Le Potager…

May 4, 2010

It’s raining today.  In fact, it’ll be raining for the entire week.  Our summer-like weather has been replaced with March weather – great for the baby vines and our recently (partly) planted vegetable garden.  Despite the best intentions to plant early after last year’s late start and pitiful results, we’re late again this year.  On our behalf, I have to say, weather conditions held us up this season – the frozen ground into March followed by rain kept Raphael from getting the tractor on the field to turn the soil.  One advantage over last year, we fertilized the field with organic chicken poo which should help the plants mature.  In one day, we fertilized, plowed and did this…  

...For lack of proper terminology, I'll call this smoothing out the soil. Notice the two apple trees in the background. One gave us beautiful but few apples, the other gave us many, worm filled apples.


 According to Raphael, performing these three soil preparation tasks in one day is excellent preparation for growing our veggies and fruits.   

Plowing the soil. This is not Raphael but a neighbor who kindly lent us his one hour and his tractor to plow our field.


 Last year was our first go at gardening and the results were sporadic.  The tomatoes, potatoes and green bean were a success.  But the rest, if we saw any results, were puny which was partially due to the hot, dry summer and our well drying up.  Towards the end, Raphael was filling a tank on the back of the tractor with water from the bassin and pumping it onto the field.  This became our only option for watering the garden.   

The two green peppers that developed never got bigger than this.


Early watering techniques.


Watering makes the recruits crazy.


This year we have plans.  In addition to the chicken poo, we are hoping to install a homemade version of drip irrigation along the rows of veggies that will slowly drip water beneath the plants.  For many, including us, maintaining and watering a garden is a source of relaxation and enjoyment.  However, our garden is huge.  (When you have to use a tractor like the one above to plow your vegetable garden, it’s too big and watering it becomes a chore rather than a relaxing way to pass an evening.)  The field measures 2870 square meters.  Last year, just over half of this was planted.  This year we’ve expanded planting a new corner that we have high hopes for as it gets the morning sun and the ground seems more humid.  The tomatoes and salad, two plants that need to drink often, occupy this corner.  The drip irrigation will provide the plants with much needed water when we are unable to get everything sufficiently watered.   

Planting baby salad.


We work with another family building the garden which allows us to divide chores among available hands.  This year we’ve recruited two new helpers, Father Luc-Marie, a priest with the Beatitudes in a nearby town, and a good friend of ours, and Beatrice, a neighbor and former city girl who, like me, is fascinated with the process of planting green stuff and watching it grow into edible fruits and vegetables.  We’ve barely begun the planting and with this weeks weather forecast and it being already May, I’m wondering if we’re going to get half as much of the field planted as last year.  That salad and tomatoes I mentioned above, along with 13 strawberry plants, is all we have so far.  Time to get the recruits motivated.  

Angeline helping Father Luc water the tomato plants.



  1. All this rain is definitely going to make your garden grow!

  2. Good. The rain will be all used up by the time we get there!

  3. Not quite the same in Jersey.


  4. […] three girls already and another child any day now…. it’s a good thing that she has a Potager to help feed the growing […]

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