Tomato flaking

Tomato flaking


In addition to the classic treatments such as proper watering, a suitable soil, the necessary fertilization, etc., the tomato plant needs some interventions to make it develop and grow at its best, one of these is the removal of the seeds. Below we will try to best illustrate how this very important type of operation is performed, the right period in which to perform it, the types of tomato on which it must be performed, the difference with another type of pruning and other useful information that will allow you to carry it out. correctly even if you are a budding “green thumb”.

What is it about

There depemminellatura it is the intervention that is carried out on the plant to create a balance between vegetation and fruit production; it consists in the manual elimination of the lateral shoots or shoots (female) that form in the axillary area of ​​the plant, when they reach a length of about seven centimeters, in order to make the tomatoes ripen faster, without this operation the plant would be more stressed as it would use more energy because it would have to produce flowers and new fruits.

How to identify the parts to be eliminated

As we have explained previously, the leafing is that operation through which the shoots that form in the armpit of the plant are eliminated, this is because they are useless as they will never give life to fruits or flowers but they will unnecessarily waste energy on the plant develop them while, on the other hand, it could use them to emit fruiting shoots. Even for an inexperienced person, these jets are easily identifiable as they form right on the sides of the central stem of the plant.

Determined and indeterminate varieties of tomatoes

In order to decide whether to carry out interventions, in particular leafing, on our tomato plants, first of all we will need to know which variety they belong to. There are varieties of indeterminate type and varieties of definite type; below we will briefly explain the features.

Indeterminate varieties: these are those types of tomatoes that continuously grow in height, that is, almost all those varieties that are grown in small fields or in small family gardens.

Determined varieties: unlike the previous one, this variety includes those tomato plants that stop their development in height when they have given life to a certain quantity of inflorescences, that is, those that are most used industrially.

Difference between topping and defeminellation

They are two pruning operations that are carried out on the tomato plant depending on the variety.

Topping: this operation consists in cutting the most developed shoot in the apical part of the plant in order to stop the development of the inflorescences and have more fruits.

Femminellatura: removal of the jets that develop laterally.

Where it takes place the femminellatura

Generally, it is advisable to carry out the spemminellatura on indeterminate varieties of tomatoes, as, without this intervention, the plants would produce too many inflorescences and the developed fruits would be smaller and worse in quality. This type of operation, for example, is very important on tomato plants that produce large fruits such as Cuore di Bue, but not necessary on those that develop small ones.

On the specific varieties, on the other hand, which are the ones most used for industrial purposes, you should never carry out any de-eminating intervention, as for this type of cultivation the operations carried out manually must be reduced to a minimum.

When to do it

The removal operation is carried out when the females, that is the jets that develop laterally, are small (about seven centimeters no more), this is because if they were larger, during this intervention, injuries could be caused to the plant. and, consequently, favor the appearance of very harmful fungi. Best during the waning moon phase.

One thing to keep in mind is that, even in tomato varieties that need this pruning, it would be better not to be too aggressive in doing it, as it could inadvertently create even very serious damage to the plant.

Tomato flaking: New experiences

In this article we have tried to explain the meaning of the removal of the seeds, the most appropriate moment of its execution, on which tomato variety to carry out, how to identify the shoots to be eliminated and the difference with the topping; of course our advice and our explanations are given by various experiences and information acquired over the years, but this does not prevent you from carrying out personal experiments that could lead you to discover new tricks and cultivation strategies and give you great satisfaction.

Tomato flaking - garden

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Whoever wants to do good knocks at the gate whoever loves finds the gate open.

Tagore Rabindranath Thakur

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Love is the fundamental and native vocation of every human being.

There is no peace without justice, there is no justice without forgiveness.

Rich is not he who possesses, but he who gives, he who is capable of giving.

Violating consciences is a serious harm done to man. It is the most painful blow to human dignity. It is, in a sense, worse than inflicting physical death, than killing.

Don't flatten yourself into mediocrity, don't live only halfway. Take your life in hand and make it an authentic and personal masterpiece.

Don't be afraid to have courage.

