Sunday, 11 March 2018

Baratzea - end of winter

The garden doesn't require daily care over the winter  and the first spring flowers are showing. 

And I have got quite a done between the seemingly endless days of rain. 

  • I have a new composter, courtesy of the Marie.  It took four visits, five phone call and seven e mails to locate which department actually would deal with my request, but I got it in the end.  The old one made of old pallets was not very pretty and didn’t work so well as it let in too much air.   The owner of the site was pleased to see the site look less ‘Heath Robinson'.

  •           I recuperated a van full of attractive Ribes cuttings around Christmas time which should prove useful as supports over the coming year. 


  •   I’ve laid in borders to delineate the beds from the pathways, using the planks from the palettes from the old composter.  Again  the land owner is pleased and the owner of the épicerié  that looks over the garden said how much nicer it looks.  I am thinking of laying down some ‘hard materials’  in the pathways , again to make it more attractive – oyster shells are my first choice – if I can find enough (When discussing this idea with a friend she did some research and told me that France throws away 40,000 tonnes of oyster shells a year, so there should be plenty enough for my garden). 

  •  I’ve planted up the fence around the garden with cuttings of forsythia, wisteria and hyacinth that I took from a guest house (with the owner’s permission) in January. Growing things around the perimeter was a priority last year but nothing took.  Hopefully these will, making the fence more colourful and attractive, visually enclosing the land, attracting insects, protecting the site against wind and increasing the ambient temperature. They're starting to take. And, the fig tree that I transplanted in November, that I thought hadn't survived the experience,  is showing signs of life.
  • I reinvested some of the profits from last year’s unexpected tomato sales in some bushes:  raspberry variants (Tayberry and Japanese wine berry) gooseberries (two varieties) and a vine to grow on the trellis.  I also took some raspberry shoots from a neighbour, though they’re not looking too healthy at the moment.   I met an Indian spice grower at Biofach who advised me to pinch out the flowers so all the energy goes into the plants’ development in the first year.  So I will take his advice and defer my gratification from those in the first year. 
  •  I have some magnificent chard and some weak looking leeks, brassicas  and black radish that might yield an early crop: partially keeping me in winter vegetables.  There were some potatoes (killed by the frost) now I understand why people 'trench' them.  
Many thanks to Claire and Joseba who supplied me with the raspberries (and did the research on oyster shell wastage) to Tony and Jane from Helette for the bush cuttings and to Will Hall, a couchsurfing guest who turned into a WWOFFER and did much of the work of sawing up the palettes from the old composter and laying down the borders. 

Spring is on the way! 

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