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

The state of play

The state of play

Whilst we swelter in 35℃+, the garden is just about holding on. I’m watering the kitchen garden every two days, but the rest has to fend for itself. I’ve noticed that some of the five-year-old lavender is very unhappy and is beginning to fall over. However, in another area of the garden it looks very happy.

At about 7:30am this morning, lavender covered in box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis)

At about 7:30am this morning, lavender covered in box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis)

Other flower beds near the vegetable garden are having some water and have rewarded us with some lovely cutting flowers.

Corn-cockle lasts well in a vase and looks lovely in the house.

Corn-cockle lasts well in a vase and looks lovely in the house.

It’s been so hot that I have tried to do any jobs in the kitchen garden early in the morning. There are some mosquitoes about, but I slather myself in Dr J’s Natural insect repellent and it works a treat. This morning I hand-pollinated my courgettes, tied up some tomatoes and hoed the beds.

Male courgette flower with long stem & pollen coated stamen in the centre.

Male courgette flower with long stem & pollen coated stamen in the centre.

Female courgette flower with the stigma in the centre waiting to receive the pollen.

Female courgette flower with the stigma in the centre waiting to receive the pollen.

I just took off one male flower, turned it inside out then brushed it centre into the centre of female flowers. In the absence of as many bees as previously I want to ensure the flowers are pollinated.

so that we have more patty pans and other courgettes

so that we have more patty pans and other courgettes

Whilst I was in a pollinating kind of a mood I shook all the red sweetcorn to release powdery pollen from the male tassels into the air.

Whilst I was in a pollinating kind of a mood I shook all the red sweetcorn to release powdery pollen from the male tassels into the air.

With a bit of luck it will fall into the waiting silk of the female flowers below.

With a bit of luck it will fall into the waiting silk of the female flowers below.

…and form a corn cob like this one.

…and form a corn cob like this one.

You can see the damage the extreme heat of last week has done to the tomato leaves but they seem to be doing ok and producing sweet fruit.

You can see the damage the extreme heat of last week has done to the tomato leaves but they seem to be doing ok and producing sweet fruit.

I didn’t pick all the artichokes, but left some to develop into flowers. Insects absolutely love them.

I didn’t pick all the artichokes, but left some to develop into flowers. Insects absolutely love them.

However my heart has been stolen by the flowers of these dwarf purple beans. When they develop the pods will be dark purple. I can’t wait.

However my heart has been stolen by the flowers of these dwarf purple beans. When they develop the pods will be dark purple. I can’t wait.

I’m hoping that an early application of Bacillus thuringiensis will have seen off the codling moth that has plagued our apples in previous years. This tree has been planted in our old vineyard, dug up and moved with us when we built this house, then dug up and replanted when I realised we needed its space for a pool. I’m delighted that it seems to have forgiven us all that disruption. It has a bumper crop so far this year. My fingers are firmly crossed.

I’m hoping that an early application of Bacillus thuringiensis will have seen off the codling moth that has plagued our apples in previous years. This tree has been planted in our old vineyard, dug up and moved with us when we built this house, then dug up and replanted when I realised we needed its space for a pool. I’m delighted that it seems to have forgiven us all that disruption. It has a bumper crop so far this year. My fingers are firmly crossed.

Hens again!

Hens again!

Use what you have....

Use what you have....