Monday, March 6, 2017

Pottering in the Potager

It's a bit rainy here at the moment but in the dry spells we have been getting the veg garden ready for the season. When my son was a little boy he walked by when I was weeding in the garden and said 'you're good at soil Mum' - I think the insinuation was that I wasn't very good at actually growing things though. These days I like to think I am still 'good at soil' but now it's not just about keeping it weed free but improving the quality to get better crops.

We have completely fenced the potager now for three reasons:

  • To keep the chickens out when we let them out to roam
  • To keep the ragondin (coypu) and rabbits out
  • To keep the dogs with us securely when we are working in the garden

New compost bins

Weeded, manured and turned.

Can you see the garlic growing happily?

Although our raised beds give us a no dig system I do like to lightly fork over the soil and feel it for myself. I have added home grown compost and well rotted grass cuttings and am now adding well rotted horse manure. We also get cow manure from a neighbour so some beds will have that. We add compost from our local dechetterie (rubbish tip) where we can fill up the trailer for free and that adds bulk and texture. Then when I plant or sow I use bought compost in the hole or drill to add some more balanced feed. I save egg shells and scatter them to deter slugs but also to add calcium and later use epsom salts for my tomatoes and peppers to add calcium.  We also have raised beds in the greenhouse and here I grow early tomatoes and start my seedlings. According to this article playing in the soil is good for my health - I know I always enjoy my time pottering in the potager.

Ready for seed sowing and early tomato plants.

Tomato seeds are doing well on the kitchen window sill - when their 3rd and 4th leaves are established I will pot them on. I have to finish a spring GTU (General Tidy Up) in the greenhouse and then seed sowing can start with a vengeance. The broad beans I started on the kitchen window sill are doing well outside  and I have sown more directly outside too so fingers crossed. We are harvesting the last of the leeks and the cauliflowers to release those beds for other crops so a bit more playing with soil will go on there soon.

So much to look forward to in the potager but good harvests start with good soil prep so get your hands dirty, stay healthy and enjoy your garden as much as we enjoy ours.

A bientôt


Little Nell said...

Goodness Enid, all that industry! You thoroughly deserve to enjoy the fruits of your labours.

Enid Wilson said...

We love our garden and it is good to get pay back later