The first two years was like an apprenticeship, especially vegetable growing in Portugal; this is exposed to quite different climatic conditions and the soil composition, which is totally different from back home.
Our land consist more on red clay and stones, which is ideal for trees as in dry season the humidity conserve well and the top layer soil is closed like a cement. But for some vegetables like salad, carrots, potatoes, spinach etc., this is very hard to remove weeds plus the water does not flow in easily.
Our first year gardening was a disappointment as we only harvested tomatoes and chillies; therefore we decided to build four garden raised beds with dark soil and incorporated automatic water system. As well as planting them in the right time.
Thanks to our garden activities documentation, we now have certainty of what successful vegetables that grow in this environment and every day we are so delighted to have fresh salad, cabbages and seasonal vegetable like aubergines, pumpkin, onion, garlic, potatoes, Swiss Chard, green peas, capsicum, cucumber, courgette, chilli, melons, fennel and also herbs.
Unfortunately, our predecessors did not plant any fruit trees. To be successful in planting a tree in this area is very difficult, due to the heat during the summer months. Young trees need a lot of water, fertilizer and care. Also we have to look back some issues we had experience. A fence with two wooden posts is not enough to stop our sheep from pressing the fence with their head and eating each green leaf from the tree. Gaining this knowledge has surely reverted the growth progress or our orange trees by two years. In the first two years we have planted our 25 different fruit trees near the house and in the garden, these are apples, peaches, figs, chestnuts, kiwis, cherries, pears, oranges, lemons, blackberries, apricots. Normally, we have planted a pair per fruit tree. Did you know that a kiwi tree will have fruit only if you planted a masculine and feminine tree?
© Tapada Do Peral
Estrada Municipal 555
6005-250 Mata, Portugal