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O Meu Jardim

This year I’ve been learning more about gardening – or learning how much I’ve already learnt about gardening here in Portugal.

I’ve learnt that I have a compulstion to create gardens wherever I go, which has meant that in the last 18 months I’ve made gardens in five locations.

The garden I have now is at Quinta da Forja, and although it’s tiny in comparison to the garden I had at Quinta das Abelhas, it’s giving plenty of produce – every day I’m harvesting green beans, tomatoes, courgettes, and peppers. Yesterday we ate (in the garden) the first meal produced entirely from the garden (apart from a little maize flour in the courgette fritters, and the olive oil to fry them which came from the neighbours).

The garden at Quinta da Forja
The garden at Quinta da Forja

The garden is also giving me immense joy. It’s only today that I’ve realised it’s the proof and the product of all that I’ve learnt over the last 12 years, and in particular what I’ve learnt about companion planting. The beds are filled with a mixture of different plants and I love delving amongst them to see what fruits I can find – no matter how much I look there always seems to be a surprise (yesterday I discovered a GIANT tomato, and an unidentified and very unusual flower whose origins I am not sure of – did I plant it, was it a gift from the neighbour, or something self-seeded?)

The garden: two main beds centre, with a narrow bed to the left, and another at the top, small tomato bed top right

Looking at my kitchen table at breakfast-time this morning, I also realised the abundance that is possible just from a small patch of land.  The plate of tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, and the green beans, are what I am harvesting daily at the moment, before everything really gets going! The marrow was the result of going away for a week.

Jars of chutney I made yesterday, pancakes made with eggs from the neighbour waiting to be spread with home-made wild cherry jam from earlier in the year, a pile of pears (another gift from the neighbour) and my daily garden harvest.

I’d really like to encourage anyone who only has a small patch of land to start growing in it, you’ll be surprised at how much you can produce.  And if you have a property in Portugal then you are pretty-much guaranteed gifts from the neighbours, and if you still don’t feel like you have abundance then there is fantastic local produce for sale very cheaply at the markets – it’s worth buying whatever is in season to make your own preserves for the winter (much better than buying tins of tomatoes from the supermarket!).



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