Love is the constructive force of any positive path for humanity

Error and evil must always be condemned and fought but the man who falls or who errs must be understood and loved.

Trust is not acquired through force. Nor can it be achieved with declarations alone. Trust must be earned with concrete gestures and facts.

Peace cannot reign among men if it does not reign first in the heart of each of them.

Kind words are short and easy to say, but their echo is eternal.

What we do is just one drop in the ocean, but if we didn't, the ocean would have one drop less.

We will never quite understand how well a smile is capable of.

Let's meet with a smile and once we start loving each other it will become natural to do something for others.

Sincerity is nothing but humility and you acquire humility only by accepting humiliations.

People who write about me know more about me than I know myself.

We will never know how good a simple smile can do.

If you are humble, nothing will touch you, neither praise nor ignominy.

Make anyone who comes to you leave feeling better and happier.

Everyone must see the goodness of your face, in your eyes, in your smile.

Joy shines through the eyes, it manifests itself when we talk and walk. It cannot be enclosed within us. It overflows. Joy is very contagious.

It doesn't matter how much you give but how much love you put into giving.

Love does not live on words nor can it be explained in words.

True love must always hurt. It must be painful to love someone, painful to leave someone… Only then do you truly love.

If you judge people, you don't have the time to love them.

Without love we could not survive. Human beings are social creatures and caring for each other is the very basis of our life.

There are only two days a year when you can't do anything: one is called yesterday, the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and, above all, live.

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The true expression of non-violence is compassion.

Every day, when we get up, we try to orient our intentions well, thinking: I will live this day in a more positive way. I must not waste it.

We have nothing in our power but justice, truth, sincerity.
My suggestion or advice is very simple and it is to have a sincere heart.

Regional cuisine: Alphabetical guide to the foods of Sicily

An island in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea which has given birth to a cuisine rich in nuances and syncretism borrowed by the many cultures that inhabited it over the past 2000 years. Our series on regional cuisine continues with an alphabetical list of Sicilian foods and products.

Red garlic of Nubia (Garlic of Paceco or Garlic of Trapani) garlic

Red garlic from Nubia is a key ingredient in the cuisine of Trapani. Nubia is a small town in the vicinity of Paceco in the Trapani province. The cultivation of this particular bulb happens mostly in the natural Saline di Trapani reserve and Paceco as well as in the neighboring areas of Erice, Buseto Palizzolo, Valderice, Marsala, Salemi and Trapani. Its bright red hue is owed to high levels of allicin, that is the substance that lends the product its characteristic and pungent aroma and medicinal properties. This garlic is harvested in May-June in the early hours of the morning to help foragers find the bulbs thanks to the dew that collects on the shoots. This is for the most part still done by hand. So as not to impoverish the soil, the cultivation is rotated alternating crops of yellow Paceco melon. In Trapani this local garlic is used to season couscous and in the sauce for Busiate with local Trapanese pesto: pounded garlic, pizzuto variety tomatoes, almonds, basil and olive oil. Locally this dish is called "Pasta cull’agghia" (pasta with garlic).

Salted alaccia from Lampedusa

This local sardine was part of the everyday diet of Lampedusa fishermen during long haul sponge harvests in the Mar di Sicilia. Alaccia ( Sardinella aurita) is very similar to the common variety sardine, but slightly less elongated and overall larger. Rich in organoleptic properties, in Omega3 fatty oils and is easy to digest. Still fished like in olden days with a lampara fishing lamp and a fishing net that exploits the plankton - and consequently the fish that feed on it - attracted by the light to the surface. The season for fishing this sardine is from May to November, and is either eaten marinated in garlic, lemon and parsley or oil-preserved, or dredged in flour, fried and then simmered in a vinegar reduction.

Tuna bottarga

Tuna roe is a specialty common to various areas of Sicily, including Trapani, the Egadi Islands, Marzamemi and Capo Passero, at the southeastern tip of the island. One particularly renowned bottarga is the one produced in Favignana where tuna fishing is not only a commercial activity but also a centuries old ritual. Many refer to it as “Sicilian tuna eggs” as it is made starting from precisely the eggs of the fish. The ovary sack is extracted whole from the female, rinsed and covered with sea salt, then finally pressed and aged. High in protein, this product is sold whole as a block that can be grated or sliced, or already ground to a powder, obviously this form is less prized. Either made with reef mullet or local red tuna lately a more sustainably yet less select kind has also been obtained by albacore. Bottarga is a very savory food: therefore it is used in small amounts, either grated over unsalted pasta or as an antipasto, sliced ​​on buttered croutons.

