Thursday, 1 September 2011

August Heatwave



It’s been an incredibly hot August, without a spot of rain from the 1st of the month… 40 degrees in the shade most days. Needless to say we have been out early every other morning watering our little veggie babes.

The tomatoes have loved it and we’ve got jars and jars of rich passatta (tomato sauce) plus bags more in the freezer. We’ve had loads of green beans, aubergines and have strung the onions. And the corn on the cob was divine, must do more next year.

Things that haven’t gone so well, are the potatoes (desperately small) and the peppers which have become rather scorched in the soaring heat. So we may need to rethink for next year… we’ve had loads of lovely sweet melons of some friends, so all in all not a bad Summer harvest. Roll on Autumn!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Sizzling July

There is a lot going on in the Casa Grotta veg garden, and little monsters appearing in the geranium pots! This is Samson, he and his little sister Delilah will be going to their new home next week


This is the onion/brassica/bean patch. Have just lifted a barrow load of onions some are enormous!


We also have some corn growing here, but high winds last week gave them a bit of a battering…




Our baby Apple tree, heavy with fruit. I think we should have taken some off to allow the larger ones to fill out….P1000696A sun flower, of course…


The Apricots have been amazing this year… made lots of jam and dried some plus made a kind of trifle for dinner at friends


And the parsnips are going well too, trouble is the chicks love ‘em too so have to protect them.



Strawberries, which Freya loves! What is it with these animals who want to eat our food?


P1000701Tomatoes, aubergine, peppers, celery, cucumber, you name it it’s here, and the shade from a heavily laden fig tree.


Woops forgot to mention the courgette, we have two plants but one not doing so well.P1000703Tomatoes galore!

One of my favourites, the bath tub full of flowers with basil and coriander growing well below.P1000704

P1000705Chick peas, rather a lot of hard work for little return.

It’s mean a mixed month weather-wise. First temperatures hit the 50 degree mark and we (and veggies) were melting by the moment. Then we had very gusty but balmy winds which battered tall plants and nearly blew our gazebo away – another 3am trek outside bleary eyed to remove the cover. And now, temps have drop to high teens, we’re layering our clothes and it’s raining… can’t win can you?

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Midsummer Day in the Orto 2011

There is lots happening in our orto at the moment, and right now I could do with a cold bath! It’s been over 40 degrees since lunchtime… however we decided to pretty up this bath, rather fetching don’t you think?


The pomodori (tomatoes) are coming on a treat, just need to keep pinching out those side shoots…



These are runner beans, I think and hopefully will have a few more for later on… a favourite of l’uomochifa (and my Papa methinks…)


Just underneath my shadow our first melanzane, now eaten for lunch. Slice thinly, griddle on both sides and then drizzle with a mixture of olive oil, red pepper, garlic and lemon. Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 mins then serve… yum yum with tomatoes and mozarella!


And our first green pepper, again this has been skewered along with onion, pork and sage and put on the barbie!


Zeppelin Zucchini’s at the ready – that’s courgettes in another guise… they have gone bezerk…


Lots of lovely, new, zesty, lemons I hope – time will tell.


It’s not all veggie, the lavender is wonderfully fragrant and if you peer closely you can just see a tiny little bee who thinks the same!


Parsnips under lock and key. Friends have intimated that they may break them out overnight. So watch out…


Chickpeas! We need to plant more next year as there are only two to a pod. Apparently we leave them to dry on the plant… first year for us.


Our finest onions to date… not sure what we did different, but we’re not complaining!


Apples on our newish tree – planted last year. We bought a pear at the same time and have zilch fruit Sad smile


Japenese wild flowers, are going to be stunning,


and the dump patch with old potatoes, sunflowers and wild flowers from last year. The chicks love kicking about in here!


See you later!

Friday, 10 June 2011

Pot of Gold


The Walnut Trees are so lush and green at the moment and look fantastic in the early morning sunlight. Last year we hardly had any fruit – according to the locals lack of water, can’t be said for this year to date – so hoping that we’ll get loads to shell. Very therapeutic activity, shelling walnuts.




And we’ve harvested our first lot of new potatoes – which we sampled in a Salad Nicoise (I know it’s French but we’re international eaters) and hoping that they will come good in a Dauphinoise for our Anniversary meal tomorrow. No Colarado Beetle either this year. Hurrah!


And a lovely rainbow yesterday morning, though we hadn’t had any rain? Do you think the gold will still be there? Bagsy first…


Thursday, 2 June 2011

Some Flowers In June

Thought I’d post up some pictures of the floral activity at the beginning of the month. Not a great deal of colour but very pleasing to the eye all the same. The olive trees are dripping with flowers but we are very wary, last time that happened we ended up with a teaspoon of olives. The yucca is glorious but very heavy and in a place that it can’t be easily seen. Our little fat Buddha is surrounded by roses and lilies…