La Chatte Gitane (or The Gypsy Cat) was the name we chose for our cottage in France at the time. We chose it while on the road, moving house the first time round, from Ireland to France with 2 dogs and 7 cats in the car.
This blog began its insignificant life as a recipe book for friends and family who would ask me repeatedly for a recipe of this, that and the other.
Since then it has taken many different directions, like we did and like gypsies tend to do. Sometimes making a U-turn and revisiting familiar roads and taking a break when necessary.
You'll find recipes here, but also musings about the places we've called home, the gardens that we've established, not always successfully, the homes we've improved and the environments we've lived in. Currently, after yet another stint in Ireland, we're back in France @ Le Mas d'Ayen

Monday, May 30, 2016

I'm Afraid

Like a mother, refusing to let her kids wander off in  this crazy and dangerous world.
Only, I am talking about my young veggie plants. I want to cosset them. I am afraid of all that is about to happen to them when/if I plant them outside.

An empty bed, waiting for me to get my act together.

I have lost about 8 courgettes and squashes to the cold easterly wind and  slugs. Luckily I have kept a few plants back and these are the ones that I want to treasure, I would like them to stay indoors where nothing destructive can touch them, preferably next to my bed. I have to bite the bullet and let them try to flourish out in the vegetable garden though.

The cabbages are in dire need of a space and I had just found the spot, only to discover a megalopolis for ants. Oh joy !

Some lime to sort out the very acidic soil, an extra layer of organic potting compost, a sprinkling of diatomaceous  earth and the white cabbage 'Enkhuizen' planted.

Not without a cardboard collar against cabbage root fly. I was reminded of this practice when reading one of Mark's Veg Plot posts . Of course ! My parents (my mother, actually) used to do this.

 I also used netting, which I bought a while back, to protect against cabbage white butterfly. I have now done everything within my power to give them the best start.  And if all goes to plan, I'll be making sauerkraut next winter.

The chickens had gotten into the radishes and made a fine mess. Fortunately, I can easily resow. If it's not the chickens, it's the cats who are exceptionally grateful for these huge cat litter boxes. Hence the bit of protection for the newly planted courgettes.

Did I tell you about our slug problem ? Well, we also have a humongous amount of leatherjackets  living in the soil, waiting for some roots to eat.
Fortunately, the latter have mainly been found in the flower garden and not in the raised beds. I throw them on the gravel area where the cars are parked, hoping the birds might find them. If not, they'll dry out and die a slow death.  How cruel am I ?

I had the healthiest looking tomato plants I've ever grown. We acclimatised  them in the tunnel for a week before planting out. And they still looked great.
The day after planting I noticed a few where drooping. They have deteriorated further.

A few days before the next photo

Surfing the net doesn't give me much to go on. A friend of ours thought it could be the soil, too acidic. We treated the soil with a sprinkle of lime granules and gave the foliage an extra seaweed extract shower. Here's hoping it will make a difference.
The funny thing is that there is only a few of the plants that are affected.

It's not all bad news. The broad beans are looking fantastic in full bloom.

The sugarsnap peas have suffered too but there is at least one or two pods making an appearance.

A few of the potatoes that I had dug out of the pantry and planted have popped above soil level.

Maybe in a few weeks time this small veggie plot will have some successes and I won't feel so disheartened.
Fingers and toes crossed.

Ouch ! Got a cramp in me toes !

Patricia xxx...x


  1. ooh, you're a worrier! My entire attitude towards any plants, edible or not, is that they all want to live and survive. So out they go and I let them get on with it. Some you win, some you lose! I understand your anxiety though, because it is totally demoralising when something is doing really well, then the next day you look and it's all gone wrong and you don't know why. Slugs are gits too. The beer thing never works for me. I think they just have a good drink and go on a tipsy rampage!

    I wish you luck with your veggie babies. I am sure all will be fine :O)

    1. Aye, Sadie. I'm a nervous wreck ! ;)
      It's my first time HERE in this place that I'm having a veggie garden of sorts. I've spend money on organic seeds and taken good care of all the seedlings. It really is demoralising.
      Ha ! Yes, the beer traps. I've used them way back when, but the drowning of a whole lot of other insects and no slugs have made me give that up. I can already imagine the slugs going off on a bender and getting the munchies afterwards. :)

  2. Well, you have certainly gone to great lengths to give your plants a fighting chance of success! I hope they do well for you and re-pay your efforts.

  3. Ha ha. I feel the same way and all I've done is plant Lily's competition sunflower outside! It looks a great little plot. I'm looking forward to seeing your progress. X

  4. It's a rollercoaster ride being a gardener isn't it! I hope your plants survive!

  5. It's been a funny old year so far. We are down to just one courgette plant, sadly the others didn't make it. We have an abundance of tomatoes this year so i can see plenty of ketchup being made. I really must do an update blog post on how things are going at the beg patch. Things seem to change so quickly x x


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