Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a courtyard garden. Which edibles will tolerate less than ideal growing conditions. Discovering how veggies can grow in partial shade.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Every Square Inch Gardening

 Last week in Madeira I went on a walk along one of the many 'Levadas' up in the hills. This one was the Mimosa Valley just above the town of Machico.
 You can see that the steep hills have been managed into tiny terraces, volcanic rocks are piled into small walls and so small terraces of flat land are made on the hillside.
 Virtually every square inch is used for growing fruit and vegetables!  Every Sunday in most towns there is a farmers market where you can buy an amazing range of home grown food from the farmers that grow it themselves.  There is no agricultural machinery here, everything is done by hand.
 I was interested to see that maximum use of space was employed using the same space to grow two different crops which do not compete.  Above here the sweet potatoes are grown on top of ridges and broad beans are planted at the bottom of the ridges.
And this is wonderful, rich, red volcanic soil which is so fertile.


At 9:11 AM, Blogger Mark Willis said...

The non-competing vegetables concept is very interesting to me, since I also have to make use of every square inch. I wonder if anyone has published a matrix of things that don't compete with other things...?

At 4:44 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Mark - it is also known as companion planting. A google search should find lots. A good example of this is the 3 Sisters, squash, beans and corn all planted near each other have different habits but compliment each other. Taller plants like corn, climbing beans up a stick.. can be grown with ground cover veggies.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Steve said...

Thanks for the pictures Matron, brings back happy memories of holidays to Madeira.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger VirginiaC said...

Matron, this was very interesting. I love this concept. Fertile or amended soil will go a long way!!
Seems as if you enjoyed your time away.

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Shinny said...

Great to see a blog post about Madeira as I love the place.This is a lovely levada walk as it goes through a sequence of wooded and inhabited/cultivated stretches.
Also liked the Mercado post.I might buy large packets of trombone courgette,chard and lettuce seeds from there again on my next visit.Good value, although they are even cheaper at one of the larger Sa supermarkets eg in Santana.

At 9:28 PM, Anonymous Ann Marie said...

I love the use of every bit of space - I bet they don't have to do much weeding! That view must go some way towards providing a reward for all the growers' hard work too...


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