Mamert, Pancrace and Servais, you know? What are the names, not so common, it is true, of the famous saints of ice, which we celebrate regularly the 11, 12 and 13 may. If it has not frozen during these three days, the thermometer is down below zero on the 6th of may in the morning in many areas of the northern half of the country. These sudden jolts of the winter, which it is said that the spring is at the bottom as the slow agony, explain the wisdom of our elders who didn’t plant in the open ground vegetables (tomatoes, cucurbits, peppers, eggplant….) before these days hinges.

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In perpetuating this tradition, gardeners get the quasi-assurance that these plants originated from tropical countries, therefore, particularly cautious, will be a good start, frost-free, but also of nights that were too cool. Below 10°C, a plant eggplant végète and you will have to think, if the situation presents itself, the cover of a veil of wintering which will save a few precious degrees.

If the weather is not too watered down, it will be time this weekend to put in the earth, the plants that you keep safe under your chassis, but that will feel good to be that close to their bucket of peat or plastic. Here is how to proceed, species by species.

• cucurbits: in praise of diversity

The members of this large family are almost all from exotic worlds. If the cucumber (India), watermelon (Africa), and melon (indeterminate origin), are cultivated in Egypt and on the mediterranean basin since Ancient times, the pumpkin and the zucchini have arrived in Europe until after the discovery of the New World.

the cucurbits should be planted in a sunny position and a good distance because their vegetation is very exuberant: 1 m between two feet of squash, melon and cucumber ; double for the pumpkin and the watermelon. Then, these sluts need to thrive, a land airy and very rich in organic matter. To satisfy them, dig at each location a hole of 40 cm side and the depth in which you would incorporate a good dose of compost and manure (or compost), mixed with the earth.

You can also sow them directly in your cucurbits in open ground (but the harvest will occur later than with plants that you can get in garden centres) in packs of 3 seeds, preparing the soil as previously mentioned. You will keep the plant more vigorous.

The zucchini is very productive make sure not to plant them too: depending on your level of consumption 2 to 3 feet is generally sufficient for a family with 2 children. Same thing for cucumbers. Pick fruit regularly throughout the season to ensure that they do not become huge and tired the foot by taking any of the sap. If you must be absent for some time, have a friend or a neighbour to pick it up.

finally Know that there are seedlings of melon and watermelon grafted, more productive, especially if you live in the north of the Loire (but not too much…) where the sunlight is sometimes limited.

• Eggplant: the beautiful Indian

Cultivated as an annual with us, because of its radical intolerance of the cold, this nightshade with long grey-green leaves, sometimes armed with thorns, is able to live several years in a tropical area. It then becomes as large as a bush or a small shrub. A native of India and Burma, it would have been introduced in France at the end of the Middle Ages.

Captivated by the beauty of its fruit are smooth and shiny on the dress dark purple occasionally pulling on the black (but there are varieties of white colour), Louis XIV is grown in its gardens of Versailles. But it was not until the Nineteenth century that the eggplant is needed in our country, first in the Afternoon, and then more recently to the north of the Loire, notably thanks to the development of early varieties (‘Baluroi’ F1, ‘Early Barbantane’, ‘Avan’ F1…) that are able to grow from the beginning of the month of July. Not to mention grafted plants, very productive, but expensive to buy (around 7 euros the foot!).

Grant, therefore, to this beautiful Indian has a special place, in the sun, near your tomatoes or against a wall exposed to the south, in a land that is enriched with thoroughly decomposed compost. Dig a hole the depth of a spade all the 50-cm row spacing of 1 metre in order to limit the risk of appearance of diseases and plant the foot of eggplant after having crumbled the earth.

• Chillies and peppers: the plants of the extreme

No need to make a drawing: between the peppers sweet, and the chili that you inflames the mouth, the difference jumps to the taste buds. The two plants belong to the same species, Capsicum annum , imported from America by Christopher Columbus in person. In fact, the pepper has been obtained by selection by phasing out the capsaicin, the irritant compound secreted by the pepper. Again, the genetic improvement has significantly expanded the area of cultivation of this nightshade (yet!). Subject to plant them in a plot rich and well-exposed, chillies and peppers, will produce beautiful fruit fleshy, green -when they are not ripe – and then red, orange or yellow depending on the variety, a time to maturity. To plant such as eggplant with which they make good household.

