15 June 2010

What's growing?

It still feels like summer is having a hard time getting off the ground this year, and we still have plants in seedling pots waiting to be set out in the vegetable garden. Recently it's been too rainy and cool for us to do anything.

As usual, we have a lot of extra tomato plants — 20 are already in the ground, and we've given at least a dozen to friends and neighbors — but we have room so we are going to plant some more. We also have 8 or 10 little cayenne and other hot red pepper plants that need setting out. Unless the weather warms up soon, they aren't going to do much.

Radishes growing in the vegetable garden. The greens
are good to eat, as well as the roots.

What is growing right now? Well, the sweet corn has come up. Walt put in 24 plants, I think. Radishes are thriving, and while we aren't eating the radishes yet, we are enjoying the greens in salads and pesto as we thin the rows of plants.

Potato plants, with the vineyard in the background.
It's about time to start digging spuds.

The potatoes are amazing — at least they look amazing above ground. The plants are tall and very green, with some flowers that we keep pinching off so that the plants' energy will go into the roots. Pretty soon I'm going to dig some potatoes to see if they are ready. They've been growing for more than 60 days now, which is enough for the precocious variety.

Sour cherries — cerises acides — are good for making pies and jam.

There are a lot of cherries all around, at different stages of ripeness. The most spectacular tree is just outside our property. I've had my eye on it. A couple of days ago, somebody came and picked a lot of the cherries, fairly stripping the low-hanging branches of fruit. I hope it was the people who own the land the tree is on who got the benefit of the fruit.... since I didn't!

The neighbors' groseillers are loaded down with red currants.

The neighbors across the street have huge crops of red currants — groseilles in French — and raspberries — framboises. They don't seem to be picking them, and soon the birds will find and devour the berries. I need to ask the neighbors if we can go a pick some, especially the grosesilles — they make good jelly and good tarts.

Black currants are called cassis in French. They make good jelly
and pies too, when you have enough of them, as we did last year.

We have one black currant bush— a cassissier, which produces cassis berries— in our yard, and there's fruit on it but not enough to do much with. Last year we had plenty — well, enough to make one jar of jam. I'm not sure what we will get this summer.


  1. We lost all our currants in the late frost :(

  2. In your blog I see your fabulous cooking, your fine home and garden and the beauty of your village and the surrounding sights with spectacular vistas. Is there a local elementary or primary school nearby?

  3. Those red currents are beautiful.

    Is the potato the entire root of the plant? Do you get multiple pommes de terre from the same plant over a season? And if you dig them up, does the plant die?

  4. Ken, it's already hotter than hades here in the South. Would you like me to ship you some of our heat along with some nasty humidity?

  5. I don't believe you will starve any time soon.

    The verification word is "edinac." You do live in Eden!

  6. I don't think I've ever tasted currants.

  7. Everything looks beautiful! Over my lifetime I have probably picked a ton of red currants. Well, maybe I'm exaggerating a little.

    Starman - you don't know what you're missing. Buy a jar of good quality red or black currant jelly. It won't be as good as Ken's but you'll get the idea.


  8. Ann, yes, there are primary schools in Saint-Aignan and all the surrounding villages.

    Diogenes, I'm a novice at potato growing. I've been told you can dig around in the mound of soil at the base of each plant and pull out just a few potatoes at a time. Or you can dig them all at once. That would involve pulling the plant out and discarding all the green parts.

    Kendall, you can keep the humidity but a few breaths of that hot air would be nice.


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