Against all odds, I am trying a veg garden at home again this year. I like the fall vegetables, the carrots, beets, onions, chard, lettuces of all sorts...it's a mild climate here, so we can go for it.
Against all odds, because every couple of years I try, and every time I am bummed when the raccoons, or birds or cats mess it all up.
Oh, and those f-ing earwigs try my last nerve.
We have gorgeous produce everywhere, but I still like the idea of going into my own little garden to pick a few things for the dinner table. What can I say... I grew up next to both sets of grandparents, and both grandpas were into it big time.
So I try again.
Things were going really well, too...we made an awesome "cage" thingy to fit over the main raised bed, I put in loads of my good compost, and the gentle rains have been fabulous. We go out every day to see the beauty of the seedlings raising up out of the soil, so trim and happy. I like making rows, so the geometry speaks to my sense of order, as well. Then...wahhhh.
I think it's the sweet neighborhood cat, Grace-Eva, that did the main damage. She must have jumped up onto the netting and busted through the top of the cage. So of course the lovely birds had their way with the seedlings. They just pluck them out like candy.
What can I say, I'm a masochist, I guess. Every freaking time. I'll get over it, and Johnny is putting wire where the netting was, which we should have known to do from the start. Sigh. It may be too cold to start fresh, but there are still some survivors, so.....
Anyhoo, it got me to thinking about my little veg garden at Villa Adriana this past spring. It was sure nice to have, since the place came with the garden already well on it's way, and I could add whatever I wanted. Sweet. One of the first things I did was to get some seeds to plant with Loreen, our pal that came to stay early in the trip. She is a wonderful gardener, so I thought it would be fun.
|Entry path to the veggie garden, just past the grape arbor and plum tree!|
|An early shot, with the arugula bed in front, nothing coming up yet.|
There are peas, lava beans, chard, potatoes and artichokes, too.
It was great watching as everything thrived in the sun and rain, growing super fast. In just a few short weeks we were enjoying chard in soups, or with roasted potatoes, and we had arugula salads all the time....
|Peas on left, fave on right, arugula and chard in the fore ground.|
|This patch of arugula was the gift that just kept giving....|
|Simple salad with our favorite onion/sage "pizza" from the Panicle bakery.|
|A small section of the massive potato patch.|
It's a trip that I never saw any critters or bugs going after these delicacies...I know that the gardener wasn't spraying or setting nastiness around...he was mostly interested in the olive grove, anyway. I think he liked that I was doing my own thing, even weeding and watering, when needed. It was a lovely way to relax, and with that view, I mean why not?
|Picking leaves from a rouge chard plant that kept coming up in the "lawn".|
If I waited too long, it would get mowed by dear Renato, the gardener.
As time went by, we were excited to realize that we would be able to enjoy the fava and peas, if not the stone fruits. The peas were heaven on a plate just warmed in a pan with a little olive oil and salt...
|So pretty with the sun behind them...|
|We even had a couple of these lovely artichokes, which we art raw, like the locals do.|
The leaves are tender enough, just dip in good olive oil, sprinkle with a bit of salt.
I've mentioned a few times here in the blog about the tradition of eating fresh, young fava beans with fresh pecorino. We stuffed ourselves, really. Our favorite place for pecorino, Fontemanna, is already in our dreams for the next trip, especially since we know we will be there again in the perfect season.
|There were red poppies coming along all through the garden, |
along with other beautiful "weeds".
|The lunch we dream about.|
I don't know if we will ever be in Panicale during stone fruit season, but if we are, I know it will be an outrageously tasty time. There were several cherry, apricot, peach and plum trees on this property...all just getting ready to explode. At least we were able to see them all in full, glorious bloom...
|Cherry tree from heaven...|
|Apricots, I do believe....|
I'm going to just keep on trying to get things going in my garden, I don't care what trys to stop me. After writing this, I'm very determined to see it through. And you'll see photos of my beets and carrots, roasted and glistening...I really can not wait.
Sometimes it takes a little reminding to my own self just how special it is to even have a garden...
|A "last day of the trip" shot of the garden. I hope whoever came next enjoyed it as |
much as we did. I think they did.