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

Agretti, salsola soda, liscari sativa or barba di frate....

Agretti, salsola soda, liscari sativa or barba di frate....

….call it what you will. This is a wonderful addition to the kitchen garden. It tastes rather like spinach crossed with samphire and has a lovely salty crunch when eaten raw and a tender quality when cooked in salty boiling water for six minutes.

I’ve read that they are notoriously difficult to germinate as the seed had short viability. I bought mine from Real Seeds and had unexpected success. I sowed them on 31 December 2018 in two split washing liquid containers.

Plastic washing liquid container cut two thirds of the way round to create a hinge under the handle.

Plastic washing liquid container cut two thirds of the way round to create a hinge under the handle.

I then filled the lower section with compost, sprinkled the seeds and covered them lightly with soil. I gave them a very light watering, sealed up the join in the container with tape, left the lid off and put them outside the greenhouse to wait for germination.

I then filled the lower section with compost, sprinkled the seeds and covered them lightly with soil. I gave them a very light watering, sealed up the join in the container with tape, left the lid off and put them outside the greenhouse to wait for germination.

By late February they had not only germinated but put on good growth as you can see in the left hand container.

By late February they had not only germinated but put on good growth as you can see in the left hand container.

I then potted them on in very early March. Here they are in the foreground.

I then potted them on in very early March. Here they are in the foreground.

By the end of March they were in the ground and growing on nicely. Seen here bottom right.

By the end of March they were in the ground and growing on nicely. Seen here bottom right.

Here they are as we are now picking from them. In Italy you buy them with the red roots on but I just cut them so they can grow on a bit more.

Here they are as we are now picking from them. In Italy you buy them with the red roots on but I just cut them so they can grow on a bit more.

Here they are after harvesting in the trug on the right.

Here they are after harvesting in the trug on the right.

Finally making it to the table sprinkled with lemon juice and a glug of olive oil, served with Colleen potatoes, Jessy sugar snap peas and carrots from the garden. The muffin on the right comprises garden spinach & onions, Roquefort cheese and egg. C’était trop bon.

Finally making it to the table sprinkled with lemon juice and a glug of olive oil, served with Colleen potatoes, Jessy sugar snap peas and carrots from the garden. The muffin on the right comprises garden spinach & onions, Roquefort cheese and egg. C’était trop bon.

Productive workshop

Productive workshop

June is busting out all over.

June is busting out all over.