Caciocavallo (Palermo and Ragusa DOP) cheese

Caciocavallo is a stretched curd cheese that was once popular in all the areas of the Italian South. In Sicily it is made in two varieties, the Palermo variety and the Ragusa variety, both protected by the DOP appellation. The Palermo kind also known as caciocavallo di Godrano, is made exclusively with the milk of autochthonous cinisara cows: black coat, strong and long-living, a species that feeds on unrefined fodder. The color is light yellow, texture is compact texture and the flavor is spicy. It can be consumed “fresh” that is after a 2-week maturation, or aged after 6 months.

Ragusano DOP aka caciocavallo ibleo, on the other hand is made with modicane cow's milk, these are animals that graze in the pastures around the Monti Iblei. The flavor of the cheese is mild that grows more assertive and spicy with aging, between 4 and 12 months. Like its Palermo cousin this cheese can be enjoyed as an appetizer as is, or melted in baked pasta dishes. An unusual yet special way of eating it is in the “argentiera” fashion: lay slices of it in a pan with a thread of olive oil and browning it slightly on both sides. At the end simmer it with a splash of vinegar, seasoning with minced parsley, oregano and black pepper.

Artichokes (spiny from Menfi, violet from Catania) artichokes

Finding a spiny artichoke outside of Sicily is not easy. In the province of Agrigento on the other hand it's the norm. The ancient spiny artichoke plant is an Autumn crop. The flavor is both crunchy and delicate with intense aromatic notes. Thanks to high levels of lignin - a complex organic polymer in the cell walls of many plants - makes the artichokes rigid and woody thus perfect for oil-packing. Alternatively this artichoke is fire grilled or baked with breadcrumbs and parsley.

The Violetto di Catania is on the other hand a more tender, delicate hybrid variety. It is cultivated in the entire Catania Plain at the foot of Mt Etna, in particular in Ramacca, where it is celebrated with a festival in its name. Ideally stuffed Messinese style, or used in risotto, as a sauce for fresh pasta, grilled, fried or oil-preserved.

Thistles or Carduna

Cardoons are a wild-growing plant belonging to the artichoke family ( Cynara cardunculus), and an appreciated crop in Sicily, particularly in the Palermo province. The stem, which can grow as tall as 5 feet, is edible. The flavor is reminiscent of the artichoke but slightly more bitter and possessing notes of celery. In Palermo is it battered and fried but it is also served as a side dish, au gratin, or braised with chopped tomatoes.

Pantelleria caper

Protected by IGT appellation since 1996, Pantelleria capers are one of the island's most popular products abroad. The Capparis spinosa, Nocellara cultivar plant grows all over Pantelleria, but it’s the small buds that need to be harvested quickly at dawn before they bloom that define this product. A more local rarity is the fruits of the caper plant, called cucunci. After the harvest, the buds age in a sea salt brine, this halts the blooms from opening and eliminates traces of bitterness. Brine aging lasts 10 days during which they are constantly stirred. Once drained the capers are salt-packed again. After this second phase the capers are ready. Besides flavoring fish dishes like baccalà and tuna, capers are essential in “sciachisciuca”, that is a typical caponata made in Pantelleria, as well as the famous pantesca salad made with boiled potatoes, red onion, olives and capers.

Trunzo cabbage from Acireale

The name of this particular cabbage is how Catania folk jokingly call the inhabitants of the Aci towns: mostly those living in Acireale but also Aci Trezza, Aci Sant’Antonio, Aci Catena, Aci Castello, Aci Bonaccorsi. Cavolo trunzo is in fact grown all over this area, it is a local variety of kohlrabi that draws its character and pungent aroma from the soil of the plains at the foot of Mt Etna. Until the mid-Fifties it was well-known and much used in the area, now there are only a dozen hectares planted in it.Small and pale violet with long leafy branches that shoot from the base, this crop is cultivated in two cycles from May to June and from October to November. The Catanesi eat it pan fried with spaghetti, or made into pesto with tagliatelle, employed in soups and minestrones, raw in salad or stewed and served as a side with local meat entrees.

