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The Garden

August Garden

Day's Harvest
August was a month of harvesting. The months of work digging and preparing the land, planting and maintaining the gardens throughout the summer, and watering through the dry months were starting to pay off. The caves were filled with kilos of potatoes, onions, shallots, beets, and carrots for the winter. (more…)

July Gardening in Les Verrines

In July, all the hard work in the garden in May and June finally started to pay off. Plenty of rain and sunshine got the garden growing fast and green… and we were finally able to enjoy our first harvests! We have more food than we know what to do with- and so much more to come! It’s a really great feeling looking around you, knowing that you have raised enough food to live on and even better- that it was all grown without ANY chemicals, and all right in our own back yard! SO MANY VEGETABLES! (more…)

Gardening in May and June

Back in the end of May I had just arrived in Les Verrines- a bit later than planned- but just in time to get going on the Garden. The rest of May and almost all of June was spent with fork in hand, breaking the hard dirt, pulling out the grass and stones, and turning the soil over again and again until it was ready for seeds… Now almost two months later, the hard work is starting to show, the sore muscles are forgotten, and the bare wet land starts to look a little greener. (more…)

Spring in Les Verrines…

It’s definitely spring! In La Creuse, that usually means a lot of gray, rainy days… But there’s a good bit of sunshine mixed in and when the sun shines, even for a brief moment, it’s amazing. The color of green everywhere is intense, some kind of shade of green which can’t really be described or captured in pixels… You will just have to come see for yourself.

Digging Potatoes with Jeanine


Potatoes in the Cave

Jeanine is an incredible lady- She’s 74 and has lived in Le Vignaud her entire life. When she asked me to help her dig her potatoes, I was more than happy to help. She is always giving me something, whether it’s fresh eggs from the chickens, or a nice warm meal in the evening on my way back from the garden and I’m always looking for an opportunity to reciprocate the generosity. She had about 200 or so ‘pieds’ of potatoes- some fifteen or so rows about three meters long each- all ready to be dug. She also has bad knees. The fact that she even planted them on her own is already amazing. Then, she surprised me once again when she held her own in the digging and dug row after row with no complaint.


Garden Harvest


Dirty Darren came by one Sunday afternoon to help with the garden. All the hard work was finally paying off, the garden was full, and it was time to begin the harvest. In late July, it’s time to pull and dry the onions, garlic, and shallots, as well as dig the potatoes. It was a great help to have an extra hand to harvest and pack kilo after kilo of these, which will hopefully last through the winter. There were also tomatoes, plenty of GIANT courgettes, beets, cucumbers, peppers, beans, and salad. I can’t help but to say again how incredible I find it that this much food can come from such a small piece of dirt, with truly minimal effort.


July Gardening Update

Holy Courgettes

Holy Courgettes!

In July, the big words on the tongue of every gardener were Tomatoes and Courgettes. In fact, after a few weeks of all you can eat style stuffing our faces, it was a challenge to get rid of them faster than they were coming out of the garden. It was a wonderful problem to have. We all had to get creative thinking up new dishes and finding new friends to share all the wonderful things coming from the garden.

Once again the garden was amazing me with the incredible amount of food that it produced. In the case of courgettes, from one plant you should get a fully gown squash every other day or two. I had planted eight plants in Jeanine’s garden and by now they were full-sized and producing like mad. That meant plenty of Pain aux Courgettes, Soupe aux Courgettes, Omelettes, Farcie, and more. The tomatoes began to turn red across the village somewhere around July 14. Might have been a coincidence, but it really felt like summer and the tomatoes knew it too.


Just to Prove That They Really Existed.

People take pictures of the Summer,
Just in case someone thought they had missed it,
And to proved that it really existed.
-The Kinks

Summer is here and the garden is full. It’s a wonderful time of year to be in Le Vignaud, and living off the land becomes easier, healthier, and oh so enjoyable. Cherry trees are full this time of year, mushrooms are popping in the woods, and all the fresh veggies you can eat are at your fingertips.

It’s oh so hard to believe that back in cold, grey February a few friends started digging the muddy French soil and now a few months down the road there’s a garden full of beautiful food for many people. Friends have come and gone, each having put a hand to help the garden along; Some have eaten, some have cooked, but I hope all have learned and enjoyed this experience. For me it has truly been special, looking back a few months and now suddenly nature has worked her wonders on the rich earth and we are blessed with its bounty. I have been eating dailiy from the garden for a few months now, but it is only now coming into it’s full prime. Even the tomatoes are near ripe…

Hey Clint, remember this?

June Gardening Update

First Zucchini Flower

First Zucchini Flower

In June the garden was filling out and growing fast with plenty of rain and warm weather. The peas really took over and I discovered a whole new world inside those tiny green pods. I had never really known what a pea tasted like before June 2009, but I made up for it with kilo after kilo smothered in butter and a bit of garlic… The Zucchini plants began to flower; There were some tiny green tomatoes forming, and peas, cabbage, beets, and carrots were not long from harvest time.

May Gardening Update

Garden View, 16 May

Garden View, 16 May

May was a big month for gardening. The last of the frosts were finally past, the weather became warmer, and the plants (along with the weeds) started growing quickly. Tomatoes and Peppers were in the ground, we ate more salad than anyone cares to remember, and already peas, radishes, and carrots were growing fast. Also, lots of seeds that were planted in the cold frame in April were ready for transplanting to their definitive locations in the garden. Wildflowers were blooming and the world was waking up from hibernation. By the end of the month, I already had far more vegetables than I could eat or giveaway. It was a great feeling, particularly knowing that there was much more on the way.