Wednesday, 25 May 2011

New blog

This blog has moved to :

All previously published posts are now on the new blog and all new posts will be published there from now on.

Thanks to all for your visits and comments over the past three and a half years.  I hope you’ll enjoy the new blog.

See you there!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

First tomatoes

Most of our tomato plants now have flowers on them and the Languedoc plants are looking especially sturdy, so I wasn’t surprised to see that they are the first plants to set fruit.  An exciting time of year!


The double row of Languedoc tomato plants with the Roma plants in the background.

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Monday, 23 May 2011

Marché fermier

It was a sunny, hot day yesterday for the farmers’ market at Mas Rolland and the streets of the tiny old hamlet were filled with stalls, music, visitors and tables where people could eat. One of the nice things about this event is that it takes place before the holiday high season starts – it’s for people from the villages and towns around to enjoy before all the events which are put on for tourists in the summer.

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We ate kid meat (from the Mas Rolland goat farm) stuffed with herbs from the garrigue, followed by a selection of goats’ cheeses, of course, and some friends had brought some of their own peaches, the first of this year’s crop, for our group to eat for dessert. The tables in the narrow street (above, right) were full by lunch time.

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We bought cherries, goats’ cheeses and flour from a mill near Clérmont l’Hérault, and many other stallholders were offering their own produce for sale.

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The confrerie of local winemakers walked through the village dressed in their wine-purple robes accompanied by jazz musicians.

Our first few cherries


As well as the delicious cherries we bought at the market, we also tasted our own wild cherries for the first time, picked yesterday morning – of the six cherries on our tiny tree, four were ripe, slightly tart but with a good flavour.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

What a difference a year makes

I’ve been reminded by reading this post by Michelle on From Seed to Table, that I’ve been meaning to post photos of my caper plants. It was Michelle who originally sent me the seeds in autumn 2009 from which my plants have grown.


These are the capers sown in December 2009, as they are today. The plants got mixed up while I was away last summer, but I think the one on the left here is an Italian caper and the one on the right is Croatian. They’ve grown a lot of extra leaves just in the last few weeks and now look like ‘proper’ plants, so I’m very pleased with them.

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Last December (2010) they were like this (left) and a year ago they were seedlings in small pots (above).

And the next year’s plants….


In November 2010 I sowed some of the seeds left over from last year and five of these have germinated. Soon I shall have to decide which of the two to remove in the pots where two have germinated, cutting them rather than re-potting them to prevent root disturbance to the other ones, because caper plants are very sensitive to this.

It will be a long time until I can harvest the weight of capers that Michelle does, but I feel that these plants are on their way!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Olive flowers

Our Lucque olive tree is covered in tiny flowers, a promise of a good crop in the autumn.

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Friday, 13 May 2011

Mid-May in the garden

With 70 tomato plants, 30 peppers, 4 cucumbers and 16 aubergines put out in their beds in the garden, we’re getting through the summer planting.  There are still courgettes, pumpkins (several varieties) and butternut squash plants waiting, and growing bigger every day, on the balconies.

The Kolaska pepper plants, planted out between the cucumbers (out of shot) and the chard and haricot beans.
A row of Turkish pink tomato plants, grown from seeds sent to me by beste in Normandy, next to a row of ungrafted aubergine plants.
IMGP9787 Marseillais pepper plants (some of the few plants we’ve bought this year), then a row of ungrafted aubergines, then a row of grafted aubergines. IMGP9789
Roma tomatoes (left), Languedocian plants, growing very vigorously and starting to flower (centre), on on the right of the picture a mixed row of Coeur de Boeuf, Andes and Ananas.

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At last the first sowing of haricot beans (sowed at the end of March) are flowering.  The second sowing are almost catching up,

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The Greek sweetcorn, grown from seeds sent to me by gaiashope are doing well and I’m hoping they’ll be well established by the time the free water from the stream runs out.  Last year, gaiashope says, she watered them only 10 times in the whole summer, so they’re very drought resistant.  On the right are 4 small artichokes I picked this morning, and put straight into a bowl of water to get out the earwigs which seem to like them (although they don’t eat them).

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Spring fair

Today la rue de l’Eglise, the widest street in the old part of the village, and the place where the Wednesday market is usually held were lined with stalls selling goats’ cheese, sheep’s cheese, honey, wine, olive oil, flowering plants, vegetable garden plants, asparagus, strawberries, and handmade crafts.  The weather was dull in the morning but it cleared up later, and the day seemed to be a success.

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asparagus, churros and children’s rides…..
our friends from le Moulin de Casso, which I wrote about when it first opened, selling their olive oil.

We bought some Bouteillan and some Picholine olive oil, each with its own distinctive and delicious flavour.  The Picholine oil went very well first on its own with bread and then with some Mas Rolland goats’ cheeses at lunchtime, accompanied by a salad made with leaves from the garden and grated carrot and apple.

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