Reap what you sow

French Property News - - Rural Riddles -

Hav­ing had a mai­son sec­ondaire in the cen­tral part of France for many years, we are both now re­tired and in­tend to spend al­most all our time there. Be­cause of be­ing away from the prop­erty for pe­ri­ods of time, we’ve not pre­vi­ously had the op­por­tu­nity to grow veg­eta­bles but have long been keen grow­ers in Suf­folk. Weather-wise, can we ex­pect to grow more over a longer pe­riod? Andrea Dunn

Every sea­son (and lo­cal­ity) is of course, dif­fer­ent but gen­er­ally, hav­ing lived in the 79 depart­ment (Deux-sèvres) for al­most a decade and a half, it’s my ex­pe­ri­ence that, in a good year, you will be able to gain four to six weeks ex­tra grow­ing time than you presently can in the UK.

You do, though, need to be cau­tious. While the sum­mer con­di­tions usu­ally drift on long be­yond what would typ­i­cally be au­tumn con­di­tions in the UK (and thereby give you the op­por­tu­nity to squeeze in an ex­tra crop of salad leaves and your veg­eta­bles more chance to ma­ture and/or ripen) the spring might well be as cold as one would ex­pect in Suf­folk.

As in the UK, you can make an ear­lier start on veg­etable grow­ing in France by plant­ing seeds in pots on a warm kitchen win­dow, or in a green­house, cold frame or un­der a cloche. Don’t, how­ever, sow your seeds too early oth­er­wise the seedlings will re­quire plant­ing out be­fore all dan­ger of frost has passed by.

Gen­er­ally, the sea­son for veg­etable grow­ing lasts longer in France than in the UK

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