orWine Tastings in the Comfort of you own villa or B&B while on holiday in Tuscany or Liguria

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Sunday, 30 March 2008

Spring at last

Spring does seem to have arrived at last, but only after winter really had hit out again one more time. Yesterday we returned to Villa for the first time since planting the new vines. All of them had suffered frost damage. They had been reared at the relatively mild coastal climate above La Spezia and had already sprouted green shoots, well ahead of their cousins up in Villa. Now all those green shoots have died. I hope the vines still have enough in them to sprout again. We gave them a good watering anyway and can now only hope. It can’t have been lack of water anyway, as there had been plenty of rain, hail and possibly up there snow.

Still lacking a plough, (the local bicycle and small machine repair man in Santo Stefano said he’d keep a lookout for a second hand one for us), we were hard at it to dig over a large area to bury the potatoes. After some 5 hours solid digging my shoulders were about to drop off. We managed to plant most of the spuds we had, but we’ll have to finish off the job tomorrow. Hope they won’t get dug by the local wild boar population. There only seems to be evidence of them lower down though and not 3 terraces up. They obviously don’t like climbing, but you never know once they get the scent of some nice nourishing potatoes…

Today we were back in Arcola to plant out some radicchio lettuces and water the veg we planted the other day. One of the cucumber plants had been dug by the neighbour’s cat, what a nuisance. The peach and plum trees are pretty much finished flowering, now it’s the turn of the cherry (top photo) and pear trees. Many wild and semi-wild flowers are also in bloom. The bees love the borage (middle photo), which has sown itself out between the strawberries (bottom photo). Borage and strawberries are said to make good companion plants and once you’ve sown borage they will happily sow themselves out year after year. I love the delicate flavour of ravioli al boragine, borage and ricotta filled pasta. And as for strawberries… shouldn’t be long now for the first crop.

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