Onion of Giarratana onion

This peculiar onion is best known for its unusual size which can range from 500 grams (1.1 lbs) to 2 kg (4.4 lbs). Some have grown to almost 3 kilos (almost 7 lbs). Despite the size, the flavor is incredibly sweet. Slightly flattened and white, this onion grows in the area surrounding Giarratana on the Monti Iblei mountains, and in the nearby province of Ragusa. For its delicate and never pungent flavor it can be eaten raw in salad or simply dressed with olive oil and salt. It is often stuffed but the best way to employ it is in the so called “scaccia Sciclitana”, that is enveloped in a folded over focaccia with tomato sauce and parsley.

Trapanese couscous

Couscous, or what’s locally known as cùscusu in Trapanese dialect is preparation common to North Africa and Western Sicily. The Trapani area is specialized in this particular dish. So much so that the city hosts an annual couscous fair in the town of San Vito Lo Capo. For western Sicilians, eating couscous is like eating an everyday plate of pasta. This African dish is now a centuries old local naturalized tradition and essential part of the local diet. Minuscule grains of semolina are steamed in the specially crafted terracotta couscous pot whose small holes allow the steam to escape slowly. The method used to obtain the grains by hand is locally called "incocciare". In Trapani couscous is made with “ghiotta”, an assorted fish broth made using rockfish, grouper, gurnard, prawns, shrimp and Trapani salt mine eels. Pantesco (hailing from Pantelleria) couscous is added with vegetables like bell peppers, eggplant, zucchini and potatoes. The main difference between the Trapani version and the Tunisian couscous is in the condiment, in the use of fish instead of meat and the size of the semolina grains which are normally smaller than in Sicily. Another typical Trapani area dish particularly of the inland, is “I frascatuli”, that is coarsely rubbed grains of semolina steamed and paired with a soup of fava bean puree, carrots, chickpeas and cauliflower.

Photo by Frédérique Voisin-Demery

Beans (Cosaruciaru bean from Scicli and Badda bean from Polizzi Generosa)

In Sicilian dialect cosaruciaru simply means "something sweet". Up until the early 1900s the cosaruciaru beans was crucial to local economy. Grown between Scicli and Modica, in the Ragusa province, it is harvested from mid-October to November. The dried version is available all year round. The color is cream white with brown-reddish flecks. Thanks to its delicate flavor it is used in many recipes, mostly used in soups or in salads. It was originally stored with a fistful of ashes to avoid attracting wheat moths.

Badda beans, in Sicilian "Palla", is a peculiar product. The same plant produces beans of different colors. It is grown in Polizzi Generosa, a small town in the Palermo province in the Monti delle Madonie area, outside of which it is practically unknown. Depending on the specific type it can be ivory colored with pink-orange flecks, or ivory colored with black-violet flecks. Polizzi locals also call it fasolo badda bianca ", "Badda niura", or "Munachedda". Seeds are planted between June and July and it is harvested approximately 60 days later. The flavor is savory, herbaceous with a slightly briny note. This bean is highly digestible and used in many local dishes: tagliatelle with fresh beans and tomato, "Fasoli chi finucchieddi", which is a soup made with pork rind, badda beans and fennel pollen. Lastly, a peculiar dish, cunigghiu which is a peasant dish made with not beans, tuna belly, baccalà and other vegetables.

Broad beans from Leonforte

In the Enna province, in the heart of Sicily this fava bean is to this day for centuries cultivated without any form of mechanization. In the past this was a rotation crop alternating with wheat with the important role of providing the soil with nitrogen. In Leonforte these are known as cucivuli beans, that is easy to cook because of how quickly they can be prepared without prior soaking. Harvested between March and May, these fava beans can be eaten both fresh alongside pecorino, or the later crop can be dried and used in soups, pasta dishes or pan fried with pancetta, scallion and pepper in "Frittedda". The dried fava beans is what locals prepare "Macco" with, a thrifty way of making big bulk dishes that could serve families for a number of days. One cooked broth with pasta or stale bread the following day as soup and on the third day, leftovers were left to dry, dredged in flour and fried as fritters.

