The garden, one year on!

19055657_1865513100435479_5471137978631549677_oSo we have prioritised making a garden before building a house to live in…..makes total sense right?

Last summer we managed to get some veg in the ground having not long arrived, but this year we have really gone to town! We have a mix of flowers, plants and vegetables as well as our established fruit trees.19093045_1865514447102011_5616438970873155913_o

Digging what seemed like a million veg beds in the hard, dry, stony Spanish soil seemed never ending! And the amount of seeds I had growing (as well as buying plug plants from the garden centre – oops!) didn’t help relieve the pressure of digging beds.

We have a variety of vegetables growing, and in different situations around the garden….a little experiment if you will…..

Herb garden
Herb garden

We have three different varieties of corn (glass gem, black and standard yellow maize) some planted in full sun as a wind break and some in a shadier more sheltered spot. As it turns out the more exposed corn is doing so much better than the protected corn and so as the black corn is now wanting to go into the ground, we are planting it in an exposed sunny spot.

We are growing three different types of pepper; a standard large pepper, padron peppers and jalepeno (we also have some chillies on the go, chilli lombardo and another variety from the local seed bank). Although our neighbours told us ‘mucho sol’ for the peppers, we have found that they are doing much much better in a slightly shadier spot….bare in mind that nowhere is really that shady here!IMG_20170509_115631580_HDR

We have been harvesting tomatoes for a few weeks now, and they are super delicious! They are growing in full sun and are loving it (although our shady tomatoes aren’t doing too badly either). We are growing cherry tomatoes and corni de cabra, as well as some small yellow tomatoes but the name escapes me). We have grown tomatoes for quite a few years but they’ve always ended up in a jungle-type situation and we end up with bad tomatoes. This year, we have followed Antonio’s advice that’s been hollered over the fence and sure enough we have some awesome tomatoes growing and there’s plenty of air getting through, the tomatoes are sweet and juicy and we are revelling in the lack of  jungle this year!

Some other veg we are growing/have been growing this year are….IMG_20170607_184028971

We planted garlic in December and we harvested yesterday (planted it on the shortest day, and harvested on the longest day). We’ve never grown garlic before, the bulbs are a decent size and smell pretty stinky. A successful harvest!


Alongside the garlic we had planted spinach and broad beans. The broad beans were a roaring success but the spinach bolted soon into growing (lesson learnt, need a shadier spot) the leaves were tough too due to the amount of sun they had had.

Our lettuce and peas have come to an end now as we don’t have a shady enough spot for them, its just too damn hot! But they were yummy while they lasted. Next year we will know to plant them much earlier as they will have a longer season before it gets too hot.IMG_20170501_192235384

We have courgettes just coming in now, corn, sweet potatoes, artichoke, potatoes, celery, aubergine, strawberries, cucumber, onions, chard, watermelon, leeks and a bed full of herbs (chives, black basil, dwarf basil, rosemary, lemon balm, mint, and oregano) as well as our fig trees, pomegranate trees, nispero, grape vines, almonds and olives.Basically we have our hands full! But its so much fun! Everything just grows here like magic….just add water!

We are hoping to create a food forest eventually and I’m pretty excited to report that the citrus tress we planted last year (orange, lemon, mandarin) all have fruit on them this year, and our avocado trees tried really hard to flower this year but we heartbreakingly picked them off to concentrate on getting a good root system! Although I am pretty desperate for our own avocados.

And so this is our vegetable garden! Productive, satisfying and it keeps our bellies full.

I have also been growing flowers this year; my plan is to grow our wedding flowers for later in the year, but that’s another tale for another time!


No poo? Eh!

So I’d like to say that I initially stopped using shampoo on my hair as I didnt want to use chemical products on my body, but it actually started because I am a total minger!

We have a great solar shower that is fantastic in the summer months but come winter, you’re just standing naked under a flow of freezing water outside and its really not too much fun! So we resorted to bucket washing (which actually gets you surprisingly clean, for you sceptics out there). But washing hair in a bucket, in a yurt was actually more hassle than it was worth and so I just started rinsing my hair with water. It seemed to do the job.

I started looking into not using shampoo online and it turns out there’s a whole bloody movement of people who dont use shampoo! Who knew? Not I!! You can rinse it with water only, use apple cider vinegar, baking soda and many other options but I stuck to plain old water (to avoid the whole rinsing in a bucket mess)!

Ten months poo-free!
Ten months poo-free!

I have been doing this now for nearly ten months and I am a total convert. Yes the transition period was a little oily, but it really didnt last that long. I got myself a boar bristle brush and did all the usual no-poo things to make the transition easier, I use a few drops of lavendar oil in a water spritzer to make my hair smell nicer and once my hair is dry after a wash, it looks great. In fact, its the healthiest its been in years! The curl has returned to my hair and its fabulous….as long as you dont touch it when wet! Do. not. touch. it!

I’ve hit a stumbling block though. And its a very girly stumbling block! We are getting married later this year and there is literally nothing that can be done with my hair. When its wet, its like straw and I cant even think of running my fingers through it….well, I just cant, its impossible!

Attempting 'wedding hair' Total fail!
Attempting ‘wedding hair’ Total fail!

This little straw-like scene doesnt really fit in with what I want my hair to be doing on my wedding day (not that Im massively bothered), but I really dont want to put shampoo in my hair. I have spent nearly a year without it and I dont want to go back. So Ive been looking at alternatives and I think I have found a possible solution.  I found a recipe online here for aloe and honey hair wash….well we have an abundance of aloe and we do like honey, so thats what Im testing out today! Will the aloe and honey mix actually make my hair more manageable?…..we will have to see!

And if all else fails, I’ll stick a hat on my head!

Although it started by complete accident (this no-poo thing) it actually has so many benefits. I dont get a flakey dry scalp any more, my hair is totally balanced oil/grease-wise and I only need to ‘wash’ my hair once a week.  The curl has come back into my hair and the skin on my face is less dry. It also has the added benefit of being much quicker to shower, and I dont have to stress about chemicals going onto our land and olive trees from the shower as our greywater is released onto the land. Fingers crossed my hair will be a little easier to manage with an aloe/honey wash. Wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted.