Saturday 17 August 2013

Summer in Crete - 2013

As I did last year I thought it would be a good idea to review how the terrace/patio had evolved this year before the intense summer heat takes its toll on the plants as well as the humans!

Mid summer heat on the plot
This year was noticeably cooler in July than we had previously experienced due to a consistently strong, at times very strong, wind throughout the whole of the month. Being inland at some 500 metres above sea level in our temporary accommodation meant that the plants were subjected to a constant buffeting with the mini tomatoes bearing the brunt of wind. The herbs, sensibly, kept their heads down and fared much better. Both the two varieties of tomato and the assortment of herbs enjoyed my regular evening watering and the slightly cooler conditions.

Lovely shade beneath the Carob trees
A real success this year has been herbs. All the seedlings, cuttings, existing plants from last year and the few plants bought at the local market have all grown well and kept us so fully sourced with culinary herbs that the dried stocks have only been used for some specialised dishes.

Figs on the plot bursting with goodness
The thing I am most pleased with, however, is the whole look and feel of the terrace now, with herbs, low growing tomatoes, chills and mini peppers is entirely different from the previous year where courgettes, aubergines, standard tomatoes,and squashes took over most of the available space. Now we have a truly multi-functional area with room for sitting, eating, drying washing and general outdoor space whilst surrounded by a lovely array of herbs, low growing mini tomatoes, chillies, mini peppers etc.

This year's herb collection with the "towers" adding height.
As I have noted in earlier posts the creation of the "herb towers" has  been a particularly rewarding part of the redesign by quite literally adding another dimension and readily replacing the height brought to the previous design by the standard tomatoes, aubergines etc.

Mini tomato yield - the first major harvest
As the summer wore on I decided that an early morning and late evening watering regime would give the plants their best chance chance in the fierce sunshine. Given that the easterly aspect of the terrace exposed the plants to full sunshine as soon as the sun rose above the mountains (0530-0600!!) with the morning watering ideally, say, 30 minutes before this there was an immediate problem - me getting up to do it!! 

Perennial herb boxes for transplant to plot with watering system in place.
Since I wanted to experiment with drip watering before designing the large scale schemes that will be required on my plot of land I decided to invest in a water controller, hose, micro hose and sufficient "drippers" to water the terrace pots. Whilst I was at it I decided to get sufficient materials for a planned expansion in containers, specifically, to raise collections of perennial herbs for transfer to the plot and the odd watering tray for cuttings that I was raising. 

Early days for chillies but well under way.