Natural World, August 2016

The Natural World – Edible and Useful Plants – Tenerife – Canary Islands


The story of haze and heat continues throughout the August. The fading horizons become blurry and the low clouds persistently hanging in the same position, creating an almost everlasting sea of clouds. The position of this typical phenomenon for the north of the island, that locals call sea of cloud, depends on the time of the year. Now the heat push the clouds down to nearly sea level together with the heavier cold air, making the coast cloudy and relevantly cool compared to the heat of the highs of the mountains. Although there was some days without the clouds and with beautiful high cloud formations. Photos bellow are of the sunrises of August in Tenerife north.

This month we visited Icod Alto, a small town in the middle of the lands destined for cereal cultivation, that is not as popular nowadays, but still alive in some parts of the island. The grains are then turned into gofio (toasted flower), that can be mixed with water or milk to the consistency desired, depending on the dish. It used to be an important staple food of the Guanches, the first people that inhabited the islands, but still to this day is a popular nutritious part of the diet for many locals.

When we reached the town, it was drowning in clouds, the dense fog obstructing visibility and the mood was dropping, as the aim was to take a walk to the Mirador de La Corona, where the spectacular views of northeast of the island opens – the forest and valleys bellow… As we climb up towards the view point, the cloud becomes thinner, eventually disappears behind us. Now the cool misty fog is replaced with heat and haze, still not ideal conditions, but could see at least, even though quite blurry views. From here we take a path down through the refreshing and pleasantly cooler laurel forest, mixed with beautiful tree heather (bushy, tree-like plants), a welcome relief from the heat. Here we find beautiful specimens of Aeonium, a succulent plant (photo bellow), typical for Canary Islands.

The work and harvest never really stops here in the mild climate, but the drought continues, further drying out the soils, making the conditions unsuitable for germination and vegetables like beetroot, onions and cabbage stop growing, we harvested the last of those in the beginning of the month.

The summer beans are doing well and now are ready to be picked, alongside the tomatoes and corn, which we eat cooked on the cob or cut the kernels off and use it for salads, soups or stir-fries and freeze for preserving…

The last of sunflowers were also harvested this month. The pumpkins, watermelons and charentais (cantaloupe) melons were finally triggered by the heat to produce a good growth, blossoms and good size fruits.

The photos bellow are of turmeric plant, now in the 2nd year, was started from the shop bought roots (organic), that were planted directly in the soil of large pot. Last year we collected few roots, but kept the main root system in tact. This year we saw a more vigorous growth, the plant itself looks bigger and healthier :).

And here are photos of not so friendly, but very pretty visitors: very large bright yellow worm – death’s head hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos); the smaller, but still big worms with different type of hawks – Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Agrius convolvuli) and a cute little, green grasshopper on buckwheat flower.

So it was an eventful and productive month, despite the weather conditions :D.

Versión española


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