02 August 2012

Chores and payoffs

We've just had two nice days for garden work, despite predictions of rain from the weather services. Tant mieux. We've tried to take advantage of good conditions to get outside and get things done.

Still tilling up garden plots for planting in August

It's a little strange to be tilling up garden plots in August. Usually all that work is done in April or May. This year, though — almost out of necessity — we'll try to have a fall crop of carrots, white radishes, greens, and chard. If mother nature cooperates, we'll be harvesting in November or even December.

The tomato plot seems to be healthy despite damp conditions.

But not all the summer crops are failing, by any means. Neighbors and friends around the area have been telling us that their tomato plants either aren't bearing fruit or that the tomatoes themselves are diseased because of dampness. Ours are doing fine, and we even have a couple of big tomates out there that are starting to turn red — not to mention dozens of green ones that look healthy.

Thank goodness for the rototiller. Getting it repaired
and serviced in June was a good thing to do.

Yesterday afternoon some friends came over for apéritifs and we took them on a garden tour (at their requiest) before they left to drive home. Walt pointed out an aubergine (eggplant) that I hadn't yet seen, and we noticed quite a few poivrons — long sweet peppers and bell peppers — on the plants nearby.

A first harvest of cocos plats and a few haricots verts

And beans! The long flat Romano beans Walt planted are really bearing fruit right now. They're called haricots cocos plats on the markets and at the supermarkets around Saint-Aignan, and they can be really delicious (and expensive). We picked a pound and a half of them, 700 grams, a couple of days ago, and we're having them for lunch today. That's just the beginning of the payoff from garden work, we hope.


  1. I love the twisted tomato stakes. They make for a very sculptural garden.

  2. Enjoy those beans- they are my favorites! Here in Alabama they grow a rattlesnake green bean that has brown spots almost like camouflage. It is flat and turns dark green when cooked up.

  3. Wow, your tomato crop looks good and healthy! For us, our plants are doing quite well, but we have one that is riddled with blossom end rot. Why would that affect only one plant? Any hints?

  4. Now I know the french name for Romanos - one of my favorite bean varieties! So, how much would 700 grams cost you in your local markets? I think it is always interesting to know how much I've saved by doing the planting and growing myself.

    Are your tomato stakes resin? They do add interest to your healthy-looking tomato plants.

    Mary in Oregon

  5. Judy, I don't know anything about blossom-end rot except what I just read on Wikipedia, here. It's a calcium deficiency, and we don't seem to have it here because there is so much calcium (lime as in limestone, calcaire) in our soil.

    Mary, the flat beans run from 4 to 6 euros a kilo, depending on time of year. Ours would have been 70% or that, and we're hoping to get a lot more this month and into September.

  6. Mary, the tomato stakes are metal — stainless steel, I think. They cost one euro apiece at SuperU.

  7. Etienne, my cousin, has very suddently lost all his tomatoes because of "mildiou"/mildew...


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