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Grow it yourself

Grow it yourself

Old Apr 8th 2020, 2:06 pm
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

I have to say I'm very impressed with all your weed killing ideas... And quite shocked by the height of the weeds Jake.White! So I'm guessing that water is an issue and weeds too. But that said is it worth it to grow your own rather than buy at markets? If I managed to get somewhere in the hills (not way up but 15 mins or shout of a town) what other wildlife should I be aware of, both for growing stuff and my cats?
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Old Apr 8th 2020, 2:48 pm
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

Originally Posted by travelling hopefully View Post
If I managed to get somewhere in the hills (not way up but 15 mins or shout of a town) what other wildlife should I be aware of, both for growing stuff and my cats?
Obviously it depends exactly where you are, because you're talking about regions that are quite mountainous and wild in parts and it can vary widely, but in addition to things you might encounter in the UK (rabbits, deer, etc) there are more of the things that are rare in the UK (snakes, wild boar, etc) and also things you won't usually find in the UK (mosquitoes, scorpions, porcupines, wolves, even bears).

Never seen a wolf or bear personally (I have seen all of the others), and I live on the border with Umbria.

The local farmers keep packs of dogs to protect their sheep from wolves. The dogs live with the sheep so I guess they might potentially be a problem to your cats, but it's unlikely. The cats will just climb a tree or something. The biggest problem for your cats is likely to be all the other stray cats that will be living nearby - though most cats tend to sort themselves out and avoid actual physical fights if they can - more likely a lot of noise, and then you'll find the strays join decide to come and live with you!

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Old Apr 8th 2020, 2:53 pm
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

I suspect that grow it yourself is going to be popular this year. In my village there are abandoned vines and olive trees everywhere because nobody was interested.
I cannot understand why they are not allowing small cultivators to go to their land and work alone. If they dont prune the trees they dont get any oil. A lot of oil in Umbria comes from small farmers.
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Old Apr 8th 2020, 3:28 pm
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

Originally Posted by travelling hopefully View Post
I have to say I'm very impressed with all your weed killing ideas... And quite shocked by the height of the weeds Jake.White! So I'm guessing that water is an issue and weeds too. But that said is it worth it to grow your own rather than buy at markets? If I managed to get somewhere in the hills (not way up but 15 mins or shout of a town) what other wildlife should I be aware of, both for growing stuff and my cats?
Yes the weeds are a nightmare and you have to battle them constantly to keep them down. I suspect that will be the case everywhere in Italy as the whole place is so lush. Depends where you are re water being an issue. Down in Puglia we have two very dry months in July and August where it doesn't rain much apart from the odd summer storm which can reach monsoon proportions but never lasts long. At all other times of year it rains fairly often. If I had the option to grow my own stuff I would because that's what I do here in England both in my garden and at my allotment. You can grow anything you like in Italy if you have the time to plant, then tend your garden till your stuff grows and ripens : tomatoes, peppers, artichokes, all the herbs, all the fruits and nuts, anything you like really.

Wildlife..? As noted above : more so than in England. Bears and wolves can be seen if you're incredibly lucky, but really only in the mountains and more remote regions. Snakes are a favourite of mine and in my own garden I have seen the European Leopard Snake which is quite beautiful green and brown. I caught a tiny one sunbathing on my veranda one morning and when I picked him up he was so furious that he bit me hard on the hand but his jaws were so tiny that he made no impression. I let him go in the garden. These guys grow to about 4-5 ft long and I wouldn't risk picking one of the big lads up if the little ones reaction was anything to go by.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_ratsnake

I've also seen a few of the Montpelier snake which is a little black one which grows to about the same size as the Leopard Snake and is also quite beautiful to observe.

https://www.understandingitaly.com/snakes.html

We also have The European Viper which is venomous but probably not deadly to a young (ish) adult in good health.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vipera_aspis

Personally I've yet to see one of those but both my wife and my daughter claim to have spotted them in our garden. The thing about snakes is, if humans are around, they just want to get away and get on with their business and they'll certainly never want to come looking for you to bother you, so if you ever happen to spot one, look on it as a privilege rather than a problem. We also have lots of birds of prey such as owls of different types as well as buzzards and other hawks and falcons. I happened to come across a Little Owl in my garden one morning lying on his back and quite helpless. I reckoned he had had a stroke as there was no evidence of injury on him. I put him in a box and managed to get some fluid into him with a dropper but he wouldn't eat and died two days later, poor little fella. There's lots of other stuff, just have a look around on google..

Last edited by Jake.White; Apr 8th 2020 at 3:36 pm.
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Old Apr 8th 2020, 3:41 pm
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

Originally Posted by philat98 View Post
I suspect that grow it yourself is going to be popular this year. In my village there are abandoned vines and olive trees everywhere because nobody was interested.
I cannot understand why they are not allowing small cultivators to go to their land and work alone. If they dont prune the trees they dont get any oil. A lot of oil in Umbria comes from small farmers.
I did wonder if anyone would be allowed to go out and work their individual plots of land. I guess it must be the same Italy-wide then with no one allowed out of their houses. I'm sitting here in England biting my nails and fretting about my weeds but I suppose everyone must be in the same boat..
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Old Apr 8th 2020, 4:02 pm
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

Originally Posted by Jake.White View Post
I did wonder if anyone would be allowed to go out and work their individual plots of land. I guess it must be the same Italy-wide then with no one allowed out of their houses. I'm sitting here in England biting my nails and fretting about my weeds but I suppose everyone must be in the same boat..
Sardinia is allowing small farmers to cultivate the land. My partner is a beekeeper and that permits her to visit the hives. With swarming at this time of year hive visits are important. The roads are completely empty so no danger of spreading any infection.
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Old Apr 8th 2020, 4:21 pm
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

No, it's probably not Italy-wide, the rules aren't the same everywhere. Each region, province, commune has their own rules in addition to national ones.

