11 July 2011

A Garden Spot

il orto

When I was a kid I dug up a small plot in our back yard to have a vegetable garden. I continued this habit with the houses we had in New Mexico. Since we moved from New Mexico I have not had the opportunity to have another garden…until this year.

All of the other Trivignesi we know have una campagna, a plot near town where they have their orto for vegetables, perhaps a vigneto for grapes and raise some animals. This land provides a year-round source of fresh food for their tables. We are frequently the lucky recipients of their abundance and generosity.

Our chosen plot

The plot has been cleared

Our first plantings
We do not have una campagna, we’d like one but our place did not include this bonus. We are, however, fortunate to live on the edge of town and below our house is some communal land that is not being used. A friend told us to go ahead and use it for un orto and this past spring I spent a few days pulling weeds and clearing rocks and debris from a small plot. In true small town fashion everyone could see my activities and we got a few suggestions on what to plant, how, etc.

We stated out with some lattuga (lettuce), carota and prezzemolo (parsley). Soon a neighbor gave us several fragola plants which we quickly planted. We then added some pomodoro (tomato) and basilica plants.

The stairs!

There is no water at our orto so I have to haul down a ten liter jug each day, the steps down are rather narrow and steep. As the summer heat has intensified we used all of the lattuga before it wilted. Soon we will start picking some of the pomodori and basilica for sauces and to add some mozzarella for a cool summer lunch.

We may only have a small garden, but for our first year it is a start…and an experiment.


Patricia said...

I enjoyed your post. since I was a child, our homes always had a little vegetable garden...in fact a house is not a home until it has a tomato plant. My cousins in Sicily each have una compagna outside the village boundaries and it is the first place the go when they get home from work. I am sure your orto will bring you pleasure and help you feel even more entrenched in your Italian home.

Bryan said...

Patricia - I agree it isn't a home until it has some kind of vegetable. We had small planters with herbs in our apartments, and still do on our terrace here.