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  1. #1
    BertieFox's Avatar
    BertieFox is offline Tuber
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    Default 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. #2
    chris's Avatar
    chris is offline < moo beans.
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    Welcome!

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

  3. #3
    veggiechicken's Avatar
    veggiechicken is offline Gardening Guru
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    Hello Bertie and welcome. Sounds idyllic - apart from the cold snaps! (and the coypus - having read your other post).
    Garden like a Chicken
    @realveggiechicken

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

  5. #5
    lottie dolly's Avatar
    lottie dolly is offline Gardening Guru
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    Welcome to the vine bertie

  6. #6
    roitelet's Avatar
    roitelet is offline Early Fruiter
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    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. #7
    scarey55's Avatar
    scarey55 is offline Mature Fruiter
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    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. #8
    PyreneesPlot's Avatar
    PyreneesPlot is offline Early Fruiter
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    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.

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