Well what is the progress today? Not a lot of my own; Nicolas and Bernard have finished building the terrace wall above the pool; a work of art. And I have done a bit of planting. Jan is here to see the life we have in France and have a good inspection of the progress so far. And to help she has been weeding the lower vegetable bed most of the day. Next to her in the lower bed, I planted 18 little lettuce seedlings, weeded yet more between the rows of Swiss chard and cabbage. And harvested a few of the crops already in place.
Last night we arrived at 10pm, five hours later than scheduled after a wildcat train strike had us stranded in Lille. The tooth fairy must have been looking after us as we managed to hitch a lift with another stranded passenger who hired a car and drove us all the way to Valence train station where we parked our car. But it meant we arrived in the pitch dark. Just time to creep down to the garden by the light of the moon and snatch a few Swiss chard leaves to cook in our evening meal.
The vegetable beds are taking shape. The chard is growing so lustily that it looks well settled for the winter. The radish are monstrous and no doubt woody. But I’m leaving them in as they look decorative. And the cabbage and the spinach are coming along nicely. In between the cabbage plants I have transplanted the little winter lettuce seedlings. I sowed them in compost before I left last time, and here they are, putting on their true leaves in just a few weeks.
The onions and garlic seem to be fine. Putting on a bit of growth. Tricky weeding between the rows, but thank goodness everything is ruler straight and marked out with string.
I must get up to the top plot and have a good weed. Nicolas has said that the raspberry trellis won’t go in until the end of winter. He has to make the chestnut poles from the chateau’s forest, and they won’t be ready for a few months. But I really should dig in the compost that is on the surface of the garden.
We found time to collect a bucketful of chestnuts from the lower terraces on our walk around the property. No other fruit left perhaps some walnuts to gather. But it feels like winter is here and despite the sun, things are ending.
But it’s going to be a good few months of thinking about planting. Nicolas had to water the bank above the pool this afternoon. It seems counterintuitive, but he is trying to encourage all the brambles into growth so he can zap them with Round Up. He needs a bit of green first. And then once they are dead we can cover them with a weed proof fabric. And then plant with grasses. We had a short conversation about grasses as I was doing some laps getting more stones for the wall. Apparently some grass seeds are bad news fro the swimming pool liner. So we will need to plant sterile plants (like the very popular calamagrostis Karl Forester) or something that won’t seed all over the place. But we have a month before the panic of planting starts at least.
I forgot water the Mahonia and the daphne. Excuse me while I dump a bucket of water on both. They look fine. Not suffering terribly. And that is a relief.