Twelve months of gardening

Want to make the world a greener place? Start small, for example with your own garden. But how to get the best out of your land in the dry and hot Algarve? Enjoy the Algarve asked the expert, Justin Wride, to supply us with top gardening tips for every month of the year. 

See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine February 2016

He’s passionate about plants, moved to the Algarve 22 years ago and has since designed and built numerous gardens. Plus, he’s the editor of Mediterranean Gardening & Outdoor Living, the only English magazine dedicated to gardening in Iberia. Algarve gardening expert Justin Wride is the perfect person to tell you when exactly to roll out fresh turf, cut roses or prune branches.


January – wrap up warm

This is quite often the coldest month in the Mediterranean, so if you have any tender plants that need protecting, use a horticulture fleece to cover them over a prolonged cold spell. It’s also a good idea to keep adding organic mulch to any bare soil areas in the garden. Consider it as a tasty blanket that will nourish and insulate the roots of tender plants.


February – cut them back

A good time to prune any leggy perennials. Cut them down to a sensible height so you’ll be able to see the new flowers in the coming year. If left too gangly they will lose their shape, smother other lower growing plants and restrict sunlight, which means you will have less blooms.

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March – plant those veggies

March signals a start of warmer temperatures and is a great time to plant, sow or seed your summer vegetables. The soil is warmer so there will be less stress. It’s also ideal to plant new shrubs in the garden, so for those wanting a revamp or alterations this is the perfect month.


April – grow a football pitch

A great time for lawn lovers; if you want to replace dying grass, re seed, or roll out fresh turf, it’s the perfect month. All grass seed varieties will germinate happily and quickly with temperatures above 18˚C, so it won’t take long to grow your own football pitch. Added to the likelihood of April rains there will be less concerns of irrigation at the early stages.

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May – feed your senses (and your garden)

May must be the perfect month for gardening as everything is out to stimulate the senses. It’s a good time to feed the garden with balanced fertilisers using nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Or, keep using the contents from your compost bin, as you can’t get better than organic.

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June – check the water

Time to make sure your irrigation or watering system is kept in check. Make sure heads or sprinklers are not clogged up and filters have been cleaned. It’s worth running the system during the day to check all is in order, as we are approaching the hotter days and nights.


July – water daily

Care for your annuals, the short lived plants that are at their prime right now and which are perfect to liven up dull borders, pots and hanging baskets. In order to achieve their full potential, they need daily watering and constant dead heading so they can keep flowering through the summer. Increase the cut height on your lawn mower.

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August – watch out for pests

This month can almost be lockdown; the heat is oppressive and many plants suffer. It’s the month to be vigilant and watch out for pests and diseases in the garden, as it’s the weak, impoverished or dehydrated that suffer first. Watering, and plenty of it, must be made at night to prevent scorching.


September – cut those hedges

September requires more dead heading, fertilising and mulching. Hedges will often need cutting after a strong growing year, as well as established climbers. You can also plan your winter vegetables and herbs now.

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October – time for a clean
A good month for pruning of trees and larger shrubs, so expect to carry out a major clean and tidy. Empty the contents of your compost heap to keep the soil fed through the autumn and decrease the use of nitrogen in your fertilisers. Reduce the irrigation to save on water bills and collect leaves for future mulching.


November – lay weed membranes

November will often bring the first rains and sprouting of weeds, so think of digging over or using a rotovator to penetrate the soil, or lay weed membranes to prevent them growing and self-seeding in the future. November is another great time to plan new projects and landscaping in the garden plus planting a new orchard. Cut back the roses.


December – chill out

This should be the month of rest and a well-earned pat on the back for keeping your garden healthy. Just stroll round and marvel at your dedicated work… But of course remove the odd weed, weave the odd tendril through the trellis and prune a rogue branch. Take a deserved rest in readiness for the next year! It will all start again very soon.

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Want to know more about gardening in the Algarve? On 11 and 12 June there’s a Mediterranean garden show near Porches.



See original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine February 2016

Posted in Features.

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