Tag Archives: gardening at altitude

April, come she will

And finally the garden bursts into life.

After a fortnights holiday its good to see so much now going on in the garden. I’ve got a first row of early potatoes “Mona Lisa” in and all the seeds I’ve sown are beginning to sprout in the modules. Including the hard to grow from seed artichokes.

The garlic is looking good and the shallots are now sprouting.

We have also had some help with our gardening!…

Along the local lane blackthorn is showing as well as hazel and pussy willow.

There is still a lot to do and as the next three days are going to be warm and sunny, we will be planting some more potatoes, and sowing some beetroot and turnip.

Fine weather returns and planting can resume.

So a week ago the garden looked like this…..

We had what is hopefully our last few days of snow so now we can get on with the garden work.

We have planted up some soft fruit this week. Raspberries in the veg plot and red currants in the orchard. We are infilling between our fruit trees with different currants and gooseberries.

The rasps are above the blueberry bushes, and the blueberries are budding well.

So now we have a green view from the shed rather than the winter wonderland of a week ago.

Potatoes are now chitting and will be planted out early May, last frost day here is May 25th.

Also I’ve sowed numerous seeds in the garden shed, beetroot, lettuce, turnip and globe artichoke.

This coming week the shallots and jerusalem artichokes go in – weather permitting! Though we have had temperatures topping out at 21C this last week and no frosts forecast for the next few days.

Preparing raised beds

As we have had a spell of dry fine weather we have got on with preparing the raised beds. We had three prefabricated plastic beds we had brought over from the UK and these are now all assembled with garlic planted up already and shallots and broad beans going into the other two.

Due to the slope of the garden we had to dig out a mini terrace of flat ground for the beds to be on. We have also done a fourth bed free form and used logs and a hazel hurdle to construct it. This was a lot harder especially with the slope and we are not completely happy with it yet, its still a bit cockeyed!

Doing the hazel hurdle – well hazel and mock orange to be exact – was interesting, and took us a few goes before we got it right. But we are pleased with the result now.

The shallots can now go in on the weekend, and we move on to preparing some beds for the potatoes.

First broad beans sown….

The snow has finally melted from the garden and we have restarted work on the raised beds. I’ve sown the first batch of broad beans in pots and will start them all off this way in batches every 2/3 weeks.

Also the weather has suddenly turned very mild here as the thermometer shows! Its never got much over 2c for a few weeks.

The warmer weather and the thaw has brought out the primroses. Next exterior planting will be the shallots, as soon as the raised bed is completed!

Planting our fruit trees.

Selecting and planting suitable fruit trees that can survive our altitude.

Due to our altitude we had to think carefully about the fruit tree varieties that would grow well here. Luckily we had a Pepiniere at a nearby village that grew and sold fruit trees adapted to its 1000m of altitude.

(Pepiniere at Les Jardins RÉVOL)

So in November we visited and selected 4 apple trees( Reine de Reinette, , Belle de Boskop, and 2 local varieties, Conte and Court Pendu.)
 2 plum trees (Mirabelle and Reine Claude Verte) and a Quince.

Unfortunately Pears were not available, so we have sourced those from a Organic supplier online. A Conference and a Doyenne du Comice.

La Ferme de Sainte Marthe

We had inherited some good stakes from the previous owner and made the rest from a hazel we had coppiced in October.

The trees were mulched with leaf mould and our chipped bark, so now we have to see if they survive the rigours of an Auvergnat winter!