Posted by: kathandroger | May 7, 2017

Jack Frost bites hard.

One of the things we love about France is the weather. A few degrees warmer than the UK and shorter winters. Jack Frost is a problem here as at home, but seems to bite harder just when we don’t expect it. This year the orchard was looking very good; the cherry trees were laden with germinal fruit, the peach tree had good blossom, and the figs were forming nicely, having done badly last year. We woke a couple of weeks ago to a very hard frost just when we least wanted it, and the damage was obvious. Now the fig shows no sign of recovery and I fear we will have to do without our figgy pudding again this year.IMG_3734But our losses are minor. The son of one of our cycling friends has a vineyard near Chinon. For the second year running they have had severe frost damage and reckon that about 80% of the grape crop has been destroyed. He is even talking about having to give up his way of life because of the losses. Compared to our losing a few handfuls of varying fruits we are whingeing about nothing. Who would be a farmer, depending on the vagaries of nature for a livelihood?

So because of the lessons learned over the past years our own kitchen garden has been left almost empty this year until the last few days. We have not overwintered any beans or garlic this year, and only planted some beans and peas about a month ago, and they are doing well.IMG_3735The early spuds were caught by the frost but seem OK, and the Jerusalem Artichokes are unstoppable. We have a few strawberries almost ready and some forced rhubarb, but are having to rely on the freezer for vegetables, although our spuds and onions have lasted through the winter. Working the garden in strips like this makes it very easy. I am a lazy gardener, but love home produce and want to produce it with as little effort as necessary. The strips are sized to be passed easily by the large rotavator, and the grass strips in between enable harvesting even in winter without getting muddy feet. They are the width of the lawn mower, so cutting the paths is easy. A very light dose of glyphosate to the edges keeps the grass off the growing areas, and the well water provides our watering system. Compost is made with all the vegetable waste and I only add a little blood bone and fish meal which we buy in the UK. With the lovely climate for growing vegetables we our virtually self sufficient and eat well from the garden with not too much effort. But Jack Frost, please stay away, we are going to plant our outdoor tomatoes after the Saint de Glaces next week, and you have done enough damage already!


Responses

  1. I love reading your blog Roger, always a delight. Pete and I have also held back with vegetable planting this year….we learnt the hard way last year with the frosts! Just starting to cautiously plant now.
    So pleased Kath and yourself are enjoying life and are obviously keeping busy 😊
    Keep frost free
    Sharon

    • Bonjour Sharon, lovely to hear from you. I hope all is well in Dorset and that you and the family are thriving. Is is nice to know that someone reads our blog! All the Best, Roger.


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