During our time here at A Rocha Portugal one part of our work was to help take care of the garden. The garden is really big and has several patches with vegetables, herbs and fruits, it was established by Miguel, the gardener, before any of us were here.
We have spinach, two species of beans, peppers, a lot of onions and tomatoes. Also courgettes, pumpkins and strawberries can be found. In two patches we are growing herbs: mint, basil, curry, thyme and others some of which were planted by Emil in the spring. Beside the vegetables and herbs, we also have an orchard, with limes, oranges, plums and peaches, the orchard is not part of our responsibility.
We don’t use any chemicals, pesticides or anything similar. Everything is organic. We use a lot of our own products for our meals, but we give them away as well.
Due to the high temperatures the plants grow really fast, as long as they get enough water. To ensure this, we are irrigating them 3 times per week. Fortunately we can use two pumps located at the two water reservoirs on the property and hoses, to reach all of the patches. When Isa arrived here we split the patches between us, which makes the process a lot easier and faster.
Harvesting needs to be done several times per week as well, since the fruits are not all ripe at the same time and can go bad quite quickly if one doesn’t pick them. However this is quite easy and done in a short time.