New to the area around north of Bellac. Want to start a potager for the two of us. Don’t mind doing conserves to keep fruit and veg for winter but do not want to be tied to it like a slave. Would defo like a mix all year round of fruit and veg. Is this too much to ask? What would you suggest growing in the area which is easy? Only to feed two. I have a horreur of being in the potager all day and every day weeding!
Look at no dig.
There is plenty of info on the net.
Also, look at growing veg which are expensive in tge shops, plus the usual glut ones,
You could do raised beds, big ol’ beds in a bottomless box with geotextile membrane underneath. Also good as no bending, or not much.
If you put a watering system in place when you build it it will save water time and stress if you go away.
Ask your neighbours what does well and then look up what you like but they don’t know about eg something like shiso which I eat lots of but you never find in local shops.
I can’t make any specific suggestions re fruit and veg, but I’d strongly recommend starting a decent sized herb garden as one seldom sees much variety of herbs and even a bunch of parsley is €1 or more. Obvious ones like parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme(!) but also coriander, tarragon and basil. Also rocket, and oriental salad leaves that are often difficult to find.
There aren’t any producteurs around us (12 upper Lot Valley) who grow sweetcorn, you just don’t see it on the markets, so I grow my own - OTOH I don’t grow tomatoes because we have many local growers who grow many different heritage toms.
It is duck food, that’s why
Edited to add if you plant rosemary or bay they will become huge in a very short time, my rosemary is now about 1.5 m tall and wide and deep, my bay tree is above the roof. You’ll prob have to replant sage every few years. These 3 I wouldn’t bother putting in a potager but in some other place where they won’t be a nuisance.
Second the no dig approach. That and lots of shredding make for a happy gardener.
But the constraint is watering! Home grown tomatoes tastes 400 times better than shop bought, but if they don’t get regular watering they are miserable.
So quick things that pay dividends to us are peas. Yes you have to water but not for long. And they taste glorious fresh and freeze wonderfully.
I have a mad pumpkin patch with varieties you can’t get in the shops. Grown on a lasagna bed (look it up) and has all the grass cuttings dumped on it in the early season so doesn”t generally need watering. In fact from now on I’ll do nothing until I harvest in October. Most pumpkins store well and keep us going until March. But they are wild and uncontrollable so you need a dedicated space.
And I am trying to populate the world with kalettes. Very rewarding and keep us in green veg through winter.
Also second herbs….we have sariette, coriander, lime leaf, lemon grass, curry leaf, as well as the usuals. Verveine for drying for tisanes (or gin!).
Good stuff. Thank you. What size of patch do you think I need? My previous experience in France is everything grows like mad. We have a well and oh has fitted pump so watering should be hopefully good as water is shown to be within drinking norms
Make the boxes a size that suits you, so you can get at everything easily, then have maybe 8 or 10 of them, that way you can rotate your production and maybe have flowers for cutting too, which will also encourage bees. Even if you don’t use them all, all the time, it doesn’t matter.
And round here ducks are people food
(nice with sweet corn too)
[quote=“vero, post:5, topic:44400”]
Yesterday afternoon we had a tour of a private restored chateau a few kms up the Lot from us Château de Montarnal — Wikipédia It had had an impressive rosemary hedge and has me made consider a smaller version for our rather more modest residence
The chateau is a complete version of the ruined one 30m or so immediately above our house that from about 1100, similarly controlled our stretch of the river. Unfortunately our chateau probably became redundant in the mid C15th and has been falling down ever since, whereas the one we visited has probably been continuously inhabited.
It’s probably better to start small - and succeed - rather than be too ambitious at the start and be defeated by weeds.
What I would do is make a list of the veg you like , and perhaps pick 6 that you really like (or that are expensive in your area) and grow those. I always chose varieties that have the word ‘flavoursome’ (or similar) in the description - I grow for taste!
I prefer raised beds, mine are about 3 feet wide (easy to reach to the centre from each side) and the length is up to you.
