A fan of permaculture, this professional firefighter shows us his recently award-winning family garden

In summer, this small family garden in Anglet (Pyrénées-Atlantiques) looks like a “virgin forest”. You have to be able to “sneak” between vegetables, fruits and flowers to move around. But don’t think that “this jungle” is not organized. Vincent Cayron thought about optimizing every space on his property while focusing on permaculture. A philosophy that convinced the jury of the national vegetable garden competition. The 47-year-old professional firefighter won first prize in the “family garden” category last November.

Before he reached that level, Vincent Cayron spent hours with his nose buried in books and his eyes glued to the computer screen. “I started from scratch,” he tells us. However, as a child he spent hours in his parents’ vegetable garden. “As a teenager, picking green beans and shelling them became a real bean for me,” he tells us. Bit by bit he turned away from gardening. “As I got older, I wanted to go back there. I read books, looked at social networks and took advice from my parents! » He could also count on the support of his “neighbor in the garden”, “ninety-year-old grandfather”.

Circular arches and a vertical garden

Vincent Cayron wants to pass on his taste for gardening to his three children. “They need to understand that carrots come from the ground. » In addition, he decided to go organic in order to “support” his family. He grows strawberries, raspberries, currants, vines, leeks, garlic…

You won’t see nice straight rows of vegetables and fruits in his garden. “I have decided plant them in an arch. I find it more aesthetic and I can plant more. » An essential fact, because the plot has dimensions of 6 x 10 m. To further save space, the fireman also chose a vertical garden, especially with beans and cucumbers. “Plus, it creates shade for other plants,” he says.

To save even more space, Vincent Cayron also opted for a vertical garden, especially with beans and cucumbers.  Copyright (c) Vincent Cayron.
To save even more space, Vincent Cayron also opted for a vertical garden, especially with beans and cucumbers. Copyright (c) Vincent Cayron.

Optimize your time and energy

The gardener created “little dunes” about 40 cm high, on which he placed his plants. It combines vegetables and fruits. “For example, I put green beans next to tomatoes. Beans capture nitrogen and then release it into the ground, which helps feed the tomatoes,” he concludes. For “three or four years”, the fortysomething adds flowers. “They attract pollinators. Tomatoes and courgettes are therefore pollinated thanks to them. »

As a professional firefighter and family man, Vincent Cayron does not have the opportunity to go to the family garden every day. That’s why he doesn’t water daily in the summer, as others might do. “Mulching keeps the soil fresh and moist,” he tells us. In the middle of winter, as now, the resident of Anglet continues to care for his land with creation carpet of leaves on the ground. “I found some in the park next door!” » He also adds willow branches. “At the moment I’m looking for manure to finish the mulching,” he continues.

And now ?

When Vincent Cayron doesn’t have time to water or weed his small plot every day, he has set up a greenhouse in his private garden to grow his own seedlings. “I did a lot of testing before I got there, it takes persistence,” he explains as advice for newbies.

Vincent Cayron, who has been awarded several times in local competitions thanks to his garden, would like to share his passion with the residents. Why not through visits organized with schools? Or dedicating a small patch of pumpkins to host a Halloween event? In any case, the firefighter is ready to invest in passing on his knowledge to younger generations.

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