Archive | 5:02 AM

Planting an Orto

22 Apr

Recently, we visited a friend’s house in the country, a short 15 minute drive from Cortona. Although there were pretty flowers in pots and along the walkways, Len inquired about the vegetable garden. Doesn’t every home in the country have one?  “I’ve never had the time,” replied our friend, somewhat sadly, as she showed us the area where one would be planted. We also got a short Italian lesson..  a flower garden is giardino; a vegetable garden is orto.

Len and I looked at each other, smiled, and quickly asked if we could plant one together. Her eyes and smile said certo!

This week, the weather was nice enough to begin the work.

When we arrived, Fernanda was busy in the kitchen preparing lunch. Whether olive picking or planting an orto, a proper Italian lunch is always part of the day. She was making tiramisu from fresh eggs from her mother’s chickens.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

And this was our day:

Outside, the area was being prepared by Carlo with help from Len.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Then a trip to the nursery to pick the vegetables. The master planners were at work, selecting  the tomatoes, zucchini, onions and peppers, as well as dirt, tools, supports, etc.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Next it was time to build the cross trellises for the tomatoes, a rather elaborate and tedious process.

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After many hours, time for a well-deserved break and lunch.

Alio e olio con peperoncino

olio e alio con peperoncino ©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Salad, fresh ricotta and dark bread

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Tiramisu

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Then back to work to plant the vegetables.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

And advice from the neighbor to add more canes horizontally to support the tomatoes as they grow.

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Finally, add water.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

After a long day, it was time for dinner. Len had made pizza dough the night before, so he took over in the kitchen…

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©Blogginginitaly.com

under the very watchful eye of Mama Anna. What was she thinking???

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©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Achy, but feeling happy, we sat for dinner and laughed and talked about our accomplishments.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

After dinner, we went outside to view our work.

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Such perfect rows of tomatoes, with the other veggies planted behind.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

A blue haze crept in as the sun was setting over the valley, and the lights of Cortona were beginning to twinkle in the distance.

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©Blogginginitaly.com

And a fun footnote to the day. The neighbor, who besides offering assistance and advice, had two things to say. First, he was delighted that after all these years, an orto had finally been planted. And second, he was most amazed that it was two Americans that got it to happen. A toast to those damn Yanks!

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©Blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

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