Red shrimp of Mazara del Vallo giant red shrimp

Gambero Rosso di Mazara del Vallo, or Gambero Rosso di Sicilia (Aristaeomorpha foliacea) giant red shrimp is a Sicily symbol with a cult following. The species is common to the entire Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean, but according to the Mazara del Vallo folk the best specimens swim in their portion of sea. Mazara del Vallo, in southwestern Sicily on the Mediterranean only 200 km from North Africa. As the only Italian industrial fishery, it is immediately blast frozen on board to safeguard its precious pulp. In the past fishing boats would even exit the Strait of Gibraltar in order to catch the giant red shrimp, while nowadays the area is more limited. It’s been many years that the local community has been pushing for an origin denomination for this product, unsuccessfully. The name derives naturally from the shrimp's bright red color. The flavor is unmistakable, the pulp is white and compact. Given its delicate nature it’s best eaten raw, or in fresh pasta dishes.

Lentils (Villalba lentils and Ustica lentils lentils)

The cultivation of Villalba lentils dates back to the early XIX century peaking in the 1860 and now almost reduced to extinction. A recent rediscovery has however uncovered this simple yet nutritionally essential legume. Large green lentils that are versatile and robust, it requires long cooking times - almost an hour - during which time it does not easily fall apart. Hence its use in salads.

From the large Villalba grains to the tiniest from Ustica. Historically grown on volcanic soils of the small island of Ustica (belonging to the municipality of Palermo) only with manual skills, the tiny grained lentils are brown with greenish hues. It requires no soaking before cooking which lasts about 40 minutes. The best known dishes these lentils are used in are pasta with lentils, made with broken spaghetti and a lentil and vegetable soup added with fennel pollen and basil.

Ciaculli late mandarin

Also known as marzuddu, for its late ripening around the month of March, this mandarin orange gets its name from a small village near Palermo. It is a native and very rare variety with a production which is limited to approximately 200 hectares among the boroughs of Ciaculli and of Croceverde Giardina. This is a fruit which is risking extinction in the coming decade. Small parcels can't gain from the minimal yields, while selling the land itself for other cultivations is more profitable. The aroma is intense, the peel is thin and concealing very few seeds. This fruit is cultivated exclusively in the organic regimen thanks to its resistance to diseases and temperature swings. The flavor is particularly sweet, and it is commonly used to make marmalades.

Masculina da magghia

In the Catania area it's common to hear mention of masculina, small anchovies made famous in the Giovanni Verga novel I Malavoglia, which are locally also calledanciuvazzi. Masculina da magghia, in particular, are young anchovies that remain trapped in fishing nets during fishing of larger fish like branzino, tuna, mullet and mackerels. The method used is an ancient fishing technique: the nets called "Routes" are lowered into the calm hours of the night right before dawn. In hoisting up the nets, small anchovies remain trapped in the mesh, causing a natural blood loss, and yielding thus a more tender meat. The elected area for this is the Gulf of Catania, an area that spans from Capo Mulini to Augusta, in April. The daily catch is then hauled to Catania's popular fish market La Piscaria. The anchovies can be cooked in a variety of dishes, one of the simplest and most traditional recipes is skewered with lemon slices and bay leaves and fire roasted. Another typical dish they are used in is pasta alla catanese or pasta chi masculuna, simply dressed with the pan fried fish seasoned with garlic and fennel pollen.

Madras Yellow Melon, by Paceco or Cartucciaro melon

This could be mistaken for a traditional crop, when in actual fact it was only introduced in the 1990s in substitution of the “old” Paceco melon, known as Madras, with other sister varieties like Campero and Helio. Early crop and with big yields, these melons took the place of the much harder to grow cartridgerovariety, and now part of the new Paceco crop in the province of Trapani. It is harvested between June and August, and oddly prices drop in July due to its overabundance. In the fields surrounding the town of Paceco sheep and goats can be seen grazing in large fields, feasting on the melons. In Trapani this fruit is used in granita and other desserts in addition to bringing it sliced ​​fresh at the table at the end of the meal.

