>Spring stops and starts

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This week we’ve had some heavy rain, a couple of cold nights and some sunny days when the air almost felt warm – typical February weather really.

The river Hérault was full, flooding in places and carrying huge tree trunks and other debris down to the sea at le Grau d’Agde.

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The fishermen had left their nets in colourful piles at the side of the river.

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This almond tree near Roujan is coming into flower.
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The best sign of spring for us is the germination of our tomato seeds. We sowed them last Sunday and put the seed trays on the heated seed starter box. The winners – first to germinate – were the ananas (pineapple) tomato seeds which took only three days. Since then the other varieties have all shown at least some sign of germination and the seedlings will be ready to go in the mini-greenhouses on the balcony in the sun in a few days’ time.

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The tomato seed trays yesterday, above, with only the ananas seedlings showing (left, corner), and today, right, with seeds of all varieties having germinated.
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The varieties of tomato we’ve sown are:

Roma: from a packet of seeds bought last year and only half used. These are plum tomatoes which are good for preserving as tomato purée to use in winter.

St Pierre: also from a packet of seeds bought last year. These grew well last year as all-purpose tomatoes for salads and sauces, as well as preserving as we do with the Roma.

Ananas (pineapple): seeds saved from last year’s tomatoes, on plants grown from seed we’d sown the year before. These big tomatoes are great for salads in summer – they have beautiful pink and yellow flesh and are very sweet.

Coeur de boeuf: seeds saved from last year’s tomatoes. Another delicious variety of tomato for salads.

Longue des Andes: seed from tomatoes given to us last year by our friend Simone, in her garden just down the hill from ours. A long red variety.

Languedocienne: seed from tomatoes we grew last summer on plants given to us by our friend Mel. An old local variety. The plants are very drought resistant and suited to the climate here, not very productive but tasty.

Yellow pear: seed from tomatoes we grew last year from bought plants. As the name suggests, they are pear-shaped cherry tomatoes and look great mixed in a bowl with red cherry tomatoes.

Cherry tomato: seed from a packet, given to us by our neighbour José.

Big cherry tomato: seed given to us by José from tomatoes he grew last summer.

So, this year we haven’t bought any tomato seeds and if these all grow we won’t need to buy any plants either.

4 thoughts on “>Spring stops and starts

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