Fabrice Chollet is one of these self-taught gardeners guided by passion and common sense. In his little garden in the Parisian suburbs, he has been able to take advantage of each plot of land to successfully grow plants of all kinds. From the vegetable patch to the green roof or the flower beds, exteriors now have no secrets for him! After several years of experimentation and various tests, he chose to share his gardening advice in his book "Abundant harvests in a small garden". The prodigal gardener gives us some of his recipes today…
Tell us about your journey…
Before starting this interview, I want to clarify that I am not a professional gardener. It will probably surprise you, but I work for an artistic agency that manages the careers of several opera singers! I acquired my first garden in 2001, then we moved to a larger house with my wife and children a few years later. My garden today covers about 200 m2, including the edges of the house. Little by little, I became passionate about gardening until I made it my favorite hobby, and I now spend a lot of time there, accompanied by the whole family! I am also interested in all kinds of gardening techniques, and it was while researching 19th century market gardening methods that I met my publisher, who later proposed to me the writing of this book.
Why did you choose to publish a book on abundance in the garden?
Being an amateur gardener and without any training, I had to test dozens of seedlings and arrangements before reaching the desired results. Over the years and attempts, I have managed to grow beautiful vegetables and flower my garden without using pesticides or chemical methods. I thought that my experiences, like my mistakes, could be useful to other enthusiasts and save them from unsuccessful plantings. The first part of the book is devoted to the way I took into account my external environment: a kind of inventory in which many will recognize themselves! My garden is in fact common to many semi-urban exteriors, with its parts shaded by neighboring buildings, its acid soil and the presence of old buildings. The rest of my book brings together my various feedback: I discuss my tests (conclusive or not), the various arrangements put in place (vegetable patch, green roof, etc.) and I give many tips that are easy to apply on a daily basis.
How is your garden organized today?
Our outdoor space is a real family compromise: my wife prefers flowers, and takes care of growing beds. For my part, it is the vegetable garden that takes me the most time! We have also reserved part of the garden for children, who like to have their own plots…
Do you have other projects for your garden?
Of course ! After having greened the roof of the bicycle shelter, I plan to reproduce this experience on the tool shack. I would also like to continue to beautify my garden, and above all to ensure that it flourishes on its own, with a minimum of human intervention. That's why I use the mulching technique a lot, which naturally enriches the soil while preventing weeds from growing. This method also has the advantage of retaining moisture in the soil during the summer season and preventing frost in winter: there are only advantages! I also seek to extend the growing periods as much as possible, in order to have a living garden throughout the year and not only from spring to autumn. You will understand, I still have a lot of work for the next few years!
Abundant crops in a small garden - Fabrice Chollet Editions Ulmer, € 16.90 //www.editions-ulmer.fr/