Garden 2013: Day 1

Garden 2013: Day 1

I finally started cleaning up the garden yesterday.   Little late this year, but it’s been raining constantly.  I never cease to be amazed at the amount of weedage that grows in a couple weeks of warmish weather.  According to the neighborhood gardeners, my sunny plot isn’t the only one that’s especially verdant this year: the weeds are prolific everywhere.  Perhaps its because we live in Verduno. Ha! (Verde = “green” in Italian)

Below are the before and after pictures of my work thus far. The first couple days of cleanup are always overwhelming. More than “gardening” it feels like (barely checked) annihilation or extreme refuse removal.

Towards the end of my two hour pulling spree I usually start to get a little creeped out by all the spiders and bugs whose homes I’ve just destroyed. It wasn’t just by chance that I was attacked by an army of angry red ants who seemed to be looking for a new home inside my glove after I accidentally threw theirs into the compost pile. Payback baby.

On a positive note, I have six small fig trees that are about three years old and are full of fruit! These trees spontaneously sprouted from a beautiful old tree that my neighbor cut down about 4 years ago. In other news, my scraggly little rosemary plant has tripled in size and turned into a rather large rosemary hedge! The spring onions are taking over everywhere. If anyone needs some, PLEASE stop by and I’ll give you and your cousins and your Uncle Frank as many as you want.

Here are some pictures…though it doesn’t look like much at this point:

The Garden 2011

When Mom and Dad were here last month they tilled the garden for me and even started planting. Tilling that garden is no small chore, let me tell you, that dirt is like cement. In fact they ended up breaking the head of a shovel right in half! Thanks to their efforts, and some follow up work on my part, the garden is now well on its way. Here are some pictures, taken last Saturday:

Tomatoes, 3 varieties

Basil plant-lets and basil seeds

These are some onion-types that Luca's Uncle gave us...

I planted flowers all around the border of the garden

The artichokes are doing great this year, everyone in Verduno wants some!

8 zucchini plants and a row of corn. This picture doesn't do them justice.


A random poppy plant that sprouted from seeds my Mom gave me

You can't really tell from this picture, but these are beans (green and purple)

Lettuce that's been replanted twice: grow already!

Harvest Creation

A picture of this week’s harvest creation featuring amaranth, yellow roses and their seed pods and an 8 ft tall unnamed orange flower. I am so in love with Amaranth (got the seeds online from John Scheepers) -it makes the water in the vase turn purple after a day!  You can harvest the amaranth seeds and pop them like mini-baby popcorn in a frying pan – and you can eat the leaves raw in salad or cooked like beet greens.  It’s definitely a multi-purpose plant that brings loads of color to the garden even into Fall.

Weed Woman to the Rescue

I’ve been trying for years to get these sensitivity plant seeds to grow with no luck whatsoever.  Then my Mom, affectionately known as The Weed Woman, suggested I try putting the seeds in a wet paper towel in a plastic baggie and setting them in the sun for a couple days.  Needless to say, it worked like a charm and I am now the proud mother of several sensitivity plant seedlings (as evidenced below)!

It was a good thing I tried this trick with a bunch of the seeds because about half of them were duds!  This is a good technique to use on old seeds of dubious expiration date.  It’s so disheartening to plant and water and sun your seeds and have nothing pop out of the ground.  This method speeds the sprouting up and eliminates those days of heart wrenching worry.

I’ve now got a new batch of purple beans in my mini-greenhouse.  I secretly think these are magical beans – because they’re purple, the beans are a special glossy red, and the box says they grow really tall.  My suspicions were further confirmed by Weed Woman Herself, who assured me that they turn green when you cook them!  I’ll keep you posted on further magical properties as I discover them…

UPDATE:  It should be known that Weed Woman is an endearing term Mom earned for her extraordinary weed arrangements, which I’m positive are the envy of even Martha Herself.

Next Year’s Garden


This is how I want my garden to look next year.  Aren’t these the most amazing rows of zinnia and iris that you’ve ever seen?


Look at the color!!


This woman plants the same thing every year and her flowers last for a ridiculously long time – she’s got blooms from May through the end of October.  *So jealous*.  I don’t know how she does it because she doesn’t even live that close to her garden – I always see her going to and from her flowers on an old orange Vespa with her harvest basket precariously balanced between her knees.

I hopelessly abandoned my garden this year after planting herbs, rhubarb and tomatoes.  The cuore di bue (ox heart) tomatoes below are about the only thing we harvested – they were really good, but most of them ripened while we were on summer vacation.  Here we prepared them with garlic, olive oil and basil and ate them with rustic bread and fresh ricotta that our mountain neighbor made.  I think always having colorful flowers would be a great incentive to pay more attention to what’s going on in the garden.


Va beh (oh well).  Better luck next year.

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