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

What a difference a year makes

What a difference a year makes

On February 28 2018 we had heavy snow and sub-zero temperatures. It had been as low as -10℃ overnight. I had wrapped up all the citrus plants but they took a heavy toll. When I released them from their winter coats on this day last year, the 24 March, they looked dreadful.

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But look at them now. These are just two lemons that live close by the house on a south facing wall. All the citrus have recovered thanks to a heavy prune last year and some tender care during the heat of last summer.

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This winter I decided not to cover them, working on the principle that I would rather try to have strong plants that had benefitted from winter sunshine and light, so that they might weather any storms better. I did wrap all around their roots with insulating material and hessian. I watered them during the winter too. OK, it’s been more mild this winter, but we have had colossal winds and temperatures as low as -6℃, with just one day of snow.

It’s been ridiculously warm this weekend, for this time of year. It has been around 25℃ during the day but down to 6℃ overnight in the vegetable garden. The greenhouse has been sweltering so the blasted wasps are steadily taking up residence. I’d like to get all my plants out of the greenhouse as soon as I can, but it’s still not consistently warm enough for the tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, melons or courgettes. So I’ll have to suffer the anxiety of being stung by a wasp. Time to carry the epipen I think.

Today I planted out more borlotti beans, dwarf purple queen long beans and a couple of rows of Jessy dwarf peas that I’d grown in modules in the greenhouse. It’s all looking very happy, now that I’ve covered everything against the birds and butterflies. It was a pleasure to bring in some flowers for the house for the first time this year.

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Beans, peas and more beans

Beans, peas and more beans

Shock and awe

Shock and awe