New French Garden!

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New French Garden!

Postby Madamlou » Sun Jan 22, 2017 9:32 pm

Hello all just wondered if anyone on this forum can help me with my new garden in France we moved here last summer and I'm really looking forward to growing my own we have moved to the Charente SW France and the soil is clay. Is there anybody with experience of this region. Happy New Growing Year to all!
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Re: New French Garden!

Postby Westi » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:10 pm

Hi Madamlou - welcome to the forum!

Now I have the opposite to you as have sandy soil but these guys helped me out & I know for sure we have growers on clay! I know digging in lots of compost etc helps, but be patient as the real growers on clay & the KG Team will be along soon to give you the right advice.

Again Welcome, pop into any topic & ask what is on your mind - it will be the only way to get the answers you want that will work! Never be afraid to post anything at all, I reckon I may have asked the most inane questions ever but have had the most generous replies.
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Re: New French Garden!

Postby robo » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:19 pm

Hi and welcome, our plot is clay I think it's the puddling clay from when they built the Leeds to liverpool canal or a repair canal coming of it which they used for repairing barges, I have drilled down over three meters with a 200 mm anger to try and get drainage but no joy ,I finished up building ten raised beds to attempt to get things to grow which now they do ,I left a patch roughly five x ten meters to grow potatoes alas my soil is not deep enough to be very successful but each year I keep adding compost and any soil I can get my hands on ,the one part of our plot that used to be a duck pond we covered with grass which absorbs a lot of water
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Re: New French Garden!

Postby Pa Snip » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:41 am

Welcome MadamLou

Unfortunately cannot say I am familiar with the clay of south west France, but am only too familiar with clay in mid southern England.

My suggestion would be that if you can afford it, after your move last summer, add plenty of sharp sand and compost mix.
I hope you have also been composting your kitchen & garden waste (excluding meat) If you haven't then that's your first job, make a compost heap.

How big is the area, roughly, you are thinking of growing your own in. What are you thinking of growing.
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Re: New French Garden!

Postby tigerburnie » Tue Jan 24, 2017 3:30 pm

Raised beds springs to mind
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Re: New French Garden!

Postby oldherbaceous » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:02 pm

A warm welcome to the forum Madamlou, regarding your need for advice, i think i would be looking and asking what the locals are doing, especially some of the older folk.
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Re: New French Garden!

Postby Monika » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:28 pm

Hello Madamlou and welcome to the forum. I can only echo O(ld)H(herbaceous) in advising you to ask the locals. We have family in SW France, though not near you, and when they first moved there about 30 years ago, they were greatly helped by a farming neighbour. Good luck!
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Re: New French Garden!

Postby sally wright » Tue Jan 24, 2017 11:12 pm

Dear Madamlou,
I would recommend only growing stump rooted or round carrots, ditto for most other kinds of rooted veg as well.

Ditto also on the addition of compostables/raised beds/ watching what the locals are doing or growing.

I get a French seed catalogue called Graines Baumaux it has lots of veggie seeds, plants and fruit at reasonable prices.

Go for more vigorous rootstocks on your fruit trees than you might usually use as most top fruit has a hard time in clay land.

Clay land is slow to dry out enough to become workable in spring so make sure you have it all dug over in the Autumn to save time.

Clay soils take longer to warm up in the spring than other types but they also take longer to cool down in the Autumn, so later crops are possible.

That far south I would imagine some shade netting would be useful in the summer if you want to grow salad leaves in quantity.

Only over winter broad beans, shallots, garlic and onions in raised beds as the water content of clay will cause unacceptable losses.

Raised beds for your asparagus would be advisable as well.

That's all the tips I can think of for now.
Regards Sally Wright.
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Re: New French Garden!

Postby Christopher Samba » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:27 am

Great tips! Thanks for posting them.
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