26 August 2008

a curious thing

I was looking out of the kitchen window just before taking L B for our walk and to my horror saw that the pathetic things passing themselves off as tomato plants were looking extremely droopy. I usually try to water early in the morning as I’ve read so much about it being preferable, because plants are less prone to any airborne fungal infections than if they’d been left damp overnight. I do wonder if that is the case, as it is still so warm I’m sure that any water on the plants would dry / evaporate before nightfall, but I’m trying to do the right thing and Patrick our professional gardener in the French gardening group is always banging on about ‘the fungus’ ! I’m watering every second or possibly third day and am slightly alarmed at how badly they are in need of water and I’m relieved when back from our walk that they are looking slightly better, but it has obviously affected them.
Along the canal are many potagers in gardens or small pieces of enclosed land. But there is one potager that is planted in some very fertile soil just by the canal, in open land – the canal is redirected onto this land every few days through carefully dug furrows – unprotected from walkers and their dogs but more importantly unprotected from the variety of wildlife that lives around here, namely badger (although I haven’t seen one recently) fox, hare and of course Nature’s rotavator : the wild boar – sanglier. There was evidence of the boar just a few days ago where they had been digging holes near a tree root making a slightly precarious section of the pathway even more so. But, it seems, very little damage or nibbling has affected these beautiful specimens of tomatoes, carrots, aubergines, peppers, celery, parsley and basil. Where was the slug damage when they were first planted ? Are all the slimy beasts hiding out round at our place ? !

Anyway, this morning I am shocked to see what had been gloriously green courgette plants only yesterday now collapsed from the centre and covered in mildew. Some of the tomato plants also look sad, but nowhere near as sad as mine did earlier. Then on the way home I notice that some of the trees planted along the roadside have turned their leaves in and downwards. It hasn’t been terribly hot in the last couple of days – early 30°s but we did have a mistral wind for about 24 hours – that causes worse evaporation than the heat of the sun. So perhaps the mistral was the cause ?


chaiselongue said...

Thanks for introducing me to your blog and for adding me to your blotanical favourites.

Tomatoes need watering every day here and never onto the leaves. Maybe this is the problem with yours - not enough water and splashes on the leaves. I think it's better to water in the evening in summer - it's not cold enough for them to get too damp.
Courgette plants are dying off here now - later than usual, they don't last long in our hot summers.
The plants in the irrigated potagers probably look good because they get plenty of water! Watering is the main worry in the Midi. Hope this helps! I'll follow your blog with interest. All the best.

bare-faced gardener said...

I’m sure you’re right. It’s a combination of things also : ground wasn’t prepared properly and not enough good stuff dug in / left too long in their pots / too much shade (!) / and probably a load of other stuff.

And now I’m spending so much time learning how to blog that I’m not gardening and I think L B has just left home in disgust as I’ve been trying to work out all the technology for 8 hours straight now – I even missed my siesta today !

Thanks for your interest and I’ll try your yummy pickles at some point soon.

I’m east, in the Var, btw.

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