Late February brought wind and rain to Fuerteventura. The rain is always welcome and we were expecting, with so much rain, that we would see an explosion of wild flowers in the countryside. Three years ago we were treated to the sight of poppies and marguerite daisies sprining up everywhere. So far though, just a few roadside flowers have appeared.
The wind though is altogether something else. Fortunately the new windmill sails have survived the gales. My greenhouse was a different story. The propagation bench blew over and I lost a large batch of flower and vegetable seedlings. This was the scene that greeted me the morning after the gale.
I rebuilt the bench securely attaching it to the greenhouse frame this time, and started resowing.
Of course Goofy and Pongo are very happy to stay inside when it is raining.
The great thing about the weather here is that it can change so quickly and we were treated just a few days later to the most glorious sight of a a new moon rising above the horizon. By the time I had stared at this massive red moon, then thought about grabbing a camera, the moon seemed to have shrunk in size and changed colour. Even so it still looks nice with the windmill.
I managed a couple of days back in England to visit a company who are researching novel ways of producing food crops using vertical towers, LED lighting and hydroponics. These units can be installed into shipping containers (or disused warehouses) and be monitored remotely by computer. Quite impressive. A food production system of this kind could have a great future in an environment such as here.
We are now up to around 600 pine trees in the field. They have shown much better growth since I started top dressing them with a complete fertiliser. In fact the newer trees are catching up with the older ones. It seems that the best time to sow pine seeds is around December so that the seedlings can germinate and then benefit from the warmer weather in March/April to grow quickly to planting out size.
The other tricky aspect is watering. Too much water during the winter when there is a cold wind can lead to poor growth. Yet they can quickly dry out when the weather turns warmer. I look at how the other plants around the finca are doing to help judge how much moisture is in the soil.If the cacti are flowering then there is probably plenty of water in the soil.
We are still feeling a little bereft at losing our fish to the heron. But then, one morning a couple of weeks ago, I was walking past the pond when I saw what looked like a couple of little orange flashes of light in the water. Looking closely, yes it was! Two baby goldfish or Koi carp. Hiding away all this time. They are already two to three inches long! Maybe the turtle is down there somewhere. Wendy is not trying to catch them, rather she is cleaning the pond of algae which has started growing with the warmer weather.
Just a day or two of warm weather, and especially no wind, brings out the leaf and flower buds in the garden. The Jacaranda tree is in leaf. Leaf buds are just appearing on the Flamboyant trees. Flowers are showing on my Kniphofia (Red hot pokers), which I raised last year from seed. And my Amaryllis is flowering nicely.
I have to say, one of the most successful parts of the garden is what I call the succulent garden. Here the drought resistant low-growing plants, mostly from South Africa, including ice plants, Carpobrutus, Aptena, and aeoniums are showing a riot of colour.
There are still quite a few jobs to get done in and around the finca. The part of the garden originally earmarked for a swimming pool now has a raised planter which I built using dry stone walling. It is yet to be filled with soil but the irrigation pipe and lighting cable are in.
A few small paths have been built. I should hasten to add that this has been without any assistance. Enrique had been helping me until recently but he was then given a contract of work for three months. It works like this - work on contract for three months at which point the employer needs to get rid of you otherwise you obtain employee rights against dismissal and severance pay. Then you are entitled to draw unemployment benefit while going to work for someone else unofficially. Or sit around and do nothing.
Another job completed was planting 132 pine trees. Here I am setting out the planting stations starting from a string line with stakes every 120cm, then using two equal length stakes to mark the next line of trees.