Sunday, March 8, 2009
As it has finally stopped raining, the sun has been shining and migrating birds spotted, I decided it was time to faire le jardin. I must have been about right in my timing too, as I suddenly noticed heaps of elderly French men out and about for the first time since last year, wielding rotavators.
The first time I attempted a veggie patch, I was rather overambitious. Having seen numerous enormous French potagers with serid rows of leeks, standing to attention, I thought I would do the same. I had a mad townie fantasy of being able to be entirely self sufficient and feed the family all year round on a range of delicious organic, home grown produce. Ha.
What I didn't realise was that these plots also come complete with Papy, the retired but able bodied grandad who wields the rotavator and deals with les mauvaise herbs (weeds to you and me) and Mamie, the granny, who does the rest. Left alone with just me and my pathetic collection of B&Q garden tools from circa 1990, les mauvaises herbes soon won. I never did see the onions, the potatoes were struck by blight and in the end we put the horses into the garden to deal with the overgrown field which passes as a lawn and let them eat the remnants.
So this year, we have been a bit cleverer. Husband has made me a range of raised beds, all of which have been filled with top quality horse poo and compost. They are almost slug proof and should be easy to weed. A nifty addition of chicken wire should stop them being used as a high rise cat toilet, so all in all, I have great hopes for this summers crop.
I am also only growing the things we all like to eat and in the appropriate quantity. It took nearly two years to finish the first years courgettes. And my mother is still traumatised by excessive bean harvesting.
I suspect that the eventual cost per tomato may be akin to buying the sun dried version from a top London deli, but hey, its all part of the French experience. Now I just need to buy a floral overall from the local market to wear whilst doing the housework and I will be fully integrated. Vive la Good Life!