Posted by: kathandroger | July 24, 2011

All well in the potager

A week ago we were still experiencing a severe drought and everything was looking brown and shrivelled. Then the rains descended. By mid week the drought (la secheresse) was declared over and by the end of the week we were fed up with the bloomin’ stuff! Whilst the poor holiday makers have been disconsolate, our potager has been flourishing!

The courgettes, as usual, are going crazy. Each year I tell myself not to plant as many, but when all the seeds germinate I can’t resist but put them in. However, the tomatoes (all 42 plants!) are starting to ripen well, so the ratatouille pot will be recommissioned very soon. Here are some of our tomatoes, which we have nicknamed ‘tittie’ tomatoes, after our goat…

We have been running a little experiment to see if different ‘feed’ makes a difference. We planted some tomatoes in manure, some in nettles and some in just soil. So far I have to say that I really can’t tell the difference. One of our friends told us he had seen nettle feed (nettles soaked in water we presume) on sale at 8 Euros a litre…I wouldn’t bother!

The squash are coming along nicely too. We’ve just gone for one variety this year, potimarron. which are tastier and more manageable in size than all the weird and wonderful things we tried last year. First one tonight, roasted with roast pork…

Now we’ve commented before on how conservative the french are with their gardens – they only grow what they have always grown. This year we’ve tried some runner beans for the first time since we’ve been here and the locals seem intrigued, though not wholly convinced. There actually is a good reason when they aren’t grown here – it is a bit warm for the beans to set once they have flowered. We were having that problem, but since we have had a week of English weather, they clearly think they are back in Blighty and have got a second wind!

Finally, we wrote a few months ago about the giant onions we were planting from seed. Well of the 144 seedlings potted on we have over 100 onions and whilst they are not the promised 6lbs (yet?!), they are doing pretty well…





  1. Hi! I came across your lovely blog through a Tag Search this morning. I love your Potager and the thoughts of a ratatouille makes my mouth water. Enjoy your first squash – Ronnie

  2. We’ve noticed the “Painted Lady” Runner Beans are going better now, too.
    But Pauline also planted a type called Moonshine, which is a cross between a French and a Runner. This is cropping mightily, has good runner-bean flavour and is stringless. We are well pleased. Previous attempts at this type of cross have been abject failures on the flavour and texture front… this time they’ve got it right.
    Painted Lady will be grown for the flowers in future and any runner-beans that set will be eaten as extras or left to seed [the big beans are wonderful in winter stews.
    The nettle manure [purin d’ortie] is evil stuff to make… smells to high heaven [or should’nt that be “hell”!]…. you need to rot the nettles in water and use the juice that results. It works wonders, really does. But, you would need to site the ‘brew vessel’ somewhere far away… like in the furthest corner of the sheep and goat field… but well away from your sitting out pavilion. [Same principle as “comfrey manure”.]
    On the acacia front, things are calming down here, and after we return from the World Meeting of 2CVs in Salbris next weekend we’ll email about coming over and cutting some down. See you soon, we hope.
    Tim & Pauline

  3. Sorry, for Moonshine…. read Moonlight! I was obviously in need of some of the former and made a need-triggered response!!

  4. superbe potager ! le mien n’est pas aussi beau !

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