Potager poppies

The definition of a French potager is one where flowers and vegetables and fruit are combined. And hopefully in artful and artistic combinations.   For this reason I am more than happy to let any flower self seed anywhere it chooses. And I deftly move it or weed it out.

For that reason I have a forest of cosmos which I must control, and poppies anywhere they choose.

Sadly for me, they chose a cabbage patch.   I have finally removed the cloche covering these flowers, as they were pushing up against the cabbage moth proof fabric.

And even though I knew they had to go, I put off the grim task all day.

There is so much weeding work needed here. I started with the potatoes as I couldn’t actually see them.   The red clover which I thought would be a sensible ground cover and green manure grew so well in this wet season that they were starting to overwhelm everything – potatoes, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, aubergines, sunflowers.

So out came a monster pair of scissors and off I went. The plot now looks decidedly bald. But the potatoes now stand a chance.

Artur came to join me and didn’t seem to leave me alone all day. I swear he didn’t move more than five feet away from me all day.   I loved his company. But not when I was thinning the carrots. He kept on lying winsomely in front of me demanding to be patted.   But he was forever lying on the crop

I weeded around him, and managed to get quite a tidy amount of thinnings for dinner.   They went perfectly with the roast chicken and potato gratin.

It bodes well for the rest of the crop that the weeds are so tasty.

Rain was threatening as I was just starting on the necessary weeding around the dwarf French beans.   So I knew I had to crack on.

I haven’t really rasied the shade cloth from the salad bed since I covered the veg in March.   So it was in sore need of a sort out. A lot of the oriental salad varieties had gone to seed. All the rocket, most of the mustard seeds and so many plants I don’t even recall planting.

Still, I have plenty of lettuce and these very juicy looking spinach to look forward to.

They glow in this light. Artur naturally had to charge under the cloth and get caught trying to get out the other side. A very trying cat antic indeed.

I rescued him and tried to nip back to the carrots I hadn’t been able to thin while he was lolling.

Next up was to plant out the courgettes and cucumbers in spare spots between the carrot rows.   A lavish watering  while rain was threatening.

In fact I suspect I’m much happier watering than weeding. Who isn’t. You can water and daydream and blast the black fly off the broad beans at the same time.

But as it was actually about to start raining properly I bit the bullet and pulled up the poppies. So painful! Luckily there are dozens more poppy plants dotted about, so I tried not to feel too guilty. And I left one poppy plant behind as a reminder. And hopefully to let it seed about for next year.

Drizzle drew me indoors and only one quick dash to the potting shed ensued. Artur, I am relieved to know has taken up residence on a table on a blanket. And looks set to snooze the afternoon and evening away. Here’s hoping he doesn’t confront the pine marten who left a little surprise poo package on the floor last night.   No escaping the evidence that he came in and sniffed about.