Friday, September 3, 2010

da orto ...... we bring home from Italy a lesson on growing tomatoes.

Here it is the start of September and we have these bright and delicious cherry tomatoes in abundance. We use these in pasta dishes and salads but nothing is better than eating them fresh from the vine while there are warm from the morning sun.

We have several varieties of swiss chard this year. We plant them as much for there beautiful colors as well as for cooking. We often do a simple preparation of the chard (sometimes blanched first) , chopped and sauteed with
garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.

In our visits to Italy we have spent time visiting gardens. Often some of the best lessons we get are from small backyard gardens in the village where we stay. Household gardens are very common, and we have found the gardeners are quite happy to show off their gardens and sometimes even share a tomato or some strawberries with us!!
This tomato trellis in our garden is typical of how we have seen tomatoes growing in Umbria and Tuscany.
We have constructed this structure from bamboo poles which is the same type of material used in Italy. Here we are growing heirloom tomatoes and plum tomatoes primarily for making sauce.

In another part of the garden we are using an upright fence type trellis , made from bamboo poles, for the cherry tomatoes.
This makes a very attractive structural element for our garden as well as showing off the brilliant sunny colors of the tomatoes.

A marvelous color transition display from mother to orange to ripe red!

The Italians are masters at use of space and this way of growing tomatoes is an example of
economy of space as well as being visually appealing.

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