A traditional garden: visiting LA HUERTA DE JOSÉ

Good morning everyone and welcome to this article about a traditional garden so special to me. Today I have to talk about “my godfather” from Huerta José and the master class on garden management that he gave me back in March 2014.

José is a natural farmer from La Pueblanueva and since I was little I have his memory of coming home with real mountains of tomatoes that tasted like tomatoes (worth the hype), onions as fists, zucchini as arms, etc. Which ended up being transformed into exquisite gazpachos and preserves. Hence, when I started with my garden, I did not hesitate for a moment to call him to explain a little about everything, where to start, what to plant, what to do etc. Since he is a true dean in the field, having been producing healthy products of the highest quality for many years .

José’s traditional garden

When I told him that I was going to start with an orchard, my dear godfather did not take a second to meet me at his house to approach his garden and so we undertook, in his mythical C15, the trip to the Tagus River meadows , lands watered by the water from the Castrejón reservoir about 20 minutes from my town.

Those orchards are another totally different roll than the one you are used to seeing on this website. There are no raised terraces , no graffiti, or anything that gives the garden that urban warden guaper roll that is what is carried now. José’s garden is made up of a shed for tools and seeds and a plot of land divided into several plots according to the channeling of water (the crops that need more water are closer to the irrigation ditch) and the crop rotation produced by the horticulturist himself (about 1/3 of the land lies fallow for a year while the rest of the garden is in production).

The land is slightly inclined to favor irrigation, which in this case is not drip as you are used to seeing since the vast extension would make this type of installation impossible. The irrigation of the orchard is done by furrows , this means that around the crops there is a depression through which the water circulates and so when José will open the gate of the canal near his land, the water circulates freely through those channels until it is soaked through I complete the soil profile. These irrigations are very controlled in summer, there are shifts for farmers in the area to irrigate at different times and thus make responsible use of canal water (furrow irrigation is less efficientthan a dropper when it comes to saving water , but it can be a non-wasteful practice if done correctly ).

Control of pests and diseases in the traditional garden

The biological control of the garden is also totally different from that which can be carried out in an urban garden . These rural gardeners do not complicate their lives in ending a plague or a disease, I could say that their philosophy fits perfectly in the: “Prevention is better than cure” and therefore they cure the soil around the crop with herbicides to prevent bad diseases from sprouting herbs and pesticides the crop itself to prevent the appearance of lice , flies etc …

Curing the garden with chemicals is not better or worse, realize that in a large area that is not divided into raised terraces and there are no roads between the crops, it is more difficult to plan an ecological defense , planting aromatic rose bushes, curing with potash soap etc … And it is simpler (and possibly less risky) to dilute a cap of product in a dosing backpack and go around curing the ground.

If you want to know more about the differences between an urban garden and a traditional one, here is the first report on José’s garden:

Apart from the differences on management , it is worth visiting a garden in a rural community because its members are simple and friendly people who know perfectly the planting dates of each crop, its management and a multitude of tricks and sayings so that you can have the best results. The gardens in the cities are very good, but without offending anyone, they do not have the knowledge about gardens that these people can have, since they have been there all their lives and know everything in detail.

I visited his garden on May 31, 2014 and I was very surprised that there were already a lot of zucchini and tomatoes there when I, for example, hadn’t even started the seedbed. During the rigorous walk, he showed me all the crops along with the most recommended sowing dates to plant them and gave me many tips so that everything would be perfect.

If you want to see the garden in all its splendor you have the second report:

Little more, to tell you that José also understands a lot about trees, his plot was full of fruit trees such as pear or plum trees, many of which he had grafted with different techniques to increase their production or avoid any plague . The truth is that it caught my attention and perhaps one day I will tell you more about arboriculture and grafting.

Greetings and do not stop enjoying the traditional orchards of the town.

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