When we decided to move from the city to the countryside, one of our dreams and resolutions was to keep a vegetable garden and grow our own produce. This year (the very first year) we tried to start and maintain a vegetable patch and so far it's been a bitter sweet experience. While we've had some success in some areas, we definitely have failed in others.
I decided to write some notes to myself, as a point of reference for the next year:
* Gardening and growing vegetables in Liguria is a lot harder than I thought. The space is very limited and the soil is rough, hard and filled with way too many rocks and pebbles. This is the reason why the carrots we planted didn't manage to grow, at all.
* The ex-owners said it was impossible to grow eggplants at this altitude. We prove them wrong. We planted only four plants and they all have resisted, giving us few lovely aubergines.
* That cherry tree in the back of the garden- it's a keeper. It was overloaded with sweet and juicy fruits. Now our pantry shelves are overloaded with jars of cherry and vanilla jam, a new family favorite.
* That plum tree in the middle of the garden- it's a keeper too. It gave sweet and healthy, worm-free fruits (most of the cherries were unfortunately infested with worms).
* The biggest disappointment so far: zucchini. They are probably the most common vegetable in Italian veggie gardens and they are (or supposed to be) one of the easiest vegetables to grow. Well, not for us as it seems. We had many plants planted and they all had beautiful flowers but only few of them actually gave us zucchini. Just enough for one frittata...
* The biggest success so far: tomatoes. Especially cherry, plum and black tomatoes. They have been a source of real joy for a tomato addict like me. San Marziano kind should be avoided though- their fruits are rotting on the plant before even turning red. Must find out- why...?
* Runner beans have passed the exam too. Definitely to be planted next year again.
* The sour cherry tree gave some fruits; not enough for at least one batch of jam but enough to snack on while spending time in the garden.
* Cucumbers: didn't survive heat waves in July, even with regular watering :( Pity, because I was pretty excited about them.
* Raspberries: two small plants, plenty of fruits. We should get some more as they quickly became kids' favorite.
* Peppers: some are turning out nicely, some are not. We'll see when they're ready to be picked.
The whole gardening has been enjoyable experience so far but it is hard work too. But seeing our kids' playing in the garden, running barefoot on the grass and eating raspberries or tomatoes straight from the plant makes it all worthwhile.