21 April 2016

Mowing and tilling

Yesterday the garden grew. No, not plants, because there are few planted in the ground so far, and they are growing very slowly. When I say the garden grew, I mean I increased the amount of land that is tilled and ready to receive this year's tomato, pepper, eggplant, collard, and kale plantings — etc.


I do wonder sometimes how long we will be able to keep doing this kind of gardening. Tilling is hard work, and some years weeding is a lot of trouble. I guess we will continue as long as we are able, because it's so good to have homegrown tomatoes, for example, which are so much better than store-bought tomatoes. And it's good to have greens like kale and collards, which are not readily available — yet — in our supermarkets.

Violettes

We started the garden in 2004, when we "offered ourselves" a rototiller, with four 4 meter x 4 meter plots (at 39 inches, a meter is three inches longer than a yard). Later, we started two more plots for overflow. One was a long strip, maybe 10 m x 1 m, which was good for tomato plants, and the other was a 3 m x 2 m plot where we've grown greens some years, and potatoes other years. Right now, it's planted in rhubarb and strawberries, both more or less perennials.

Pâquerettes

Last year, we tilled up the strips of grass that separated the four original garden plots, turning what was 64 m² of worked ground into one big plot covering 100 m² — that's about 1100 sq. ft. Yesterday, I tilled some new ground, combining the 100 m² plot with the long, narrow strip, and tilling up the long strip of grass that separated them. So now the main garden plot must be about 120 m², or 1300 sq. ft., or about double what we started with 12 years ago.

The grass, the garden plot, and the greenhouse tent

Meanwhile, Walt has mowed the whole yard, and it looks great. Mowing in springtime is satisfying but also distressing, because it means that many pretty wildflowers end up mowed down. That includes most of the primroses, a lot of little blue violets, patches of lawn daisies (pâquerettes or "Easter daisies" in French), and even a native orchid or two (I noticed at least one, an orchis pourpre, commonly called a pentecôte in French or a lady orchid in English, growing out there a couple of days ago).

You can see in this photo, and in one of the ones above, why we had another part of the back hedge cut lower — for the views and the increased sunlight.

Anyway, that's how it goes. Walt also moved a lot of plants off the front terrace (which I prefer to call "the deck") and power washed the whole thing. We never had to bring all those plants inside last winter, because the weather stayed so mild. They all survived. We'll put some of them back out on the deck for the summer, but not all — too much clutter.

13 comments:

  1. Off topic, I just read Bob Rossis's blog post about your diner at le Moulin de Chaudé and I'm already salivating at the thought of going there with you and Walt in little more than a month now!

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    1. Yes, we've been there twice now and it's good. It's also not far from our house.

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  2. Looks fantastic, and I can't wait to follow the garden's bounty :)

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    1. Let's hpe for a bounty, not a washout.

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  3. My dad gardened until he broke his leg planting lima beans at ...95. You never know how long you will want to plow and plant, but enjoy this new season- we'll enjoy watching your garden grow.

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    1. 95. Imagine! I've tried growing lima beans, with limited success. Maybe I'll give up on that idea.

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  4. Ken, reading about how wet your ground has been this year made me think that a raised bed might work for you--not the whole big garden, but a smaller patch for your early plantings. You create the raised bed once and then never walk on it again. The first year it's slightly heavy work but in subsequent years you just kind of twirl the soil to prepare it for planting. If you're interested, google "John Jeavons." That's who I learned the technique from.

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    1. We built a couple of raised beds for our vegetable garden in our back yard in California more than 20 years ago. They were great. We've talked about doing that here, but now we're thinking that what we really need is a greenhouse. The "greenhouse tent" is a trial run for that project.

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  5. Once you mow the primroses, I guessing they won't come up again til next year? They sell them in the nurseries here; I don't know why, we're not the right climate. Those violets sure are pretty.

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    1. That's right about the primroses. There turn out to be a lot of violets out there, because Walt didn cut the grass too closely on this first pass. We had a nice day today and got a lot more work done outside.

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  6. Bien revenus . Belles photos

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    1. Merci, T., et merci pour les photos prises et envoyées l'autre jour.

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    2. Merci, T., et merci pour les photos prises et envoyées l'autre jour.

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