Monthly Archives: March 2014

Spring, glorious spring! Part Two


I’m expecting to receive half a kilo of buckwheat in seeds mid-April, so I’ll have another field planted with buckwheat which not only thrives in poor soil, but flowers and attracts bees.

It must be a Russian thing because Alex hates buckwheat with a passion, but I love eating it.Β  πŸ™‚

As for bees, we decided to wait till next year to get them. There is just so much to plant right now, our heads are spinning. We don’t think we are ready.

There are a lot more things to plant, so much that we don’t know what to do first. I change my mind frequently during the day, and I’m sure Alex feels the same.


There are so many gorgeous wild flowers around the quinta, that this evening I did what I always dreamed of – went and collected a bunch of them!

There were wild lupins, fragrant lavender, a small iris, cambions (?), two types of legume-ish flowers and god only knows what else. If you know their names, please let me know. I’m a total novice at this.

However, I DO know how to arrange my bouquets after years of helping Alex in his flower boutique, and this was pure pleasure, folks! πŸ™‚ Put a huge grin on both our faces.


Thanks to Wendy‘s updates on FB,Β  I managed to find wild sorrel on our quinta, and combined withΒ  chickweed and cress it made for a lovely filling for pasta.

I’ve tried a different recipe for donuts, and it worked much better! It was also much quicker to make.

Other projects

Alex cleared out a space near the kitchen

There must have been over a thousand tiles in total! He plans to build a shed to stock wood in and a space to keep geese and hopefully other birds when we get them.

Me and the cockerel George made our peace (I think). Alex told me I had to “dominate” him,so I literally had to jump on him and hold him down next time he attacked me, getting pinched in the process and scraping my knee. Then I walked around with him, stroking him in the process, and now it looks like much of his aggression to me is gone. Although I keep my stick with me just in case!


We had a lovely night with a barbecue at our place with our friends.

Alex cooked Thai pork dish (kao kha moo), we also had homemade foccacia from Erica and Leo, and lots of steaks from Ben!

We stayed out for a long time drinking wine under the stars, listening to frogs and crickets (and cockerel crowing at night because we were making too much noise!), and it was gorgeous.

Ben reciprocated the other night, and everyone got together in his place for the first time. He doesn’t have any livable amenities yet, but we sat around a huge bonfire

It was at least a couple of meters in diameter!

while a trio of guitarists played Pink Floyd under the stars. It was surreal…

I think this is it so far.

I keep meaning to update the blog more often, but I haven’t got into the habit yet, so once a month it is.

Hugs and ciao!

Spring, Glorious Spring!


It’s warm, people! Like the weather in its plus twenties warm!Β  It gets hot from 12 till 3pm and we have to have a siestaaaa… *grinning*

Anyway, update. This is what you’re waiting for, right?

Lots of planting done, but it’s still feels like we are too slow.

The vineyard has been fenced off from the chickens. We just used the netting we brought from England, poles bought here and stones on the bottom. Hopefully it will keep other critters away!

We’ve made progress on long beds!

The biggest one has some peppers, chillies, okra, parsley and basil in one end, and courgettes and pumpkins on the other. We plan to fill the rest with aubergines, more okra and herbs.

By the way, we bought one of those 1000ltr water tanks which you can see to your left, and Alex plans on having a drip irrigation system in vineyard for watering. We’ll see how it works out.

The second bed is the deep trenches with various tomatoes, thyme and Thai and Russian basil, but it also has marigolds planted on the edges.

Third bed is my favorite. It starts with borscht beet which my mom got me from Russia (it’s doing really well in that bed), continues with garlic (you can see its shoots on the pic) then moves into spring onions, Detroit Red beetroot, goes back to garlic with Brussel sprouts in the middle and ends up with a bit of kale. (yes, I am going a bit mad with companion planting!)

Fourth bed starts with peas and mangetout in the middle, surrounded by carrots. Then there is a potato bed with coriander, leeks, and another potato bed with coriander. Peas and mangetout are really pretty right now.

Fifth bed is not done yet as it needs a lot of destoning, but I’m planning on dedicating it to onion planting.

There is another row of trenches which we haven’t touched yet, but hopefully there will be more mangetout there.

Moving on to the orchard.

First bed is potatoes surrounded by Russian tarragon. I made a mistake planting tarragon directly and nothing came up. Apparently you have to transplant seedlings into the soil, so I’ve planted it again in the greenhouse.

Second and third bed are local lettuce mixed with onions (all bought as seedlings).

This one is broccoli, chard, cauliflower and Brunswick cabbage. It’s all colour coordinated in my head and so far it’s doing well.

Fifth bed is cabbage golden acre, kohlrabi, cauliflower, cabbage Brunswick and kale.

6th bed: leeks in the middle, surrounded by radishes, beetroot, spring onions and lettuce.

7th bed is a disaster as it’s the one I’ve done first, when the ground was still soggy. It has strawberries, and I planted sorrel and thyme around them. I think the seeds must have rotted in that much water, as nothing came up so I’ll have to rake everything, mulch it and replant πŸ™‚

8th bed is rucola, oriental lettuce and chard.

9th bed is strawberries and spinach.

I’ve got no pics for 10th and 11th bed (which I just discovered) but one of them has dill and marigolds in the middle surrounded by cabbage. Another is radishes, beetroot and carrots.

We also have a lot of things planted along the fence – gherkins, artichokes, sunflowers, beans, gladis, fennel and dill. It should be amazing when everything shoots up and opens. πŸ™‚

Right now I’m working on extra project and we have 3 more beds to fill in.

I’ve also started working under the fruit trees in the orchard.

Apricot which we planted in November now has marigolds and basil underneath.

Two peaches and a cherry planted in November as well have garlic planted underneath.

We had our first plum tree blossoming, I spotted two more which will do the same soon.

We also found what we think is wild plum (at least Internet says so!), and it has gorgeous blossoms too (2 or 3 trees in total).

My daffodils are opening up one by one! I planted them in December.

They are all a mix of different bulbs, so they are all different which is very exciting for someone who never planted flowers before πŸ™‚

At last Alex and Shaun made beds for our corn seedlings in the field.

The pic shows it unfinished, but it’s done now. We have corn there, pumpkins, watermelons, melons and beans. There are sunflowers along the edges.

Alex made me a small field for quinoa which I’ll plant this or next week. I actually read that it does better in the cooler weather, and I’m thinking now that maybe I should wait till autumn to plant it. Any ideas?

There are more news, so I’m splitting this post in two.