The vegetable garden — le jardin potager in French — is mostly in now. We have had a long spell of fine weather, with just enough rain to keep the ground damp but not make it muddy. In recent years, May has been a very wet month, but not in 2018. We've only recorded about one inch (28 mm) of rainfall this month, so far.
I was able to run the rototiller (le motoculteur) over the garden plot three times this spring. That's pretty good, considering that the winter and early spring were so gloomy and rainy. Walt set plants out earlier this week. They are still very small — 25 tomato plants of four or five different varieties — along with flat beans (haricots plats), snow peas (pois gourmands), zucchini (courgettes), chard (blettes), and winter squash (potimarrons). Those curly-cue steel rods you see are tomato stakes.
Here's one of the tomato plants. They look healthy but have a lot of growing to do. In many years, we don't even get the garden planted before June 1, so we are slightly ahead of the game. I have some Tuscan kale seedlings that still need to be planted outside, and Walt plans to sow green beans (haricots verts) in stages over the next few weeks so that they will keep bearing all summer.
Meanwhile, it's time to harvest some grapevine leaves (feuilles de vigne). We have a few vines (pieds de vigne) in our yard, but they almost never produce many grapes — the plants don't get enough sun. We do however get a lot of nice leaves in the spring and we can blanch, stuff, and roll them to make dolmas (stuffed grape leaves). In the photo above, you can see the grape leaves in the background on the right. Those are sage flowers in the foreground, and the hedge in the back is hazelnut bushes.