Garden Planning

One of the many benefits living here is the established garden, which includes a kitchen garden and numerous citrus trees situated throughout the property. Needless to say, the garden is an on-going concern, which is lovingly tended by staff. My main focus here in my garden diaries will be the produce from the garden and a new herb plot I am planning. The garden is watered by a well, an effort to conserve a precious resource in this hot Mediterranean climate, making this place a lovely eco-friendly green space in the centre of Athens. Of course, we don’t have to worry too much about water supplies at the moment, now that we’ve entered the rainy autumn season.

garden_water_signThe garden is watered from a well – ο κήπος ποτίζεται απο πηγάδι.

In the vegetable garden, plants are set in for the winter season: broccoli, leeks, fennel (from seed), onions, various salad varieties – rocket, lamb’s lettuce, radicchio. I have to confess that I cannot take credit for the kitchen garden; I simply enjoy the produce.

broccoli_onions_10-2015

Also, I’m waiting for winter, the season for the citrus plants – lemon, bitter orange, mandarin, grapefruit – which grow in abundance here. I will look for a lime tree at the garden nursery when I go. Ideally, I would like a quick growing one that will begin to produce within a year, and would welcome any suggestions from those of you who are more familiar with citrus cultivation.

green_orangesGreen oranges

After discussing things with various people here, I think we have identified a place to establish a herb garden, ideally just outside the kitchen door. At the moment, it is barren soil which will need work over the winter before it can be planted up.

proto_herb_garden_athensBlank!

Seeds need to be sown and cuttings taken. And, of course, I have all winter to plan.

herb_seeds

I also wonder if raspberries and loganberries would grow well. An experiment to try…

raspberries_Athens10-2015Raspberry transplants!

There is also the garden fauna to consider, so perhaps I should protect my herb garden with an edging of box. Lots to think about.

tortoise_feature

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17 comments

  1. A herb garden just outside the kitchen door is ideal! For me, it meant that even in the pouring rain I could make a dash for my herbs… Alas, I no longer have a garden, but there are a few herbs in pots on my kitchen window.

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    • My herb garden in the UK is also just outside the kitchen door – definitely a handy place to be on those rainy days. The Greek herb garden will be in planning stages most of the winter, but I am hoping there are some things I can do, such as establishing a box hedge barrier and a few more paths in the plot so it will be easy to pick those herbs. Hope to chronicle developments in subsequent posts.

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    • The herb garden (and the row of raspberries) will be my responsibility, so hands will definitely get dirty. There is a whole tribe of tortoises in the garden – from a huge great granddaddy down to wee little ones that hatched this year. They do get everywhere, but they are lovely to have around. They leave the prickly raspberries alone!

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  2. my grandparents had awesome veggie gardens and always had a few planters of non-edible basil around the doors outside. You’d always get a nice whiff as you went past 🙂 I’m going to do the same with my house 😀

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    • That basil is edible, but just very strong, so not many people use it – just foreigners like myself. I was also told that one of the reasons it was placed just outside the door was because the smell deterred mosquitos and other bugs. Same reason it is often planted as a companion plant with tomatoes. Also, basil has sacred connotations in Greece. In other words, you can’t go wrong with a pot of basil outside the door!

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    • Alas, the staff of one has too many other responsibilities to weed my little herb patch! I was grateful that he found the time to rototill the compacted soil and to dump a load of compost, leaving me with a handy rake. I wouldn’t have it any other way as I like to get my hand dirty, even if it is just in this little patch of ground.

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  3. Staff sounds ideal! I could use extra hands now more than ever. I reckon you need to live in a place for a while to know what will really work so winter will give you the opportunity to choose the ideal position for your herbs and perhaps find out a few tricks from the locals to deter tortoise family

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    • The staff of one (as I also told Francesca) is responsible for all the grounds which are quite extensive. So, I’m on my own in the herb patch, after he kindly roto-tilled and composted the area. Am looking forward to planting up in the spring, but have to get through winter first! Local advice re. tortoises is “build a barrier”. I now have a little plastic trelling fence situated around, pegged into the ground by canes (καλάμια) which grow near the veg patch. Not so pretty, but it gives me a guide for where to place the box hedge.

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