Amandine Bichot starts growing edible flowers in Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit, near Béziers

Amandine Bichot starts growing edible flowers in Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit, near Béziers

Amandine Bichot cultive ses fleurs, plantes et micropousses en agriculture biologique. Antonia Jimenez – ML

Amandine Bichot starts growing edible flowers in Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit, near Béziers

Amandine Bichot cultive ses fleurs, plantes et micropousses en agriculture biologique. Antonia Jimenez – ML

Amandine Bichot starts growing edible flowers in Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit, near Béziers

Amandine Bichot cultive ses fleurs, plantes et micropousses en agriculture biologique. Antonia Jimenez – ML

The biologist converted to set up her own farm on organic land just outside Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit. She is awaiting her first harvests of edible flowers, aromatic plants and microgreens of vegetables and salads.

"Biodiversity works for me, I just have to nourish it and put it in optimal conditions", smiles Amandine Bichot, 39, who farms 400 m2 of land in Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit, in the Béziers hinterland, to grow edible flowers and plants. aromatics and microgreens of salads and vegetables in organic farming.

The young "neo-agriculturist" awaits its first harvests. Starting this month of April, she should be picking aromatic plants (chives, Chinese spring onions, coriander, basil, papalo, shiso) but also some microgreens (peas, pink radishes, arugula). , beet…). For flowers (cosmos, marigold, nasturtium, snapdragon, pansy, carnation), you will have to wait until mid-May. But there's no hurry. It is now nature that punctuates the young woman's days and pleasures.

A professional transition project

It seems a long time ago when, as a biologist, with a very ecological nature, she worked in the Coastal Preservation department of the Interdepartmental Agreement for Mosquito Control of the Mediterranean Coast (EID-Med). "I stayed there for ten years, then I worked for five years in a shipyard in La Grande-Motte as quality and environment manager. These two missions fascinated me, but two years ago, I felt a very strong need to return to the earth, to plants."

The memories of her father, a breeder, and her grandmother, passionate about medicinal plants, never leave her. "I was on the verge of burnout. Before things didn't go well at work, I decided to retrain in agriculture. Luckily, I was supported by my management who allowed me to follow the necessary training. I benefited from the device Professional Transition Project (PTP)."

In addition, Amandine often goes to see her partner who owns four hectares of land in the village where the couple now lives, Saint-Geniès-de-Fontedit. She therefore left for Nyons, in the Drôme, where she prepared, for nine months, a professional certificate responsible for agricultural exploitation. She gets it.

At the same time, his thirst for knowledge about edible plants never goes away. "It’s a bottomless well of knowledge. I rushed in, first with my grandmother, then alone. And my project has matured in this direction."

In a wasteland at Maison Baseli

She returned last year to live fully in the village of Biterrois to create her business: La Maison Baseli. "J’ I first started working the land. In the fall, I used the rototiller to loosen the soil, remove stones and as much quack grass as possible. I then sowed green manure, a mixture of species and at least one cereal and one legume. The cereal has a powerful root system which improves the structure of the soil while creating significant biomass. The legume allows the nitrogen enrichment of the soil…"Amandine could talk about the hours of her work of preparing wastelands, respectful of nature, of her seedlings which flourish in the 100 m2 greenhouse that she set up next to the cultivated part (photo).

"In the spring, I crushed the green manure that I left on site, at the level of my growing beds . I amended it with manure and then covered everything with a cover (photo). These tarpaulins will allow soil life, insects and earthworms, to develop and degrade the green manure and manure in place, and to integrate this material into the soil of my future crops. And when I plant my plants that come out of the greenhouse, I just have to remove the tarpaulins."

70 cultivated species

Below, its soils are rich, full of life, loosened by the work of the present fauna and the roots of the green manure… The ideal soil for these edible flowers and aromatic plants to grow in optimal and natural conditions. "I grow around 70 species of flowers, plants and microgreens." Amandine never sits idle. As soon as she has time, she approaches restaurateurs. "I will be able to start selling in June. I work a lot with a market gardener, Romain Lagriffoul, from Cébazan, from the Campesina farm who has contacts in high-end catering. We combine our forces. And then it’s important not to be alone…"

Today, his eyes sparkle. "I'm super happy. This project ultimately fits into my ecological philosophy, it’s as if it brought together all the elements, all the skills acquired since my childhood. He looks like me."

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