclimate
By Stephanie Horsman
30 July, 2019