Some plants need permanent beds - rhubarb and asparagus for example - whilst others I grow in beds that are rotated yearly in a 3-year cycle - example:
Year1: Roots (Bed A), Brassicas (Bed B) and all others (Bed C)
Year 2: Brassicas (Bed A), all others (Bed B) and Roots (Bed C)
Year 3: All others (Bed A), Roots (Bed B) and Brassicas (Bed C)
For most veg, I find it best to plant a little and often. For example, I recently had a packet of cabbage with 77 seeds. If I plant them all at once, I’ll have a glut. If I plant 4 or 6 per week over the growing season, I will have a continuous supply for longer.
Don’t be afraid to eat young plants, for example, I will happily cook 3 small cabbages (especially if I have 6 on the go!) rather than wait until I have fully mature heads to choice from, because some may run to seed.
Keep on top of your watering and weeding. For weeding, a few minutes every second day or so is better that 4 hours every fortnight.
I use netting to help keep pests at bay; for brassicas I use a mesh fine enough to keep out the cabbage-white butterfly. A finer mesh still for the asparagus to keep off the asparagus beetle.
If snails and/or slugs are a nuisance, that’s a whole other ball game but there are plenty of ‘remedies’ to try, such as beer traps, nematodes or simply picking them off.
I grow strawberries in containers and get a decent drop every year. I also grow carrots in containers (maybe 2 feet deep) - this keeps them high enough to avoid being attacked by the low-flying carrot root fly.
I don’t use any pesticides as I want to eat clean food. I only use organically produced compost to mulch each bed every year. I make my own compost but buy a bag or two when needed.
Veg like perpetual spinach as great as you just harvest the leaves you want, and the veg keeps growing.
One of my future projects is to plant a couple of fruit trees - apple, pear - and lots of canes for raspberries, gooseberries, loganberries, blackcurrants.
The above is just what I do, others will have different advice, no doubt.
If you can find a copy, I found ‘The Vegetable & Herb Expert’ by Dr.D.G.Hessayon very useful.
Enjoy your garden
Yes, I don’t understand people who wait until eg courgettes are the size of their forearm to eat them when they are a million times better the length of your hand, max. Of course if you plant yellow ones it’s easier to spot them
One thing we wished we’d planted many years’ ago, because our friends’ tastes so wonderful - asparagus. Takes several years to mature, so start early.
We love purple sprouting broccoli and cavalo nero and certainly they are not easy to find round us.
We find shop/market French beans are old and tough or flabby. There is nothing like a young French bean just picked and cooked for a couple of minutes.
We adore coriander and can never have too much in our curries and risottos and the like. It’s a winter herb, tends to bolt over summer but then seeds itself around so with luck will come up again in the autumn. If possible get fresh seeds from someone already growing it and scatter them around.
I’m one of those genetically ill-disposed towards coriander, it tastes like soap to me.
Same here. Cold rice noodles tossed with nuoc mam, sesame oil, a bit of chopped garlic chilli and ginger some mint and a lot of coriander with some crushed peanuts on top is heaven. And so many many more delicious things
I agree about the asparagus, and you can’t harvest it after the first year it appears. The key aspect of a garden will be the watering. It can be a tiring and tiresome task, and absence doesn’t help. I was always very nervous about automatic watering because you have to leave the water on. Better, if possible, to get somebody to do it for you.
Exactly what we have done. Lots of 60cm high large raised beds with auto watering overnight. Lots of produce with minimal weeding or maintenance. You just have to make sure you keep the soil inside them in good condition from year to year. We have three 1m3 compost heaps that keeps us well supplied. The only things we grow outside of them are strawberries, raspberries, herbs and the various fruit trees we have.
Round here, the plants (especially my toms) grow like weeds, but the weeds grow even faster
Think the raised beds sound a really good idea and far less work than digging which pleases us no end
What did you make the raised beds out of?