The first half of the month was spent in Garfagnana, a region in Northern Tuscany. Their summer can be encapsulated in one word: pioggia. Even though that translates rather prosaically in English as rain, it is nothing like English misty rain. The Tuscan downpours are often accompained with dramatic claps of thunder and flashes of lightning (and buckets and buckets of water). The old traditional house that we rented (in a rural village, population = 16) had a vegetable garden attached for our shared use with the owners. A quick look around confirmed that too much pioggia is not good for Mediterranean summer veg – like tomatoes, peppers, aubergines – that thrive on hot summer sun. If you look close enough in the picture, you can see one lone tomato clinging to a rotting vine. The locals were also concerned by the affects of rain on the quality of grapes that grew everywhere around our tiny village. This, obviously, does not bode well for the 2014 vintage.
However, there is still hope for the region’s wine. We visited Podere Còncori, an organic, “biodynamic”, vineyard which relies on the intimate knowledge of the land. Their vines on slopes face the sun and the soil conditioned to soak up the water and reflect back the light. The grapes looked full and ripe, free of mildew and were just beginning to be harvested when we visited. By the way, they make exceptional wine and are one of the Tuscan vineyards listed in the Slow Wine guide.
We arrived home (with a few cases of Còncori wine) to a distinct autumnal feel. The leaves on the early Bluecrop blueberries had turned a dramatic red and were beginning to fall.
However, my new Ozark Blue blueberry was just beginning to produce ripe fruit. But then, the variety is known as a late cropper. It is doing very well, so I might have a look around the rest of the garden to see if I can find space for more plants next year.
The Autumn Bliss raspberries were burgeoning with fruit – some a tad overripe even though our son faithfully picked and froze packets of raspberries while we were away. I can see these will continue well into October.
Also, the quinces were at their peak.
And the fennel seeds were nice and plump – ready to be picked and dried.
Along the far side of the house the crabapple tree still thrives amidst the jungle of ferns (purposely planted) and the brambles (not purposely planted). It is festooned with small yellow apples – just ripe for picking.
Tasks to be done:
- Prune the fruit trees and shrubs.
- Repot the tender herbs such as tarragon an lemon verbena for moving indoors for the winter.
- Harvest the quinces and crabapples.
|Around My Edible Garden is my monthly diary entry detailing what is happening in my garden this past month, part of the Garden Share Collective (GSC), maintained by Lizzie@strayedtable. A chronological listing of my garden blog posts is listed Diaries in the Menu bar.|