Sunday, 18 August 2013

A Late Summers Day

The buddleja is in full bloom, along with the oregano, carrots and mint and with the warm sun on them, the air is full of scents and alive with the humming of bees. Five minutes in the garden with a camera and I saw too many butterflies to count, bees of all kinds and sizes and several humming bird hawk moths.
Most of the butterflies will not stay still for long enough for me to identify them but there are lots in all shapes and sizes. Since I have been here I have deliberately been planting bee friendly and wildlife plants to provide both nectar and food for the caterpillars.
This one did sit still for me to get a good picture, it is a swallowtail butterfly, incredibly rare in the UK but more common here. They are very large and eyecatching.
This is a painted lady butterfly, I also saw peacocks and many others of all shapes, sizes and colours that I couldn't identify.

There were also several humming bird hawk moths,once seen never forgotten. Humming loudly they look just like humming birds but their wings move so fast, and they dart so quickly they are very difficult to photograph.
This is a picture of one I found on the internet showing you some of the detail.
I think I might be the luckiest person on earth as I seem to have found the garden of eden.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Seed Saving

It is that time of the year where I save seed for next years crops. It is one of the most rewarding activities I do and the precious seed is more valuable than gold to me. The recent attempts by the multinational corporations such as Monsanto to make the selling of unregistered seeds illegal in Europe, highlights how precious the seed is. The more local strains and varieties we have, the more likely it is that they will be able to adapt to climate change and the diseases proliferated by a monoculture mentality of modern industrial agriculture.
The carrot flowers are very beautiful and attract beneficial insects into the garden.
I love rainbow chard and the flowers have turned into seed heads. I am waiting for the to dry so I can save them.
It has been my experience that fresh parsnip seeds germinate much better than old ones and you can't beat a roast parsnip.
A wide availability of seeds mean that I can choose species from anywhere in the world to see if they suit the Galician climate by trial and error. Here my Achocha is growing well. This year I am trying Exploding Cucumbers, Amaranth, Quinoa, Field Beans and Water Melon, to name a few. If they grow well and taste good I will try to save seed and grow them again next year.

My developing forest garden will also be stocked with a wide variety of perennial plants from all over the world to ensure I have a bio-diverse and robust ecosystem growing, able to resist the worst that the changing climate can throw at it. In any one year some plants will thrive and some will struggle, I am spreading my bets making me less dependent on any one crop.
This year is looking good for pears so far and the apples are not far behind.