The potager shed

The potager shed

Hi.

Welcome to my blog. This is just my personal garden and food diary. I’m a flexitarian, vegetarian at home, but more flexible when with friends. I’m trying to grow our own food so we leave a lighter footprint on this precious planet.

Over the past six years I have been transforming a one acre former vineyard on a steep hill into a garden. There are distinct areas; an 80m2 vegetable garden, a small orchard, a pond and a sunken path flanked by two long mixed borders.

We are in a small hamlet near Faugères in the Occitanie (formerly Languedoc) region of France. Our soil is rocky schist. Summer temperatures can reach 40℃ and in winter sink as low as -10℃. Water comes rarely but is diluvial when it does.

Lizzie

'Starting an organic vegetable garden' workshop

'Starting an organic vegetable garden' workshop

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For the past few Sundays I’ve been running a workshop for members of our 500-strong Herault Gardener Facebook group. Lots of people would really like to grow their own vegetables but don’t really know how to start out. When they look at their gardens it can just seem utterly daunting, so I decided to show them no-dig gardening as practised by Charles Dowding.

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We started each session with coffee and a brief introduction, then moved on to practical things. We covered soil, compost and hotbeds along with seed sowing, pricking out, potting on and planting. I showed them some seedlings that have never been inside, but which were sown in water bottles on New Year’s Eve. I wanted to demonstrate that you don’t need a greenhouse or windowsills. Then we made some no-dig beds using cardboard and compost and talked about hoeing instead of weeding, and irrigation.

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As usual I have sown way too many seeds so I had lots of plants to give them so they can start on their own gardens straight away.

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It’s been pretty windy during each session and not exactly warm so everyone was happy to go inside for lunch which Ali had ready for us. Judging from the lovely follow-up messages people went away enthused and excited to begin their own gardens.

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That’s it for this year. I have a ton of jobs to do in the garden and I’m moving on to flowers now that all the vegetables are sown or planted for a while. I’ll run some more courses next spring. Happy gardening to all the participants - Deborah, Inger, Borje, Vic, Joni, Rachael, Robin, Colleen, Jess, Phil, Kevin, Adele, Ian, John, Erica, Ali, Mo, Monica, Kerry, Lesley, Sue, Anne, Miles and Angela. A special thanks to Ali Ballantyne for preparing all the refreshments and lunch.

Pesky birds

Pesky birds

The sowing continues

The sowing continues