Kalo Mena Ávgoustos (Happy Month for August!)

So it’s the 2nd of August – I know, already!! Yesterday we wished everyone we met ‘Kalo mena’ the traditional Greek first of the month greeting. Happy month, happy year, happy summer, happy days…they have it all covered here.

The garden is well, it’s hanging in there and still growing… there has been a few mistakes and the weather is hot, pretty windy and never wet. Almost the exact opposite of Kent. The mistakes are rookie ones, mostly in planting timings…all just a little late!

But let’s be honest somehow this is a spectacular thing to behold, considering I didn’t not even know whether I could get some plug-plants or even compost when we first moved in, I have surprised myself! People gave us plants and I eventually found the garden centre, which was really good and sold most things a UK one does, but without the cafe!

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I like the overall visual effect of a veg patch and flowers in pots, which have immensely been helped by these mad night scented nictonia variety which over May and June sprouted out of nowhere!

They did somewhat ruin my initial ideas of having a lovely flower bed at the side. But you can’t control nature and as intended, they thrive in the hot and dry conditions. As does the Aloe, which we have ton of in pots and in teh ground and the geranium’s which I made cuttings of too, it hardly even needs looking at. I often walk past an abandoned-looking house that has a lovely row of geraniums that are happily flowering away in pots. The gate is totally overgrown so I suspect they aren’t tended to at all but are just happy in their willful neglect.

I think that’s the thing with gardening it really is a  combination of luck and weather, and even the stars aligning sometimes. Especially when you are challenged by the unknown, The Greek Garden is an experiment, if you build it they will come. Well, not quite but sometimes people pop round just to take a look at what we have created in an otherwise barren corner of poor soil..which does makes me happy! It is mostly thanks to the plants from Tony and his sister Theresa, who have been so generous in their local horticultural knowledge.  The garden plot is a triumph over adversary, sown with  good intentions.

It’s a mixed bag so far..

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Tomatoes, I have 2 green tomatoes (in August!) which look like plum varieties, I like the air of mystery with these as they were given as a seedling gift when we moved in. Lets hope they ripen soon otherwise this will be the lowest yield in my entire tommie growing career (of 4 years..) Plus I have to put up with whatsapp pictures of my Dad’s courgette harvest success and it is only a matter of time before they include tomatoes too. But we have enjoyed the spoils from neighbours, gifts of juicy cherry tomatoes and always have cheap plump beefsteak tomatoes in the fruit & veg markets, so I am always tomato-sourced!

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I have three plants in the patch and two in big pots which I feed with some kind of tomato feed – so I will live in hope.

Courgettes are another issue, I just don’t know what I am doing wrong…or have done wrong. Every time the plant sets fruit it grows a few inches..i get all hopeful ad then it yellows and shrivels, this is either a pollination problem or watering inconsistency which is causing blossom end rot combined with a calcium deficiency in the soil (likely). I have 3 courgette plants and I see bees around but maybe it is pollination, the male and female flowers aren’t bonding…save the GR bees! Or more likely it is inconsistant watering, I soak the whole veg patch nightly, perhaps this is too much or too little! I don’t know! Tomorrow I will try to get some male flowers and assist with this delicate task to see if that improves fortunes…

The Trombochino is okay, but nowhere near fruiting (8 weeks the seller told me at Chelsea!). The Aubergine has flowered once, and fruit didn’t set, But a second flowering should see this happen.

The big success is the chilli pepper plant – it is happy and productive! Its chilli’s are red and tasty but not TOO hot.

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The cosmos I grew from seed are no where near as happy or productive as ones I grew in Kent. These are from the seeds I saved from last year, but they are pretty in a plant pot and attract these amazing Iphiclides Podalirius Butterflies. Sadly the 10 or so seedlings I planted in the soil got eaten by something – a snail, perhaps?

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The marigolds from seed are mental…like long leggy crazy-tall little shop of horrors. But they look interesting! Herbs are all happy – mint, basil and oregano especially so. The cat likes to lounge in between the plants so she’s pretty pleased we are here.

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The olive tree is producing fruit and our landlord brought round a dish like thing that hangs in the tree and attracts a little bug which then eats the other bugs that spread disease. No, not really sure either, but anything that avoids pesticides is all right with me. The empty lot behind us has figs and grapes ripening that trail over the wall – definitely on our side, so maybe we can scrump a few of these!

For now, I get to tend to the little patch, worry about its fruits and surprises. But mostly I sit back and enjoy the peace.

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