The Herb Garden

I started working in the garden a couple of weeks ago – turning the earth over (what’s the term for that in English? tilling by hand?), pulling weeds, removing debris and hoeing. I also built a little wall using old floor tiles from the 1800s. Today I’m going to have a bonfire to burn all the old branches and whatnot and our friend, Gianluca is coming this week to till with his tiller machine! Then, finally it will be time to plant. As you can see in the pictures below, I’ve already started some seeds inside. Mostly flowers and basil. After planting almost everything by seed last year I’ve decided it’s easier to buy the seedlings that are already a couple months old. They cost like 50 cents and save so much time.

Cows & Hoses

On Sunday I decided to take out the porous hose we installed in the garden this summer.  I need to re-till the whole plot before winter sets in and the hose was only going to be in the way. I think I may have mentioned before that the garden isn’t actually on a flat piece of land, but a slope.  It’s been raining for the last couple of weeks, so the entire field was good and muddy.  Things went pretty well until I reached the steeper part of our plot and whoooooooooooosh, I totally fell flat on my face and slid down the rest of the hill. Hahaha.  (For those of you familiar with Anne of Green Gables – remember the scene where Anne & Diana chase the Jersey cow out of Rachel Lind’s potato field?  This was pretty much the same deal.)  My neighbor, who was gardening at the time got a good laugh anyways.

The Last Garden Harvest of 2008

Explore my garden’s last harvest. Can you guess what these photos are by their thumbnail?
Click on the images to enlarge. Use arrow keys to go forward and backward. Open more than one photo at a time and move them around where ever you want!

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The last things my garden produced this year

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Decorative Squash from the garden

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My biggest pumpkins. The one on the right weighed in at 25 kilos (50 pounds) the one on the left was 11 kilos (24 1/4 pounds). The yellow things that look like squash are actually zucchini that I left out in the sun for a really long time.

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Me & the pumpkins

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This zucchini is taller than our outdoor grill!

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The last zinnia of the year

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More decorative pumpkins and the last of the basil

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I made a humungo wreath with a viney weed that was taking over the garden and gave it a little color with the dried out hot peppers that we didn’t use.

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The harvest

Autumn Agriculture

pumpkinmy pumpkins!pumpkin

 As usual, Piedmont is bustling with Autumnal agricultural activities this year.  Everyone finished harvesting their hazelnuts in the last two weeks, so our farmer friends are all totally exhausted.  Kind of sucks for them that the hay and wheat and hazelnuts and grapes all need to be harvested in the same two months.  The vintners harvested the white grapes on Monday and for a few days the whole town smelled like grape juice – highly enjoyable and rather intoxicating.  Now they’ve started bringing in some of the red grapes.

pumpkinI feel more united with the agricultural folk this year after having labored in my own garden.  I feel I’ve earned a little of their respect and have at least a minimal right of feeling a part of their community.  (Okay, okay, so I know they’re all totally jealous that my pumpkins are SO much bigger than theirs, but seeing as how my tomato plants died off and my peppers are a little bitter, we’ll call it even).  It was helpful having neighbors that were so willing to share their gardening expertise.  Most of them are already well into their winter seeding – cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, fennel.  I decided to just do one round of gardening this year.  Mostly because my pumpkins have completely taken over the entire plot of land and I don’t really feel like tearing everything out and re-tilling the earth.  Maybe next year.  For now we still have lettuce, zucchini, peppers, funky ornamental gourds, and herbs growing healthily.  I tore a couple of the tomato plants out yesterday to make more room for the pumpkin foliage.  I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with pumpkins.  I just love them.  I love Fall (especially Fall food like hot-from-the-cauldron cinnamon & sugar donuts, fonduta and polenta), picking apples, crunchy fallen leaves and Halloween.  We had the first polenta of the season tonight (an appropriate way to celebrate the beginning of Fall!)



Our neighbors in the mountains have been giving us GREAT blueberries in the last couple of weeks.  What a treat!  I love eating them in my morning cereal and mixed into fior di latte or vanilla ice cream in the evening.  Yummers. 

I’ve been urging the Badellino family to plant a blueberry bush in our mountain garden next year.  None of them are very fond of blueberries though, so I may just have to keep suck-holing them off the neighbors/stealing them when nobody’s looking.

Eating all these blueberries reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books, Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey, which my parents used to read to me when I was little.

I keep wanting to make blueberry muffins, but somehow I seem to eat them all by the time I get around to making them…

The First Tomatoes

 We ate the first tomatoes from the garden last night!!

tomatoes: not zucchini!

tomatoChopped up with whole garlic, basil (also from the garden), mozzarella (from our next door neighbor’s cow), olive oil (produced by our friends in Liguria), salt and pepper.  

Simple, fresh good.

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