‘If a plant needs watering it’s in the wrong place.’ Here in the south of France that’s a pretty good adage to go by. However, even the most ardent dry gardeners might allow that it is helpful to give your plants some water during crackle-dry periods during the first two years.
We’ve just had a short hot and dry spell with 35 degrees and a couple of weeks without rain, so I was thinking about giving some water to those plants that were looking a bit stressed. Then Thor came along and gave us the mother of all thunderstorms, with heavy rain during almost an hour. So I don’t need to water anything and all the storage tanks are full once more.
It’s been like that all summer which is highly unusual for this region. Normally there would be no rain from early June until a single storm in mid-August, then no rain until after the grape harvest at the end of September.
Frankly, I couldn’t be happier. This is the second year of the garden and the first year for many of the perennial plants. These rains will let them establish their roots so that they’ll cope even better next year.
Meanwhile, the potager is on a micro-drip system from one of the rainwater tanks. It is set to water for an hour every other day, except for the tomatoes which receive water once a week, unless it rains. I’m feeding all the vegetables regularly – at least once a week and it seems to be paying off. Everything looks very healthy and is producing well, although the courgettes continue to be a bit disappointing.
The two new raisied beds have parsnips, beetroot, radishes, carrots, New Zealand spinach, basil and coriander all doing well, with transplanted aubergines growing and producing in abundance. I put this down to having filled the beds with much higher quality organic compost/terreau from Peris, the agricultural suppliers. It was a good deal more expensive but is much better than a lot of the disappointing stuff from regular garden centres and DIY stores. I don’t think I’ll be cutting that corner again.