Early morning gardeningPosted By: rocket veg Category:
It’s mid-summer’s day and we’re having spell of wonderful weather. During the summer months, when the weather is fine, I like nothing better than tending my allotment before setting off to work and I can usually be found on the plot well before 7am, weeding, watering and harvesting crops. If you’re a ‘night owl’ and reading this, you’ll be cringing at the very thought. At this early hour the soil is moist with overnight dew, newly-planted vegetables looking at their best in the early morning sun. My hens give me a friendly greeting…all’s well with the world.
Gardening first thing in the morning is a true delight! I caught the bug many years ago on a family holiday, camping somewhere in France. The field in which we pitched our tent was on the edge of a quintessentially French village – cottages built from local stone, a tiny boulangerie and smart charcuterie, geese waddling about in the stream which bordered the ‘main’ road, a handful of men dressed in their ‘bleus’ putting the world to rights over a cognac in the sun outside the bar-tabac and the ever-present scent of French cigarettes hanging in the air. By the time the road reached the tiny camp site where we were staying, the cottages had petered out and each had a larger piece of land.
One garden in particular stood out from the others. Set up on the bank, this magnificent piece of land was laid out specifically for growing vegetables – and what a spectacle it was: serried ranks of plants, perfectly spaced, not a weed in sight in the rich and fertile soil. Every morning, well before we had emerged from our tents, the occupant of the cottage was hard at work, out in his vegetable patch – hoe or rake in hand, watering can at the ready. Clever stuff, this, in a country where on most days in summer the sun is really hot by mid-morning and only a fool would work the soil after 11am. I was inspired by what I saw and leaned so much by watching a true garden craftsman at work – gentle, rhythmic action; the pleasure of using favourite, well cared-for tools; and watering while plants were at their most receptive and before the heat of the sun would scorch their leaves. By 9:30, this canny gardener had retreated inside, job done for another day.
If you wonder where this piece of heaven is, visit Lunay, Loir-et-Cher, for yourself and search for the garden in question. The last time I was there was nearly ten years ago and I doubt if much has changed since then.