In Palermo is home to this popular dish. Once the typical meal of blue collar workers, today it is a widespread street food item known and loved by many mainlanders too. Pani ca meusa is a soft bread sesame roll called vastedda that’s filled with chopped veal spleen fried in lard. Some variants include in addition to spleen also chopped bovine lung. The master meusarouses specific tools to prepare the dish: a large inclined pan where the lard is kept heated waiting for the chopped spleen. This is a dish that can only be cooked right before serving. The roll can be schittu (bachelor) or maritatu (married): meaning that it can be stuffed with spleen alone or - in the second case - also added with chopped caciocavallo or ricotta.

Olives (biancolilla, tonda iblea, nocellara del belice, cerasuola)

Sicily boasts an enormous diversity of olive varieties, currently about 25 with another 30 genotypes under observation. Extra virgin olive oil is a key element in Sicilian cuisine, it represents the condiment of every plate as well as being used for frying. The most important olive varieties are biancolilla, cerasuola, nocellara del Belice, tonda iblea. The first being the most diffused, mostly in the Trapani area and Palermo area. It produces mildly fruity oils. The cerasuola olive, mostly grown in the provinces of Agrigento, Palermo and Trapani, produces oils with medium to intense fruity flavor depending on maturation. Nocellara del Belice, protected by DOP denomination is mostly grown in Trapani and produces a fruity and intensely aromatic oil with bold structure and notes of tomato. Tonda iblea, mostly cultivated in southeastern Sicily in the provinces of Caltanissetta, Catania, Ragusa and Siracusa, produces medium to high intensity and fruitiness and is easily recognizable thanks to its marked tomato and artichoke notes.

Padduni cheese

This particular cheese is produced exclusively with milk of the girgentana goat (from Agrigento). It is also known as ballunior badduni, due to its spherical shape (balloon, for ball). Never larger than 300 grams this particular cheese is not aged at all. It is made all over Sicily from the milk of free range goats who never rest in covered stables from February to October. The flavor is particularly delicate and for this reason often used in desserts. It is furthermore rich in protein and therefore recommended to athletes.

Cunzatu bread and typical breads (black from Castelvetrano and Lentini)

Bread in Sicily, like in other parts of Italy, is a big deal. Every region boasts multiple varieties of bread. This was the food that was available to those who could not afford i pasta, meat or fish. Bread was commonly eaten with raw vegetables like onions. In many Sicilian homes, particularly inland, bread is still very much made at home and baked in a wood-fired oven. Generally made using durum wheat semolina, in many areas loaves are sliced ​​open like a pie in order to be filled with tomato, olive oil, salt, oregano and oftentimes also salted anchovies and various cheeses. This is called u pani cunzatu (seasoned bread).

Two local bread varieties being rediscovered recently are pane di Lentini and Nero di Castervetrano. The former is an ancient bread made in the areas of Lentini and Carlentini in the Siracusa province, with durum wheat semolina and a small percentage of timilia, tumminìa in Sicilian. This is a late crop cultivated only in a few areas of Sicily. Its characteristic “S” shape, thin, dark and tender crust is speckled with sesame, the crumb is compact and fluffy veering to yellow and slightly savory flavor.

Nero di Castelvetrano is native to the town in the Trapani province by the same name, as well as in nearby Campobello di Mazara. This too is made with a blend of two semolina flours, both whole grain and stone-milled. This mix lends a toasted, almondy and malty flavor to the dough. The bread has a dark, tough crust with sesame seeds on the surface, and a sweet, yellow crumb.

Quintessential Palermo street food, panelle are purchased on fryeries or on makeshift carts usually located outside produce markets. Thin fritters - although no Palermo native would ever call them that - made with chickpea flour, water and parsley stuffed in mafalde rolls: soft sesame buns 200 grams each. With panelle, sandwiches can also contain cazzilli, Palermo style potato croquettes seasoned with parsley and mandatorily dribbled with fresh squeezed lemon juice for freshness.

