The country of France features four different types of climates, Mediterranean, maritime, mid-latitude and mountain. Growing vegetables in France is an easy tradition that goes back centuries. The people of France love fresh-grown vegetables and offer their bountiful harvest in many street markets and stores. Most vegetables require basic essentials such as full sunlight, regular water and well-draining, compost-rich soil. When these requirements are met, anyone can easily grow vegetables in France.
Plan your vegetable garden by selecting vegetables that will do well in your region of France. Vegetables that will do well in the cooler-climate mountain regions are broccoli, lettuces, spinach and carrots.
Select an area of the yard or garden that receives full sun, or at least six hours a day of sunlight. Most vegetables that can withstand growing in cooler climates can also grow well in partial shade as well. Select a site that is slightly elevated and level so there is no flooding or standing water in the vegetable garden. Convenience is also an important aspect to consider when planning a vegetable garden. Make sure the garden is a close distance to the home to make watering, weeding and harvesting easy.
Prepare the garden bed by tilling or digging with a shovel down to about 12 inches. Take out all weeds and debris, such as rocks and sticks. Add in rich compost such as peat moss, aged manure, eggshells or worm casings. Mix in the compost materials with the existing tilled soil until incorporated.
Purchase seeds from a local garden centre or an online seed dealer. Certified organic vegetable seeds are produced using no pesticides or genetic altering. Fill peat pots 3/4 of the way full with a good-quality potting mix. Place several seeds into each pot and cover lightly with potting mix. Water thoroughly and place plastic covering over each pot to aid germination. Seed starting should begin about four weeks before the last frost in your region of France. Keep seed packets for future reference later.
Take off plastic covering when seeds begin to sprout and place pots in a sunny location. Take pots outside everyday and bring in every night when seedlings have four leaves to harden off to the outside climate. This period should last about one week. After this hardening off week, vegetables are ready to plant outside.
Cut several small slits into each peat pot and plant the seedlings in their predetermined locations within the garden bed, making sure to plant the tallest vegetables where they will not block the sun from others. Cover the entire pot with soil and water thoroughly.
Weed and water regularly to ensure strong roots and increased vegetable production. During hot summer months, vegetables may need a second watering if the soil gets dried out.
Check the vegetable seed packets to help determine when the vegetables are harvest ready. Various kinds of vegetables will greatly differ in harvest times and readiness.
Manure must be aged at least one year before incorporating into the soil due to high levels of ammonia.