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Harry, Mary quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With parsley green and basil bright?
And so our garden grows!
It’s orto time! Orto is Italian for a kitchen garden and our garden looks set to keep our kitchens supplied all season long. May the gods of sun and rain smile upon us because we’ve got our pride on the line.
Gardening in the dead center of a medieval village has it’s own... charms and peculiarities. It’s the nature of life in our village to comment on all goings on, no matter how mundane. So, having Americans gardening in town is cause for amusement, comment, criticism and the occasional full scale assault. The assault occurred last year when the very ancient Virginia came into the orto wielding a sickle and mowed down our parsley because she said it was time for it go.
Or the time Lina asked for basil. Not some basil leaves; she wanted the whole plant with the roots attached. Jeff obliged her with a smaller plant, not the one she truly wanted. She wanted Arnie, our gorgeous beast of a basil plant. You almost come to expect visits like these.
We are sharecroppers on our little plot; It’s owned by the magnanimous Quinto Bruschi (so named because he was the fifth child), who kindly lets us use the plot. Here’s the full story of our amazing good fortune.
We share our orto with the Dues, four American architects who own the little house that you can see in some of the pictures. Which means that if we don’t get the rows and beds completely straight and parallel there will be no end of long sighs and raised eyebrows when they arrive.
We tried our best and if any of the rows are crooked, it’s my fault, not Jeff’s. We did add a third bed. And I put the overbearing zucchini on the bern against the wall, along with some melons. The little wild flower mix is sweetly charming. The black tulips were gorgeous. The rose buds just came out this week. The first two irises bloomed today. The grape vine is looking productive, but Quinto really cut it back this year! Our Orto guardian, the little rubber ducky is still tucked away in the ancient stone wall and is watching over us. Niccolino is still keeping Jeff company while he’s working. And Carolina is paying us regular visits. What is it about cats and rolling in the dirt??
Here’s the full tally:
11 kinds of tomatoes!
Lots of basil
Curley Parsley (I bought the wrong kind!!)
Little frying peppers
Hot Chili Peppers (not enough of those)
Long Red Tropea Onions (that probably don’t have a chance of growing long and straight in our dense, rocky soil. One year we grew carrots that tied themselves into knots.)
Round White Summer Onions
Cucumbers (the plant package says will get 80 to 100 cucumbers per plant....I want to see that!)
A red garlic patch
5 kinds of leaf lettuce and some wimpy spinach
The rucola wintered over. It’s extremely peppery and pretty fibrous. I’m sure Virginia has her eye on it, just itching to mow it down.
Sugar Baby Watermelons
The stupid zucchini (which is required, by law, in all Italian ortos)
And a mystery squash that Bruce gave us that he says is the best squash on the planet.
That should keep us pretty well fed, and just a little busy, don’t you think?
Happy gardening one and all!