I have been remiss about updating about the vegetable garden.
This Mayday holiday weekend (in Italy all the holidays fall on the actual day i.e. 1st May is the holiday not the nearest Monday. If the day is near a weekend Italians often take the day off in between so making a ‘ponte’ or bridge. This sounds good until you realise that if the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday then that’s it, no day’s holiday from work. Anyway this weekend we took the ‘ponte’ and have been working mainly in the vegetable garden planting out as much as possible. The days have been strange weather wise; still (very unusual) and dull, good for photographs, but today it started out sunny and hot, my husband taking his shirt off and me putting my sunhat on, then about mid-day it clouded up to become very grey, the wind got up and it is now showering quite hard. Hence I’m indoors and writing this.
I am growing even more varieties of tomatoes this year. I like making salads with different sizes and colours of tomato and I plan to make more sauce this year and soup. I found an excellent soup recipe at the end of last summer so will make and freeze some batches for the winter.
Tomatoes I am growing this year:
San Marzano: the classic tomato for making sauce originally from Naples.
Bello di Trevignano: This is a local tomato from Lake Braciano; it has been given IGP status so I’m hoping that because it is local it will grow well.
Tondo di Monte Carlo: After I bought these 6 plants I discovered that each plant can grow to hedge size dimensions, some sites quoting 6 foot by 6 foot. I will have to keep these under control!
Pacchino: small plum-shaped tomatoes that have a wonderful taste for salads, cooked into a simple fresh sauce for roasting with other summer vegetables
Small yellow pear-shaped: I grow these from saved seeds, they add great colour to salads or roasted vegetables. Germination is good so I give excess plants to friends.
Beefsteak: great for slicing or stuffing.
Daterino: These are small date sized and shaped as their name suggests. The sweetest, tastiest tomatoes for just popping in your mouth instead of a sweet! Looking at photos of this on-line, I think I may have grown them before thinking they were pacchino.
Giallo inveralli da appendare: No varietal name for these yellow fruiting tomatoes. It seems that the fruit can be conserved all winter by hanging the bunches of tomatoes in any place where the temperature won’t drop below zero and they will keep to eat fresh during the winter. They come from Puglia, I’ve never even heard of them before and there is also a red variety available! We will see if this works, I may try some in the greenhouse for late cropping too!
Strawberries are ripening, I pick and eat one nearly every time I walk by, by next week there should be a bowl each for 2!
I planted out the sweet corn, I sowed more this year as I bought a freezer last year and it will be nice to have cobs for the barbeque and maybe even take some from the cob to eat in winter; can you believe that sweet corn isn’t sold here! It’s considered animal feed! – Not surprising really as what is grown is not sweet but very starchy; I’m always worried mine will be fertilized by pollen from the fields.
This year I decided to grow climbing beans as I think the season of production is longer. I sowed some black beans that I bought the packs in the UK and they look very unhealthy, no idea why; and climbing green beans that germinated in 3 days and are romping away. Between the canes I sowed some dwarf French beans and Misticanza salad.
Elsewhere I planted out Aubergines and peppers. What I thought was parsley turns out to be celery! I’ve never grown that before so that’s going to be a new experience……and I’ll have to buy some parsley plants!
In March or early April I sowed Barlotti beans and chick peas. Both of these maybe a bit of a mistake as I could probably use the space for things I use more; how much do a few dried chick peas cost anyway? I grew Barlotti last year and used some fresh and dried the rest; I still have some dried ones left, I use them in soups mainly but they are nice with new season’s olive oil.