Pinching the idea from Colin’s blog ( https://colinbisset.com/2020/07/23/propagating-in-a-pandemic/?wref=tp ) I feel somewhat inspired to share my humble efforts in the veggie patch. It can be a challenge in this region of France where we get blisteringly hot summers and everything dries to a crisp. The ground is chalky, poor in soil and nutrients, and it can be a real struggle to keep on top of it all. Fortunately I have a deep well in the garden with a steady supply of water from the aquifer, but in times of drought it does run dry. Then I have the back-up of an electric pump and 2 huge water containers giving me 1000’s of litres of rainwater. The annual warnings of an impending drought have already been issued, and in fact there are currently 33 départements on water restrictions. Overall, planting in the garden has to be based on the flowers and shrubs that can cope with the dry and the heat, and people have to learn that they can’t ‘waste’ water on trying to maintain a green lawn that would be better suited to a stately home! Mine is currently resembling a cracked, crispy brown paddock. The grass will return.
The earlier days of confinement meant that we were very limited in travel and like many around the world, there was plenty of time to spend at home. I am blessed with having a reasonably large enclosed garden and being able to potter around outside was a joy. There is great truth in the healing properties of a garden and much has been said about the lowering of stress levels, the joy and happiness that can be gained, a great sense of wellbeing and calm. I feel very sorry for those that didn’t have this respite and I am sure that confined to a high-rise appartment block would have had me tearing my hair out.
Like an expectant kid at Christmas, I planted various seeds in the greenhouse and must have looked at them at least twice a day to see if there were any telltale green shoots. The excitement when they actually sprouted was wonderful. Nurtured and tended to with love bordering on obsessional, they survived and eventually were transplanted into the raised veggie patch. Too many were planted knowing that the snails and slugs would take their fill before I could trap the little buggers! Now I am reaping the rewards and saving some money in the process. The joy continues every day when I inspect them, harvesting as required, freezing the excess or sharing with my neighbours. The greatest joy is the flavour of fresh food that I have grown myself.
The birds love my succulent lettuce …. if only they could get to them!
Dwarf French beans that seem to go on forever.
Not yet ripe …… Espelette chillies.
Unlike the supermarket cucumbers, mine do not bend!
You cannot beat walking past and picking ripe sun-warmed tomatoes.
Hopefully you have a garden or some space where you can enjoy the gift of growing a few things. If not, do try it and I think you will love the experience of watching it all grow and then picking some fresh herbs, a lettuce or two and perhaps some tomatoes.