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Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Time to spray

The weather the last few days has cooled down a bit and we had a few spits of rain. However, the forecast had been for torrential rain and storms, which have not materialized. We had let off on the watering routine a bit, only to see the ground slightly dampened. Most of the rain seems to have come down further south, only just skirting southern Liguria and northern Tuscany. At the weekend we sowed out some basil and melons outdoors (the melons I sowed indoors haven’t come) and some broccoli and some asparagus indoors. Today in full expectation of the rains we went to Arcola just to pick some peas and broad beans for dinner and found we needed to water! While we were there we decided to spray the vines, some of the fruit trees and some of the veg (toms and aubergines) with Bordeaux Mixture against fungal infections. In our shed we found an antique metal contraption you carry on your back and move a lever about to spray the blue liquid onto your target. Before that we planted a few tomato and aubergine plants out as well.

I have by the way found out in the meantime what is wrong with my peach and apricot trees. It’s peach leaf curl, which is a common fungal disease. Unfortunately I’m too late to do anything about it this year. All I can do is water and feed them well, so they survive this year’s attack. In November (remind me of this) I will then have to spray thoroughly with Bordeaux mixture, which should sort the problem. James, I know you’ve got a problem with your’s in Casola as well, so I could spray it then as well if you want.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, we’ll be off to Villa, beating back the weeds which are already knee high and spray the vines there. Did I mention the exciting wildlife on the plot in Villa? The other day I surprised two snakes in a bit of a naughty act, quite literally snaking around each other, standing up with the front third of their bodies. They were so busy they did not pay me any attention whatsoever, even though I stood barely 6 feet away from them. The trouble was they were in front of the water barrel I tried to get to, so after a few minutes I threw a stick at them so they’d disperse. I’m told there’s only one venomous snake in Italy, the viper, and their bodies are apparently not strong enough to stand up in the grass. Still, best to move carefully.

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