Tesla batteries for solar system

Mayday, Mayday – Tesla’s battery just killed fossil and nuclear power

Interesting article from The Ecologist. Telsa new batteries, 7kWh and 10 kWh selling at under 4,000 USD could revolutionise off -grid power; Our system has 24 inline batteries and cost nearly 8,000 euro, and has a limited life. Hope they come to Europe soon.

The original article  http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2852623/mayday_mayday_teslas_battery_just_killed_fossil_and_nuclear_power.html


Spring is just around the corner

Picture 036Spring this year officially starts on the 20th March when the vernal equinox occurs- some one however seems to have forgotten to tell our plants that. Yesterday I decided to prune back the dead stems on the tarragon only to find that pushing up form beneath them the new shoots had already started to push through- the mints, well the spear mint and pepper mint, Moroccan and long leafed mints are also starting to shoot.

Down in the poly tunnel the parsley, coriander, hairy sage and common sages are sprouting away.Caroline sowed 190 pots on Wednesday- Basil,  Marigolds, Polyvit Chives, Borage, Camomile, Valerian, and Lin de Narbonne.

The garden is also seeing signs of life, the snow drops are out, the sempervivum tectorum is starting to flower, the winter jasmine is in full bloom and so is the tercrium (See picture).

But we have had half a metre of snow in May, it usually snows the week after the ski stations close,so keeping our fingers crossed.


Snow on Canagou- Winter’s here



Woke this morning to a heavy dew, a frost on the field and a white cap on Canagou- Winter is definitely on it’s way. Here’s hoping for a good short and sharp one- not the non seasons we have had this year, no real Winter no Spring, a pathetic summer, followed by an Indian Summer. With no frosts the snails and slugs have had a field day, mosquitoes in February, and clouds of fruit flies everywhere. When we are in the heart of a good winter, trapped in by snow, with the pipes frozen and the fire barely able to cope with the wind it is sometimes hard to remember that Winter is an important and necessary part of the growing year. Frost kills diseases and limits pest, while short days means that annual herbs that in summer rush to flower in Summer have the space to grow to their full glory- Coriander and Parsley produce big bushes of delicious leaves. So it is goodbye to tomato, mozzarella, and basil salads, hello to chickpea tagines with fresh coriander garnish, curries, and parsely omelettes. Already had our first Tartiflette last week, and eat a lovely Beef Bourguignon at Mike and Paule’s yesterday- with all the physical work we do it is great to have absolutely no feelings of guilt as huge amounts of calories, and cholesterol get shovelled down. Roll on Winter- we are ready for you.

Corbieres gardening – with pick axe

You know when you are in the Corbieres when planting a simple Rosemary involved a pick axe, a wreaking bar and rock the size of foot balls. Still progress is moving along its merry way with the new rock garden for the garrigue mother plants- winter savory, thymes of various types, sage, with a few sedums thrown in for ground cover. Going to see if the Verbena will survive a winter out doors, so planted the first mother plant in one of the half barrels. Now got to find some good spots for the two new mints, Moroccan and Longifolia. Always on the look out for an organic pineapple mint and English mint.

Though we are having a mini heat wave for the moment the light is changing fast, low level sun, rich autumn colours and weeds growing at super speeds- so the throttle of the strimmer got repaired today- now held together with a large screw and electric wiring- very posh, also swept the chimney- looking forward to fire, though not a winter like 2011- no minus 15 for 10 days please.

Caroline conducted an experiment with pansy seeds, she looked up the experts advice on how best to germinate them, one said in a poly tunnel in full sun, the other said in a warm dark space- result, the ones in the poly tunnel took time and about 50% germinated, the ones under the bed all germinated but are lanky and weak, if we had caught them when they had just sprouted thinks may have been better . Lesson, never listen to an expert they know their own micro-climate and what works there but bugger all about where you live, and look under the bed occasionally.

Finally replanted the trumpet vine beneath the terrace, the idea is to grow it over the structure that will cover the terrace to provide shade during summer- well if it survives the replanting process, and of course it would help if I had built the structure for it to climb over.

Organic Mushrooms?

Make a Living from Growing Mushrooms

Interseting article in Permaculture


Definitely worth a look at, does anyone know what book is the definitive guide to mushroom growing?


More interesting mushroom growing ideas and guides



Tornados and floods- great news

One small tornado,a bit of torrential rain and the mobile tower is down and the land line out- thank goodness for internet by Satellite and electricity by solar panels- and the plumber may start work tomorrow so soon no more leaks, hot water and the start of the irrigation system- things on the up.

Apparently we have had the average annual rainfall this year, the problem it has fallen in intense short periods so it runs off rather than works it’s slow way down to the water table. So the heavy but persistent rain of the last 28 hours has been very welcome. Not least because we don’t have to water tonight.

We have also found a new supplier of pots, CEP Agriculture – they have some great square pots which will make watering easier, plus we have be planting in smaller seed pots and then re-pottting, and sometime a second re-potting. With these pots we should be able to plant straight into large pots thus cutting down the work involved in each plants.

Combine that with putting up a second polytunnel and putting in a drip by drip watering system and we are well on our way to laying a firm base for Montrouch Organic.

Mark Ashton

Mark Ashton

Chain sawing tomorrow then off to see Pride about Lesbian and Gay Support the Miners at the Castillet in Perpignan lthe central character is my old comrade Mark Ashton. Will be a bit of an emotional roller coaster- taking tissues.