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Breaking Ground


ripe tomato

It’s hard to believe winter is finally drawing to a close. The first day of Spring is only a little over a week away, and we are well into the season of Lent now.  

Well, actually it isn’t that hard to believe. I don’t know why I said that. Everyone always does…everyone seems to be perpetually suprised. When the seasons change, which they do every year, people invariably express surprise.

“I can’t believe this heat” is a favorite quote, along with  “another snow!”  Mon Dieu! People also tend to be shocked by consecutive days of rain, and strong wind.

Did you know that sheep are genuinely surprised each time the sun rises?

But enough about you.


March is the month of planting, and I didn’t come here to talk about the weather, but to let you know that we broke ground on this year’s vegetable garden today. Our goal is to be able to produce at least half, but hopefully much more, of our own food. So many of the images and recipes I will share will hopefully have been made right from my own back yard. Maybe I can even share some gardening tips if you want to try starting your own garden. If you’ve even entertained the idea, I encourage you to go for it, because if I can do it, and I am no green-thumb, anyone can.

(disclaimer: by me doing it, that means choosing the seeds, a bit of watering, some weeding, and directing. Oh yeah, and cooking and eating. My husband does most of the manual labor including tilling the soil, killing pests, composting, and fertilizing.

disclaimer part two: sometimes when I say “if I can do it you can too”  it sometimes turns out that person couldn’t do that thing at all… )

Anyway, if you don’t already have a garden and want to start one, now may be the time to begin, depending on where you live. In northern France it is time to get the soil ready with plenty of compost and fertilizer (we use horse manure and sea algae) and plant carrots, leeks, beans, and lettuces. Check your farmer’s almanac or an online gardening site for details of when to plant in your area. If you have any questions, please drop me a line or leave a comment. I like garden talk.

The reward of growing your own vegetables far outweighs the work, especially if you start small. It’s comforting to know where your food came from and how it was handled, and the money you will save is more than marginal. And you know that old saying,  a nickel saved is a nickel more to spend on wine. Well it’s true.

Believe it or not, there are warm sunny days ahead of us, so put your gardening gloves on and profitez-en!

large cabbage

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 11/03/2011 23:16

    Just put in a 6×6 vegetable garden in my backyard — Charleston, SC is now my home (again, but that’s another story) — and I did the tilling, weeding, fertilizing, and planting all by myself (I don’t have a burly husband)! I’ve planted spinach, romaine lettuce, buttercrunch, red lettuce, broccoli (and chinese broccoli) swiss chard, georgia collards, eggplant, cilantro, and onions. Next week the tomatoes are going in the ground, and I can’t wait to plant every herb under the sun!!! Keep me posted on the progress of your French garden — we can dish tricks and tips (and recipes)!

    • Joëlle Laffitte permalink*
      12/03/2011 13:42

      Hi Lara,

      Your garden sounds great! I love collard greens; I was actually born in GA and used to eat them when I was little, with tobasco and vinegar.
      This is our second year of gardeing, so there is still a learning curve for us. Last summer our eggplant was underdevloped, and we had a grub infestation. This year we are planting it again, along with mesclun, fava beans, okra, squash, tomaotoes, arugula, chard, brocoli, and some herbs including rosemary, lavender, basil, thym (forgot english spelling) and parsley. I’m also planting marigolds to provide some natural pesticide. I heard marigolds help fend off rabbits too. We are also going to recruit more ladybugs, which work wonders! And hopefully some hedgehogs.
      Yes, let’s keep in touch about our gardens and let me know if you have any Italian/Southern American fusion happening down there!

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