One week back in Italy after three weeks in Brooklyn NYC and I’m just about over the jetlag. However, it wasn’t just my sleep pattern that was affected; it was eating, drinking and bodily functions that all went skew-whiff! Back on track now you’ll be pleased to know.
The result of three weeks absence meant that the orto (vegetable garden) had gone completely bonkers. Whilst away, the weather here in Italy had been sunny, warm and interspersed with lots of rain. Heaven for plants. It was impossible to see the paths separating the beds or to sort the weeds from the growing vegetables and I actually thought in one area that I must have cultivated some strain of triffid. Fortunately not.
My husband played hunt the strawberries and kindly cleared the bed of all but the said strawberries which, now having been shown the light, will hopefully plump up and ripen before June.
I tried, (honestly) to weed some of the beds but ended up just picking peas, fava beans (broad beans) and a lettuce for lunch. I know, I should have done more but it really is hard work and I don’t think I’m dedicated enough. I mean, it’s fantastic to pick something from the garden, carry it into the house, prepare and eat it all within half an hour. But, honestly, the work that you have to put in to get to the harvesting stage is possibly not my bag. I have friends who are devoted to their vegetable gardens, (and I do admire them) up at the crack of dawn, which here means 05.30am or it’s too hot, then toiling for three hours or more, virtually every day. Then you have to set up the irrigation system, the plants need water morning and night here in Italy from June/July through to October. Last year was so hot that even with watering the poor little veggies needed umbrellas to keep the sun off during the day or they dehydrated within minutes.
So I ask myself, is it better to just go to the market and buy fresh local produce or should I continue to try, against all the odds, to plod on with ‘grow your own’ method? The peas and beans were planted in November, as were the lettuce and they have all come through beautifully, from now on though, it’s all downhill.
Final thought. Who remembers shelling peas with their mum when they were a kid? I do and today I was reminded of that. It took me twenty minutes to shell a small bowlful of peas. They were delicious, but were they better than the frozen? The vote in this household is yes! But he would say that, he didn’t shell the peas nor did he pick them!