>Clearing away the summer


This morning the sky over the garden was cold and grey with the sun trying to break through the clouds.  The sun did come out later, but it was time to clear away the Roma tomato plants anyway.

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Some of the tomatoes will ripen, the others we’ll use to make green tomato jam which we’ve found goes very well with cheese, especially goats’ cheese.


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The broad beans and peas are coming up well.  We put the straw over the rows to conserve water, but I don’t think it’s really necessary any more.  Although we haven’t had a lot of rain lately the soil is very damp.


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A friend went to the Spanish border at Le Perthus and brought us back this bunch of over 100 Spanish sweet onions to plant.  They should be the first onions to be ready to eat in the spring, before the local Lezignan sweet onions.  The excitement of planting these and seeing the peas and broad beans coming up compensates a bit for the sadness I always feel in autumn as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder.

We’re lucky here, though, to have a second spring in autumn, when it rains and plants start to grow again and to flower after dying back during the dry summer.


DSC09920 The rosemary is covered with flower, although the pyracantha looks quite christmassy! DSC09922


DSC09937 DSC09933 Our little palm is a Washingtonia, which is hardy here so it doesn’t need to be wrapped up for winter.  There are new leaves growing from the centre (above).

>La Sainte Cathérine


On the French calendar, provided for us each year by the local fire service, today 25th November is Sainte Cathérine’s day.  And the saying which everyone here repeats whenever tree-planting is mentioned is: À la Sainte Cathérine tout bois prend racine.  On Saint Catherine’s day all wood takes root.  This is the season for planting trees and shrubs.  We’ve already planted two cherry tree cuttings, a fig tree and our lemon tree.  Today on this special day for planting we put in a Pyracantha coccinea shrub, which will have red berries.

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Pyracantha coccinea
Pyracantha coccinea_1_1 Pretty red stems and dark green leaves

Aujourd’hui, la Sainte-Cathérine, en suivant le dicton ‘ À la Sainte Cathérine tout bois prend racine’, nous avons planté un buisson de Pyracantha coccinea.

The lemon tree seems happy in its new sunny corner, the flowers are opening and the fruit is ripening.  We’ve covered it with a sort of ‘tent’ for the next few days as cold nights are forecast.

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Le citronier va bien dans son coin ensoleillé.  Les fleurs ouvrent et le fruit mûrit.  Nous l’avons couvert d’une sorte de ‘tente’ pour les prochains jours parceque des nuits froids sont prévues.

Today’s harvest / Le moisson d’aujourd’hui

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Leeks, turnips, rosemary, oregano and sage

poireaux, navets, romarin, oregane, sauge