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  • Writer's picturePaula Dalton-Kirby

Our French vegetable garden (Potager)

Updated: Sep 11, 2020

Bonjour et bienvenue sur mon blog

2018 is a year that will go down in history for many who live in France. February saw the delivery of snow, which for us was a first. Despite it being a nightmare for many who live rural, it did make for some wonderful photographs. Then after the snow came the rain, and more rain, and more rain. In fact we had that much rain we ended up to be 5 months behind on our winter jobs, plus the Potager had come to a total standstill. We lost many of last years cuttings and also this years seedlings.

We saw our gite kitchen flood and many gazebos break due to the storms which brought the high winds. We were very lucky compared to many who lost their whole homes. Hail stones the size of tennis balls demolishing roofs, cars, gardens and futures. We are very lucky living on a hill with a sloping garden. We had waterfalls develop in areas we never knew would be possible. Being an LPO refuge the animals loved it, and so must we.

We moved to France to embrace everything it had to offer. Not just friendly people, beautiful landscapes, good food and wine but also the weather. Living rural we have to accept what it throws at us and try to work with it. We now know that umbrellas and light furniture are a no no. We need to have strong solid garden features to withstand the strong winds. This did however came slightly too late when erecting the greenhouse.

This is our second blog about the vegetable garden. It shows how it has developed over the past year.

We had always had a vegetable garden (Potager) wherever we lived which always appeared too small for what we wanted to grow. We now have no excuse. We knew that we wanted it in an area where it wouldn't spoil the views and also within reach for the guests to use. We finally decided to locate it next to the orchard which will eventually be the home to our chickens. This would then become the kitchen garden and orchard. The only downside was the soil. It was solid rock and also virtually dust.


Size was never an issue, as I keep telling Darren, so we went big with the option to go even bigger in the future if required. We decided to go for raised beds due to the poor soil, keeping them low at the start with the option to raise them as we get older and our backs become weaker. Working to a tight budget made us think carefully about their structure. Many plans later Darren came up with his designs and set about the development which nearly broke him and his back. This included lots of digging, levelling and moving of soil.

2018 Finally saw the Potager come to life and take shape. In 2017 we purchased a green house which had to be rebuilt several times over due to the high winds. We have since added new bars to the outside, which has worked perfectly, and touch wood, we have not lost any more panels to date. Wanting to keep the entrance to the Potager in keeping with the surrounding buildings Darren decided to make an arch out of branches trimmed from the woodland and even add 2  gates to keep the local wildlife out. We have since dressed it up with 2 lovely scented climbing roses, with the vision for them to engulf the entrance.

This year we decided to grow a larger variety of fruit and veg which we have never considered before. This has proven to be both exciting and scary. The guests are loving it. Where else can you go on holiday and have a free vegetable garden plus try things you have never considered?

We are due to start work on the potting shed at the end of the year so we can focus on cuttings etc, plus we may decide to extend even more, who knows.

We love to see the guests enjoying the produce. Pottering around the plot looking at what meals to make for the day.

Here are just a few photographs of our current Potager.  Follow the slide show below to see how it is progressing so far and the amazing veg we are producing.

2019 will see more developments and expansions so more blogs early next year.

For now thank you for taking time out to read our latest blog. If you are all following us on Facebook you will see that Darren has just built an amazing swimming pontoon. This has now inspired me to start my next Blog.

Merci d'avoir écouté et à bientôt.

Paula et Darren


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