Sunday, September 11, 2005

The low-maintenance Garden

Tying Down

So the long bit left on each stem now has to be tied down to the fixed wire, about 18” off the ground. Sandrine, Francis' daughter, volunteered to help us with it, as she used to work in a vineyard. Smallstrands of wire about 4” long have to be twisted around both the twig and the wire, with the twig apparently determined to spring back and hit you in the eye. Sandrine even had an ancient machine to help – a kind of miniature sewing machine which twists the wires for you, but we soon consigned that to the “interesting but useless” collection (a very popular category in France). We had enough wire to do about threequarters of the work, so I went to the “viticulture” shop to buy some more. The chap there was very helpful, despite the wires being out of stock he had some delivered to another store and picked them up for me the next day. It wasn't till I'd bought them that he told me that no-one uses them anymore, and showed me a tape-dispensing machine that does it in half the time...Something for next year's shopping list.


Eliette (Francis' wife) was very doubtful about us taking on the vineyard, as the “traitement” is very hard work. Of course, we aren't afraid of anything, so we gave her our version of a Gallic shrug and asked at the winery what we had to do. It turns out there are about a dozen different chemicals that have to be sprayed at various times in the growing season, with an interval between them of 8 days. Strange thing in France, time is often measured in 8 or 15 day intervals. That's probably because if they think it's more than a week it sounds better to only add one day on instead of a whole week. A bit like the British “baker's dozen” which I tried to explain once, unsuccessfully, to the baker here. So a quick calculation – it takes me 3 days to spray the whole vineyard, and I have to do it every 8 days. Let's hope the B&B isn't too busy, or I'll be doing it in my sleep. Maybe next year I'll buy a tractor-towed sprayer, instead of the 40-pound backpack I've carried around all summer.


At 4:50 PM, Blogger edwardprehiem9810 said...

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