I'm surprised by Philat's comment. Here people tending plots of land that produce food can work I think. They seem to be. Maybe it's a rule for Umbria? Or maybe it's about going outside your commune? My neighbour, who farms several sort-of market gardens for a local restaurant and agriturismo, tells me that there's not a lot to do on his olive grove at this time of year. But maybe he's just up to date with everything...
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Old Apr 8th 2020, 4:29 pm
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

Olive pruning is done between March and May in Umbria. Agricoltori professionisti are permitted to work the land in Umbria but not Agricoltori hobbisti. I wonder if big farmers want to block production from small farms to push up prices.
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Old Apr 8th 2020, 4:52 pm
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

We do our olive pruning in Puglia at this time of year too. I'd intended to get 15 of my trees hard pruned this year but I doubt it'll happen now unless things change fast, which I doubt...
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Old Apr 8th 2020, 5:39 pm
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

The farmers say "Chi ha degli olivi sa che senza potatura avrà delle brutte sorprese sotto l'albero." Quite a few will be in for a nasty surprise in November. Some farmers do an Autumn pruning so they will be OK. I suspect that a lot of the small farmers here are scared to even open the front door.
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Old Apr 10th 2020, 10:35 pm
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I cut down a mature fig tree 4 yrs ago and the wife went ballistic. So i broke off 4 twigs from the tree, stuck them in the ground and told her i had prepped them and replanted them. I thought it would help calm her down and was certain that the twigs would just wither away and all would be forgotten. Anyway, 4 yrs later and the trees have been producing an abundance of fruit every year, i have to use a step ladder to reach the fruit at high level. Tomatoes are another thing we have had great success at growing. The clay soil seems to be very fertile where we are. We are lucky enough to be able to draw water from a canal alongside our house. The last couple of years i have been sheet mulching and covering the sheeting with top soil for dressing. It helps keep weeds down and maintain water retention in the soil. So i don't have to water as much as i had been.
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Old Apr 11th 2020, 6:30 am
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

I combine plastic mulch with drip tubes. In my stony clay soil a row of 15 Roma tomatoes produces around 30kg of fruit without any supports or maintenance required. The plastic also protects against soil erosion.

Last edited by philat98; Apr 11th 2020 at 7:06 am.
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Old Apr 11th 2020, 8:50 am
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

Originally Posted by Johnbologna63 View Post
I cut down a mature fig tree 4 yrs ago and the wife went ballistic. So i broke off 4 twigs from the tree, stuck them in the ground and told her i had prepped them and replanted them. I thought it would help calm her down and was certain that the twigs would just wither away and all would be forgotten. Anyway, 4 yrs later and the trees have been producing an abundance of fruit every year, i have to use a step ladder to reach the fruit at high level. Tomatoes are another thing we have had great success at growing. The clay soil seems to be very fertile where we are. We are lucky enough to be able to draw water from a canal alongside our house. The last couple of years i have been sheet mulching and covering the sheeting with top soil for dressing. It helps keep weeds down and maintain water retention in the soil. So i don't have to water as much as i had been.
This to me is a great way forward and the kind of thing we would have done with young fruit trees. I would still double-dig any new land to start with. Another tip we had from a local was to bury almost every veg plant to plant it in a hole just under a spade or so deep. This worked very well especially for tomatoes. So plant as normal, but in the hole, sometime whereby the tom is not even peeping over the top, then water to almost flooding it, once the water has sunk in sprinkle half a cm or more soil around the hole, don’t water for 3-4 days unless heavy wilting of course, then start normal watering as needed and after each water build up a little more soil. This does a number of things; protects the young plant from any blazing sun, stops as much water evaporation, protects from the wind and in toms encourages side growth root from the buried stalk. I used to eventually end up with very strong rooted toms with the soil level being often slightly above ground level by the end of the season. Between rows we used to put grass cuttings 20-30cm deep at the start of the season, lot of this was clover cuttings, so quite beneficial, this allowed us to walk on the plot still after any heavy rain. We would plant through last year’s mulch the next year i.e. moving rows in rotation. This would have likely been much better with Johnbologna’s methods. Note, avoid any heavy inked cardboard if you can.

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Old Apr 14th 2020, 9:46 am
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

We put about 20 tomato plants in last year and got fed up of picking them, they just kept on coming back!
Everything we plant seems to do well - lots of watering needed - with the exception of swedes, for some reason.
Whereabouts in Puglia are you Jake? Might be interested in the olives.
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Old Apr 16th 2020, 5:54 am
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Default Re: Grow it yourself

Originally Posted by Accetturese View Post
We put about 20 tomato plants in last year and got fed up of picking them, they just kept on coming back!
Everything we plant seems to do well - lots of watering needed - with the exception of swedes, for some reason.
Whereabouts in Puglia are you Jake? Might be interested in the olives.
I'll PM you
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