With sincere apologies to George and Ira Gershwin, but we're en vacance avecs les enfants!
Our 1986 VW T3 - Barbara - has yet again not let us down and has managed to get us the 800 odd miles to the south east corner of the Ardeche. And it's hot and sunny.....
But even now we're on the look out for inspiration for when we get back and the evenings start to draw in and our minds start to think about ordering seeds and planting plans for next year.
Tomatoes are a fruit - or are they vegetables?! - that we all have a go at growing. Every year we plant a selection in gro-bags or pots or in the ground. Sometimes we remember to pinch out the growth and tie them up. Sometimes we forget! Sometimes we grow them in the greenhouse and sometimes grow them in the "tomato house" - a small lean to type greenhouse that we've had for many years.
Sometimes we're strict with our watering and sometimes we aren't. Sometimes we feed them with the good old Tomato Right stuff, sometimes they have some of our own kelp tea, sometimes they go hungry!
More often than not we rarely get anything like we've seen over here! Tomatoes that smell and taste like they should. Grown locally and then sold locally...…….
So how do they grow them here? Well whilst wandering back from the boulangerie with 11 euros worth of petit dejuener delights we stumbled across this. Alongside olives, peaches and apricots a simple framework with tomatoes galore hanging from them.
And a soaker hose to make sure they get enough to drink. The rows are planted north - south and with a large gap between them. This ensures that the tomatoes get plenty of sun to help them ripen and enough draught to keep blight at bay.
Now we can't say that growing tomatoes like this either in the garden or up at the allotment back in Somerset will give us the same results as the Ardechois enjoy but we'll give it a go....
And look at those bamboo canes. And the actual structures they use down here. More on that later.