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

Basil tip

Basil tip

You know that time when you buy a pot of basil because your seeds aren’t up yet and you are planning something Italian for supper. The pot comes home from the supermarket looking full and lush. You use a few leaves from the top, forgetting to take the whole thing out of the cellophane. Then you think, well, maybe it’s better off in the cellophane then I can water it without it leaking. A day or two later you notice it’s starting to go mouldy around the bottom leaves through lack of air, so you take it out of the cellophane, at which point all the long floppy shoots fall over and you aren’t planning any more Italian food for a few days so you leave it for a further day and finally lob the whole thing in the bin.

Well don’t. Here’s the thing. What you actually bought were lots of basil plants that were grown super-quickly in ideal conditions so they’d look plump and irresistible. However, unbeknown to you, they had already filled their pot and used up every bit of nutrient so they are programmed to keel over quickly to make you go off and buy another lot. 6 basil seeds are tiny and cost absolutely nothing to the supplier in relation to what they charge you for a very short-lived plant. But here’s how to fox them and to save both your plants and money.

Take your plant/s out of the pot. Tear it apart until you have separated each plant. I have six in the photo. Don’t worry about tearing the roots, they’ll make new ones. Fill a pot per plant with the best compost you can afford. Plant each individual plant in its own pot, as deeply as you can, and water it really well. Stand it in water for a day, then take it out and let it drain. From then on water it whenever the pot feels a bit light. Snip off leaves from the top for your salads, pasta dishes and garnishes and the plant will start to bush out.

Buon Appetito!

Hexagonal planting

Hexagonal planting

Water, what water?

Water, what water?