One of the first things we did when we moved to Chatel was dig up a 10m2 lawn (of monster weeds) to create a veggie patch with 8 raised beds. The beds were made from pieces of exterior walls of an old chalet that were abandoned in the back garden. We have no idea where they are from, but it was number 238.
Gardening, being flowers or veggies is a learning curve and a test of perseverance that is thirsty for your time. Mostly I love it, but it has also caused a few tears, such as when 500 almost ripe beautiful tomatoes turned black over night.
We have grown quite a number of things over the last 4 years; rhubarb, strawberries, courgettes, cucumber, kohlrabi, pak choy, beans, peas, carrots, leeks, brocoli, brussel sprouts, corn, salad leaves, herbs, radishes…I am sure there are others. It is mostly experimental but a few things I have learn’t…
- Grow things you LOVE to eat. You will nearly always have too much of one thing at the same time. If you have friends with veggie gardens, grow different things and share the crop
- Soil matters. Don’t ignore it. Find a source of good manure, cow, horse or chicken and dig it in once a year. I think it takes 3-4 years to get good soil if you are starting from scratch.
- Do ignore the books and seed packets that say “plant 60cm apart…”. The gaps fill with weeds and from being nosey to the local’s veggie patches, no one follows this rule
- Rotation matters but doesn’t have to be super strict
- Flowers amongst veggies not only look pretty, they attract good insects for your garden. I love poppies, marigolds, nasturtiums and this year I added lavender.
- Avoid weed killer. If you are going to grow your own, it might as well be organic
In winter, we have snow on the ground for a good 3 months. Whilst we aren’t picking things then to cook, there are still things on the plates at Chalet Cannelle that come from the garden…various pickles, chutneys and jams mostly but we have also served beetroot sorbet, artichoke puree & rhubarb ice cream all from our homegrown veggies