Tag Archives: Gardening in Portugal

November Garden Bloggers Bloom Day in Portugal

Last month I joined a gardening blog hop where on the 15th of each month garden bloggers all over the world take part in Garden Bloggers Bloom Day to show you what is blooming in their garden.

Although I love flowers my main focus is vegetables. So not a great selection!

One of the most rewarding plants are the Gazanias Daisies. They flower throughout the year in a multitude of different colours.

Yellow Gazanias
Yellow Gazanias

I am not sure what these daisies are, but they seeded themselves in my garden. As I say a present from the birds!


I am growing this Hibiscus as a standard. Currently the only
Hibiscus I have which planted directly in the ground.


This Bougainvillea was not in bloom when I bought it. I asked for pink and was sold this. It looks mauve to me…what do you think?
I am not keen on in it, not because it’s not pretty it is. The bracts do not fall off but die on the plant where they remain making it look rather untidy.


The Purple hop bush is, I think, an extremely versatile shrub. It has striking purple leaves and during winter months delicate paper pink flowers. It withstands strong winds, poor soil and grows up to 15ft high. I have planted several to provide a pretty screen around the pool area. I have also taken cuttings which once established I will use as a contrast to my Oleander shrubs.

Dodonaea viscosa - Purple hop bush
Dodonaea viscosa – Purple hop bush

Related posts
Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – October


Growing Fruit and Vegetables – September

August merged seamlessly into September, the drought continued and the bugs, despite my best efforts continued to thrive and multiply.

The latest visitor to take up residence bored its way into several of the tomatoes, growing in pots. Once discovered I quickly disposed of these (that’s the tomatoes not the pots) and then wished I’d cut open one of the tomatoes to discover who had moved in. I’m still none the wiser as to their identity – any clues please?

An insect bored into my tomatoes!
An insect bored into my tomatoes!

Read more about my successes and failures over at Piglet in Portugal

My Tomatoes Have Blossom End Rot

Blossom End Rot
Blossom End Rot

Over the last few days I’ve been so absorbed in other gardening projects that I shamefully admit I neglected to watch over all the tomato plants growing in containers.

You can imagine my concern when I noticed that the end of some of the tomatoes, grown in one particular container, looked sort of flat. Curious, I went over to investigate and to my horror the end of the tomatoes were black and moldy.

My tomatoes have blossom end rot
My tomatoes have blossom end rot

I immediately consulted Mr Google…

Garden Web advised…

This is not a pest, parasite or disease process but is a physiological problem caused by a low-level of calcium in the fruit itself.

Further investigation, on a variety of other gardening websites, revealed that blossom end rot is a common problem with container grown tomato plants because if watering is not consistent and the tomato plants are allowed to dry out they are then unable to absorb the calcium in the soil.

OK, Piglet is guilty as charged and the loss of about eight tomatoes due to blossom end rot is entirely down to neglect!

Lucky, because with a bumper crop of tomatoes in other pots I was beginning to panic I was about to lose my entire crop due to a nasty disease!

Mr Tomato King  also advised

Too much nitrogen in the soil can also cause rot. In this case, a handful of lime around the base of each plant might help. It is important to cut back on your fertilising or switch to a brand that has a low nitrogen and high phosphorous to high potassium ratio. Standard tomato feeds are usually high potassium.

I then went on to read if I over water my tomato plants I could end up with “Splitting Fruit”.

I also read somewhere about using Epsom Salts – anyone tried this?

Another lesson learned!!!

Sometimes I feel gardening is almost like rubbing your tummy while patting your head at the same time!

There is never a dull moment here at Piglet’s plot!

What other common or not so common pests and diseases should I be aware of?

Problem Cucumbers – Is it Anthracnose, Downy Mildew or…?


I don’t pigging believe it – the cucumber plants I’m growing in pots are dying…

The picture below, taken in July 2012, shows a healthy cucumber plant.

My healthy cucumber July 2012
My healthy cucumber July 2012

However, by August brown spots had appeared on the plant and the baby cucumbers failed to develop. A little research revealed the problem could either be caused by a fungus called Anthracnose or Downy Mildew. Or could it be something else?

August Cucumber leaves with brown spots
August – Cucumber leaves with brown spots

And to top it off I then discovered another cucumber plant has white mold growing on the stems. I wonder if it is Sclerotinia Stem Rot?

August - Cucumber with white mold on stem
Cucumber with white mold on stem

The baby cucumber plants I’m bringing on to provide Autumn cucumbers are also affected. So I need to find a cure…urgently!

I’m now off to search for, and trial some natural recipes – baking powder and milk seem popular ingredients – I hope they work!

If you have any suggestions re. diagnosis and/or natural cures please, PLEASE share in the comments section below.

Piglet’s Plot

Gardening is my passion and every day I discover something new.

Gazania in Portugal
Gazania in Portugal

As a novice gardener with a tenacious spirit and a heap of enthusiasm I follow my passion with an element of frustration and humour. I laugh, rant or cry at my failures and celebrate my many successes with a whoop as I jump for joy! (I’m easily pleased) Of course, gardening in a foreign country when you do not speak the language adds a whole new dimension to the gardening challenge.

My urban garden is compact and manageable – just as well I don’t have acres of land to manage as it can be very hot here! However, if I did have acres of land I could keep pigs and chickens which I adore, so life is about compromise.

I grow (attempt to grow): fruit and vegetables, herbs, cacti and succulents, flowering shrubs and perhaps the biggest challenge – container gardening.

Despite my ongoing battle to dissuade the bugs that my humble plot is not a Michelin star restaurant I now endeavour not to use pesticides. So if you have any natural remedies you can recommend please share!

Visitors to “PiP’s” gourmet garden restaurant

Turn up the sound and listen to the poem I dedicated to some of the bugs that taunt me!

The Ugly Bug Spring Jive
by PiP

With the Herald of Spring the bugs start to arrive
in my Garden of Eden for the “Ugly Bug Jive”.

The weird and the ugly they give me the jitters
who may I ask invented these critters?

There are black bugs and green bugs and stripey ones too
perhaps they’ve escaped from the Ugly Bug zoo?.

Grass hoppers and spiders arrive at my door
the Jive’s in full swing so they take to the floor.

The Ugly Bug Jive is now the “In” thing
and a great way to cheer, the arrival of Spring.

The birds, snakes and lizards come looking for lunch
The “Ugly Bug” guests look an appetising bunch…


Gobble gobble!

What's on the menu today?
What's on the menu today?

Battling against the language barrier, uncertainty of what to plant when, humongous insects and a variety of diseases, cruel salt winds and high humidity my little plot in paradise at times presents quite a challenge.

Piglet’s Plot is a diary of my gardening “ups” and “downs”, tips and ideas based on personal experience.