Vegetable gardens are islands of calm in a hectic world, so long as the rabbits, pigeons, burrowing voles and other creatures are not attacking your plants. Lagartera has many different types of vegetable garden, some within the pueblo, such as this one, under the bridge where the district of Toledillo starts,
and this one, on an ísland, with a steep drop on one side.
Most Lagarteran vegetable gardens are outside the pueblo. You need water to grow vegetables. If you are lucky, it comes from a stream.
But it’s more likely to come from a well. This is an olive grove, with a well which is sometimes used to provide water for a horse, other times for a vegetable garden within the olive grove.
Some vegetable gardens are small, such as this one with a backdrop of the Sierra de Gredos.
And some are big, such as Andrés’ very productive vegetable garden.
Andrés has fruit trees, and even chickens. His garden is walled. This means that it is safe from rabbits and sheep, and the walls provide some shade.
It is still possible to grow vegetables successfully without the protection of walls, though it’s harder. This is another very productive vegetable garden, Jose´s at Barriales.
Some vegetable gardens have been abandoned. They have their own charm.
And many Lagarterans remember playing in this one, with the Palm tree, when they were children.
The Palm tree garden is in a spectacular setting, with the Sierra de Gredos in the background (Photo by Guzmán Lozano).
Growing vegetables is not easy in Lagartera, because our summers are hot and dry. Even so, with time and dedication, you learn how and when to plant each crop, and learn from others with the same interests. Walls, trees, and grape vines can provide shade, which some plants like courgettes appreciate. The Pensioners’ Bar in Lagartera was a kind of University of the Third Age when it came to growing vegetables, because if you went there and asked for advice, you could benefit from the years of experience of the clients.
People used to say that vegetable growing helped to keep grandpa active. Today, in the stressful world we live in, with rising food prices, it has attractions for younger people, as a way to unwind, and to enjoy fresh food which tastes better than anything you can find in supermarkets.
Alison Lever, Lagartera, October 2021.
(Photos 1 – 10 are mine, and, as people who live here will know, have been taken in different years. The last photo is by Guzmán Lozano.)