• Tomato: the essential queen of the vegetable garden

How not to go back on the tomato for which I gave last week, seven tips to get good harvests? It is hard indeed to imagine a vegetable garden that would be devoid. Or Italy private of this vegetable-fruit is omnipresent in his kitchen: that would be pasta or pizza without the tomato sauce? This situation, however, has long prevailed in Europe. A native of the New World, the “apple of love” or “golden apple” was brought from Mexico in the middle of the Sixteenth century. Without much success initially. Suspected toxicity because of its kinship with the belladonna, nightshade as she, it was used in France as a plant… ornamental until the Eighteenth century. Before you know the culinary success that we know.

To have tomatoes until the end of the summer and beyond if the autumn is mild, try an assortment of early varieties (Montfavet, Furnace, Marmande…), half season (St-Pierre, Rose de Berne…) and late (Beef Heart, Pyros…) to spread the harvest to the maximum. Plant such as eggplant, taking care, however, to’tilt the stem and the enterrer about fifteen centimetres up to the first true leaves in order to stimulate rooting. Water up to saturation to tamp down the earth.

vegetables of the summer are very greedy for water, be sure to mulch generously to keep the soil cool during the summer and limit the number of waterings. This cover will also prevent the proliferation of weeds. The first harvests are expected in June for the cucurbits, from July to the solanaceae (tomato, eggplant, cucumber). Then is the time to enjoy it!

• This article is an updated version of that published on 16 may 2014.

appointments “garden” not to be missed

• 17, 18 and 19 may: Days of the plants of Chantilly, on the theme of “plants worry-free, the true allies of gardeners”, the Domain of Chantilly (Oise).

• 18 and 19 may: 14th festival of roses in Chédigny (Indre-et-Loire).

• Up to 19 may: 12th floralies internationales de Nantes, parc des expositions de la Beaujoire, Nantes (Loire-Atlantique)

HRA/Domaine de Chantilly

From may 18 to October 13: a sculpture Exhibition “after nature” by Marc Didou, domaine de Trevarez, Saint-Goazec, (Finistère, brittany).

• may 24: scientific Symposium “Plants and the French Riviera, the carnival of the senses”, organized by the SNHF, parc Phoenix, Nice (Alpes-Maritimes).

• 25-26 may: Fête des plantes, chateau du Pin, Champtocé-sur-Loire (Maine-et-Loire).

• 25-26 may: 32nd Days doullennaises of the pleasure gardens on the theme “women and plants”, Citadel of Doullens (Somme).

• Until may 28: Participate in the contest “Gardening Otherwise, share your practices” by signing up here.

• Until may 31: 5th photo contest epidemiological surveillance 2019, organized by the SNHF on the theme of “Webs, cocoons and filaments”. Award ceremony on 14 June.

• 1 and 2 June: 26th feast of gardeners and 20th winners of the book award of garden P. J. Dreaded, chateau of Lude (Sarthe).

• 7, 8 and 9 June: 17th edition of the “Rendez-vous in the gardens”, organised under 3000 gardens of France and Europe by the ministry of Culture on the theme of “animals in the garden”.

• 8-9 June: 11th day of botanical “green” future, alpine botanical garden of the Jaÿsinia, Samoëns (Haute-Savoie).


• Up to June 9: annual opening of the conservatory of the peony, all the days of 12 h to 18 h, except Wednesday, chateau de Sourches, Saint-Symphorien (Sarthe).

• 14, 15 and 16 June: Feast of the creation and of the métiers d’art, Château de Saint-Jean-de-Beauregard (Essonne).

• Until 30 June: please Send your application to the national Competition of gardens in 2019, by clicking here.

• Until 8 September: Exhibition “the Gardens, the joys of Val d’oise”, the House of Doctor Gachet, Auvers-sur-Oise (Val d’oise).

• Up to 6 October: Exhibition “Arte Botanica” performed by 15 artists, including Rebecca Louis Law, Domaine départemental de La Roche-Jagu, Ploëzal (Côtes d’armor).

• Until October 15: Exhibition of 60 sculptures of Stone Treilhes in the Gardens of Eyrignac in Dordogne.

• Until 3 November: the 28th edition of the international garden festival on the theme of “Gardens of paradise”, the Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire (Loir-et-Cher).


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