how does our garden grow

It’s a long Bank Hol weekend for my husband.  In France, workers missed out on a day off on 1st May because it was a Sunday, but 5th May is a public holiday (Ascension) and the husband managed to get tomorrow off work too. So a lovely 4-day weekend to look forward to.

Sun is shining, skies are bright blue, not a cloud in sight, and we’ve been gardening.  First photo to show you of our Lily of the Valley which is a little late this year

garden 01 muguet

Only a few bells have opened, and I expect it’ll be another week before that shadey corner of our garden is lovely and fragrant.  Everything else seems to be  coming to life though.  In our little herb garden, things are doing well

garden 03 herbs

I’m not exactly sure what we’ve got there. Things like sage, laurel, rosemary, chives, thym and mint.  Theres’ probably some taragon too.   It’s in a nice practical spot, just a few strides down the gravel path, and we have fresh herbs for cooking.  That’s Abby in the photo . . . she was accompanying me on my little walk about.  Here she is again, having a stretch lol.

garden 02 abby

Such a tiny thing, she is, despite being almost one year old.  Ducky tips the scales at 6 kilos these days, but Abby doesn’t weigh much more than 3 kilos still.

garden 04 herbs

The fig tree, also has some early, baby figs.  I’ve learned my lesson from last year with figs.  We will be eating them fresh from the tree this year. No point in trying to wait for a reasonable sized harvest and fig fruit don’t keep very well once they’re ripe.

Those photos were taken in the garden, just behind our house . . . I then wandered into what we call our veggie garden, to see what was happening there.

We invested in a few bits this year: a rotovator and also two temporary greenhouses.  The greenhouses are already planted with tomato plants, courgettes, melons, and a couple of rows of spinach, beetroot and parsnips.

Elsewhere we have

garden 05 cardons

a row of “cardons” (cardoon in English).  Hubbie is very pleased with himself because he grew these little babies from seed, and we have a total of 8 healthy plants all in a row.

garden 06 strawberries

The strawberry patches took rather a bashing earlier in the year because we made the mistake of letting hens have free run in the veggie garden lol.  This explains some of the bald patches.  However, strawberry plants are resilient things, and they’re gradually covering more soil . . . and first fruit are already on their way!

garden 07 strawberries

Raspberries were pruned right back and have begun to flourish again, although it’s too early for flowers

garden 08 raspberries

And I’m getting very excited about the future fruit production this year!  We have 2 pear trees in the veggie garden (planted last Spring) that are already showing signs of fruit

garden 09 pears

As well as 2 old pear trees in the orchard, and 3 plum trees which are covered in little fruit buds already!  Cherry tree is doing well, and 2 of our remaining apple trees are just coming into blossom.

garden 10 resting

Not everything is edible ^^  This 25m2 bit of soil has been turned over and replanted with prairie grass seed – it will be for the hen coop this winter.

garden 11 resting2

And this 20m2 plot of grass was replanted and will also be reserved for the hens in the autumn.  Oh yes, have to think ahead and make sure that my lovely hens have decent pecking ground later on in the year!

garden 12 potatoes

We have also planted other veggies . . . here, our little patch of potatoes (the “ratte” variety, which are lovely little new potatoes).

garden 13 brocoli

Brocoli did extremely well last year, so we’ve planted 6 brocoli plants (with celery at the closest end) and, to the left, we’ve just sown two rows of beans: 1 row of green and 1 row of butter beans.

garden 13 brussels

Opposite, we are trying brussel sprouts this year (yep another celery on the end).

garden 14 bettes

And our “côtes de bettes” (chards) survived the winter and are already flourishing for a second year.

garden 15 vines

On the old wall, at the far end of our veggie garden, the grape vines are spreading. We have 3 old vines and 3 new.  They’re for “table grapes” not wine. And most of the vegetation you can see on the ground is wild strawberries . . . so yep, more fruit and vitamins!

We’ve still got lots of land all ready for more plantations . . . as weather warms up, we’ll be adding more tomato plants and sowing more beans.   I need to invest in a large freezer before the summer.  The plan for this year will be to enjoy fresh fruit and veggies as they ripen, but also to freeze as much as possible so we don’t have to buy much produce over the winter months.

garden 16 abby

And last photo – yep that’s Abby again . . . obviously spotted an insect.  Doesn’t take much to keep a cat amused, does it?


10 thoughts on “how does our garden grow

    • ^^ when we bought this house (late 2014) it was in the knowledge that hubbie wasn’t far from retirement, in fact he’ll be retiring this Sept. This means, our priority was to buy somewhere with a fair bit of land (albeit a bit more out in the sticks) so that he could have the land and veggie garden he’s always dreamed of. He therefore has plenty of land to play around on, and I won’t be complaining because gardening keeps him happy. Not only that, it keeps him out of my hair so I can do some crafting lol and puts food on the table!

  1. Claire, I am green with envy especially with your herbs. ^^ Here the dandelions have bloomed but we’re still waiting for the tulips to open, lol. There is such satisfaction in growing your own food and sometimes being creative with using it up …. one year our chard crop was so plentiful that we tried making ‘cabbage’ rolls with it and they were absolutely delicious – reminded us of dolmades (sp). Just yesterday my hubby and I were reminiscing about the cantaloupe crop we had one year – we, along with 3 children, couldn’t keep up with them; our daughter, a young teenager, was quite creative in making beverages with them; and we can still see the kids pulling the wagon piled high with cantaloupes stopping at each neighbour’s house offering them free cantaloupe. k

  2. You’ve obviously been working really hard to get all the fruit and veggies looking so good. You’ll definitely need that extra freezer 🙂

    Duckie is huge. Frodo was weighed at his booster appointment this morning and he’s just 5.3kg, but he’s supposed to be a big chap LOL

  3. I thought Maine Coone were supposed to be big cats? or doesn’t Frodo know that?
    Yes, Ducky doesn’t actually look huge but he’s very compact and pure muscle.
    And yup, we’ve only got 50 litres of freezer capacity at the moment so I’m looking at buying something with 300 litre capacity. That should be big enough lol.

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