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.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

And this was our day:

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

©Blogginginitaly.com

©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.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

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

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

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

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Then back to work to plant the vegetables.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

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

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©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Finally, add water.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©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???

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

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

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

After dinner, we went outside to view our work.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

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

©Blogginginitaly.com

©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.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©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!

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Ciao,
Judy

 

 

 

19 Responses to “Planting an Orto”

  1. Sandra April 22, 2016 at 7:43 AM #

    Magnifico! Sandra 💕

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jean April 22, 2016 at 10:00 AM #

    Lovely garden! I notice the surrounding wire and even a gate! What critters are they expecting to fight for their vegetables?
    Don’t you two ever rest?
    Al & Jean

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly April 23, 2016 at 3:04 AM #

      The usual suspects, including perhaps some humans driving through!

      Like

  3. karenincalabria April 22, 2016 at 10:51 AM #

    And hopefully you’ll get to enjoy the fruits of your labors, soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Deb Feo April 22, 2016 at 11:50 AM #

    And now the anticipation! Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly April 23, 2016 at 3:06 AM #

      I remember picking them in your orto! And next, chickens??? Maybe you can come over and help with them.

      Like

  5. Mari Louise April 22, 2016 at 4:22 PM #

    What a wonderful thing to do! And a perfect little garden!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Vera April 22, 2016 at 8:46 PM #

    How wonderful to see you guys planting an ‘orto’ in Fernanda’s San Lorenzo house! You are so kind and Fernanda really deserves to see ‘sua casa di campagna’ flourish with this new addition. I admire your energy, good vibes and friendship. Baci

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly April 23, 2016 at 3:09 AM #

      Thanks, Vera, it was great fun and a wonderful group effort. I’m sure you’ll enjoy some of the results in the fall. Just hoping we don’t get a bit if a freeze at night next week!!

      Like

  7. Florence Larsen April 22, 2016 at 10:17 PM #

    How fun !!! Good experience for your deck garden!!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly April 23, 2016 at 3:11 AM #

      Funny, I’ve never been able to grow tomatoes from a pot, but yes to all the herbs!

      Like

  8. stellalucentellc April 22, 2016 at 11:37 PM #

    Love how you made the cross trellises for the tomatoes. I want to try this in my garden this year! No matter how many farmer’s markets pop up, there is still nothing like a freshly grown tomato!

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly April 23, 2016 at 3:13 AM #

      You are so right, there is nothing quite like a just picked tomato. As for the trellises, it was the suggestion of the person at the nursery. A lot of work, so we’ll see it it makes a difference, but they do look impressive!

      Like

  9. Royce Larsen April 23, 2016 at 9:38 AM #

    I enjoyed the “orto” experience
    The photography was, as always, remarkable
    I thought the “blue haze” of Cortona was well captured and worth framing
    Hopefully you will keep updating your progress with the garden
    Hurray for the Yankees!

    Like

    • blogginginitaly April 23, 2016 at 11:30 AM #

      Thanks for all your comments. I will definitely report on the progress of the orto inhabitants!

      Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Orto Update | Blogging In Italy - July 24, 2016

    […] Just over three months ago, we planted an orto, or vegetable garden, in our friend’s yard in Tuscany. https://blogginginitaly.com/2016/04/22/planting-an-orto/ […]

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