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Bonjour from the Pays de La Loire


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  • Bonjour from the Pays de La Loire

    Hi there,

    We are from the south west of the UK but have lived for ten years in the Pays de la Loire not too far from Saumur and Tours.
    Here we have several acres of garden including a very large pond, a little river going through the grounds, and terribly heavy clay soil. We have around half an acre of dry stony soil where almost nothing will grow and where we have planted trees, most of which have died in the summers, even after two years.
    We have a very large polytunnel which is fantastic especially for out of season crops in spring and we cultivate most of the vegetable garden on a combination of deep beds with deep mulch. The weeds still defeat us each summer though!
    We are able to grow figs well, apples but not pears, and a few peach trees. We are lucky to have an old south facing stone building partly buried into a slope which remains frost free. We have covered this with polycarbonate panels and glass doors from the tip, and made a frost free conservatory where we grow edible passion fruit, guavas, and citrus fruit.
    We have just got back from a trip to the Pyrenees and north west Spain with some Tarbais white beans and Asturian 'fabas', both of which are climbing white beans ideal for cassoulet or 'fabada Asturiana'. We also visited Espelette where the famous Basque peppers come from and have a lot of seed for growing these too next summer.
    Winters here can be dreadfully cold with minus 20C not abnormal. However, the cold weather is intermittent and many things survive underground, like dahlia tubers. Things like broad beans, purple sprouting broccoli, and even kales often fail to make it through to spring as they turn to mush in the alternating cold/warm weather.
    We have probably been gardening for 30 years and still looking for the 'ideal place' where everything will grow without difficulty..... not sure it exists!

  • #2

    Have you tried grapes in the dry stoney part of your land?


    • #3
      Hello Bertie and welcome. Sounds idyllic - apart from the cold snaps! (and the coypus - having read your other post).


      • #4
        Hi there Bertie...and welcome to the Vine from oooop Norf !
        "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple


        • #5
          Welcome to the vine bertie
          sigpicAnother nutter ,wife,mother, nan and nanan,love my growing places,seed collection and sharing,also one of these


          • #6
            Another welcome from oooop Norf. Like you PSB turns to mush so I am trying a couple of plants in the Tunnel to see what happens.
            Gardening requires a lot of water - most of it in the form of perspiration. Lou Erickson, critic and poet


            • #7
              Hello Bertie and welcome to the Vine from The Midlands

              We too, have temperatures in the -20's in the winter but against that, the summers are lovely.
              A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot! (Thomas Edward Brown)


              • #8
                Salut from darn sarf. 20 minutes from Tarbes of the beans in fact! Our local Tarbais bean is the Bigourdan, which we've grown for the first time this year so I'm looking forward to tasting our meagre harvest. In cassoulet of course!

                Shouldn't you have fabulous vines on Saumur stony soil? We too have heavy clay and had no topsoil when we started - after three years it looks quite soil-ish.

                Your conservatory sounds wonderful - anything under glass/plastic seems to just fry down here. The only polytunnel I've seen locally is used to store straw. Says it all really! Despite being foothills we rarely get very cold weather although last February was a plant destroying cold snap and we had to use chains to get in and out of the village.

                Enjoy the Vine.
                Le Sarramea


                • #9
                  welcome from me too I am normally in the Lot Valley near Cahors but am writing this post in the UK.
                  Hoping my garden is ok ..only been away a week and already there has been a mighty storm with trees down and I have no idea what damage it has done to my plot! Looking forward to hearing your progress...i dont think there is a perfect place for gardening anywhere!


                  • #10
                    Hello from a bit north-west! Wed don't get such cold weather here but still nasty sometimes. We do get a lot of wind!


                    • #11
                      Hello from darn south. Very south
                      We also have cold winters altho only usually as low as -10C/-14C usually, but the dry hot baking summers. Very few plants that can cope with both in the same year! But I'm working on finding them.

                      We're using no dig gardening as we have thin topsoil and shale underneath, and it's working well with the vege's. Trying with fruit trees now and branching out so to speak.

                      My blog:

                      Some days it's hardly worth chewing through the restraints!

                      One bit of old folklore wisdom says to plant tomatoes when the soil is warm enough to sit on with bare buttocks. In surburban areas, use the back of your wrist. Jackie French

                      Member of the Eastern Branch of the Darn Under Nutter's Club


                      • #12
                        Hello, and welcome to the Madhouse! Looks like you've met most of the other 'foreigners' I'm in good old Essex, which is also a foreign land to many!
                        All the best - Glutton 4 Punishment
                        Freelance shrub butcher and weed removal operative.


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