Alicante, on Costa Blanca, is one of my favourite spots in Spain.
We didn’t get to visit last year and it looks unlikely that we’ll get to sit in its cafes any time soon, so I’ve brought a flavour of it to my kitchen windowsill where a couple of Alicante tomatoes are waiting to go into the greenhouse.
This is one of the most popular varieties for gardeners to grow and with good reason, it’s what’s known as a “good doer”, which means that it is tasty and reliable.
I’m all for trying new things, but it is worth making space for the tried-and-tested too so that you’ll have a crop that you can count on. Watering tomatoes hasn’t been an issue while temperatures have remained low, but once things start to warm up again you will have to make sure that the plants don’t dry out.
When this happens the skins can become tough or, in some cases, they may split.
If we finally do get a warm spell then weeds will pop up fast on veg plots and allotments. The two that really worry gardeners most are ground elder and mare’s tail.
Both can quickly colonise every available scrap of ground and they are both equally hard to remove.
If you don’t want to try chemical control, then probably the best solution is to just keep hoeing off all the foliage as this should eventually weaken the roots. It won’t happen in one season and you’ll probably never get rid of the problem completely, but persistent hoeing over time will have an effect.
If you’ve recently taken over an allotment that’s heavily infested with weeds and you don’t want to miss a growing season, then rather than growing directly it may be better to lay a physical barrier over the soil and grow on top of this.
This might not be practical for potatoes and carrots, which need a good depth of soil, but for many herbs and salads a low raised bed will provide them with enough growing space.
What’s in bloom?
The geums that flower for a short time in late spring are cousins of our native water avens, a plant that enjoys partial shade and damp soil. Hybrid varieties, such as Geum “totally tangerine”, have also started to bloom and these will keep on going until late autumn.
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