Potting the netager

We drove down to Valence today and I couldn’t resist picking up yet more netting for the potager. Sturdier stuff to withstand the four legged variety of pests. I had yearned for this sort of material for ages, but never found it in our local garden centre in Vernoux. So with the opportunity to go to a mighty outlet of Gamm Vert, I swooped.

From a distance it looks like a mighty pair of fishnet stockings. And hopefully will last longer than the flimsier green net I have. In quantity.

I think this gives a better view – I threaded a bamboo pole along the bottom to give the net some weight and hopefully it won’t blow away in the first gust of mistral.

While out, our neighbour Jean-Daniel was hard at work with a tonne of gravel and tar and was assiduously repairing all the holes in our shared road. Tis a patchwork of colours, but at least the front wheels no longer sink so alarmingly when one drives up. The road belongs to the commune, but as our coffers are so empty (the commune’s that is) it’s up to individuals to fork out for gravel and tar. Not a bad investment, I think we have invested 200 euros for the tonne of goo plus the services of the St Michel employee with the truck and his few hours of time.

As my offer of help was politely declined (don’t you just love that smell of tar and warmth and acrid top notes of hot melting summer surfaces) I had no option but to head up to the house, unload my goodies and then get stuck into sorting out the central potager path.

Once the kale was up the central path was a sorry sight of weeds, rampant chives and scruffy bark. I transplanted all the chives to the edge of the steps leading down to the vegetable bed. No action shots as I just don’t know if the plants will survive. Most of them are in flower, which is a bad time to be uprooting and re-designing the herb bed. But we shall see. If the chives could have germinated and survived an entire growing season under the towering kale and broccoli plants, then maybe they are tougher than I first imagined.

Back to the path: First I had to carefully scrape off all that lovely bark chip mulch. No way was that going to waste. Then it was pull back the fabric, roll right down to the bottom of the path. And peg down an extra layer of black weed proof fabric that would reach to both sides of the path. No gaps required this year for any whimsy direct sowing of seeds. That’s just an invitation for weeds to establish. No, this is the year of snipping little slits and planting seedlings into well covered soil.

To demonstrate, here is the path. Newly mulched and with a whole row of small coriander seedlings poking out the side.

And to finish the day (and the day was well finished by the time I got round to taking these pictures) here are the two ‘before’ shots of the bare earth in the newly cleaned Calabert (barn) and the messy herb garden that is as lush with weeds as it is with sage, thyme and euphorbia plants.

Tomorrow morning, first thing, we take delivery of three cubic metres of river gravel. Can’t wait.