Sicilian pecorino DOP and pecorino rosso cheese

Pecorino Siciliano is a semi-hard cheese with Greek origins. Made with raw sheep's milk, it boasts compact white texture and a characteristic spicy flavor. It can be eaten at various stages of maturation, as tuma after only a few days, as primo sale after about 15 days, semi-aged after a couple of months or aged 3-4 months. Only after this period is the cheese under DOP appellation.

Pecorino rosso on the other hand is a stretched curd cheese made with sheep's milk with a peculiar characteristic: during aging it is rubbed with tomato paste and olive oil which lends the rind its typical red color. This is done by hand two months into the aging process, when the texture is still soft. The tomato and olive oil create a protective film on the rind allowing the cheese to breathe nonetheless during aging. Sometimes the tomato and olive oil wash is added with spicy chili pepper.

Corleone or Corleonese tomato

Cultivated in the Palermo and Trapani areas, this ancient heirloom tomato plant can reach height that needs support in order to grow properly. In addition to this, the plants need to undergo “sfemminellatura” or “scacchiatura” that is eliminating the side buds that grow on the central stalks. The fruits are ribbed, flattened and bright red when ripe. The sauce derived from these tomatoes is intensely aromatic and with an unmistakable flavor. It obviously can also be eaten raw.

Pachino tomato

Pachino tomato is not a traditional Sicilian product. We have included it in this list to explain what many are still confused about. This sweet and bright red cherry tomato is in actual fact created in a lab. This particular variety was introduced in 1989 by multinational Israeli seed company HaZera Genetics that had obtained it through a special selection. From this selection came 4 types of Pachino tomatoes: cherry (cherry), costoluto (ribbed), cluster (cluster) and round smooth), all now under IGT appellation. The IGP ruling maintains that the cultivation area must be within the confines of the municipalities of Pachino and of Portopalo di Capo Passero, plus in part of the city of Noto (Siracusa) and Ispica (Ragusa).

Piacentinu ennese DOP cheese

This cheese is made with whole sheep's milk and added with saffron and black peppercorns. These spices render the cheese bright yellow and slightly spicy. It ages in approximately 60 days after which the flavor takes on a sweet tone. Piacentinu ennese is a key element in Enna cuisine. Legend has it that in the XI Century Ruggero I, Count of Altavilla, healed his wife Adelasia from depression by asking cheesemongers to add a pinch of saffron to their local product.

Pistachio of Bronte PDO

This is the green gold of Bronte: a small town in the Catania side of the Parco dei Nebrodi national park. Pistachio represents an unmeasurable national treasure for a wide range of people: the farmers that grow it, vendors, and those who transform it in spreads and sauces. The precious nut is difficult to cultivate especially where there is water shortage. It yields its fruits only on alternate years. Harvest is "heroic" balancing on lava rocks and hanging from tree branches. The nuts are picked one by one by hand and dropped in a canvas bag slung around the harvester’s neck. The nuts are tasty and bare no resemblance to the ones grown in competitor countries like Turkey, Central America and Iran. They are however more costly. In Sicily pistachio is eaten as a salty snack or used as filling for fresh pasta, added to a myriad sweet confections and pastries, and used in gelato and in granita.

Sicilian provola (provola from Nebrodi, Monti Sicani, Madonie) cheese

Provola is one of Sicily's most characteristic and more widely enjoyed cheese. Stretched curd cheese made from the milk of modicana cows. Pear shaped and amber in color it has a compact white texture delicate flavor that becomes spicier with aging.

Three kinds of provola belonging to three distinct areas: provola dei Monti Nebrodi, provola dei Monti Sicani and provola delle Madonie.

The first is the only Sicilian provola that does not undergo an aging process. White to yellow in color, compact and soft with a sweet to acidic and spicy flavor depending on age. In the cheese making process, the curd is kneaded like bread, which renders a flaky mouthfeel. Some kinds have a scoop of butter or a whole lemon in the core.

Provola dei Nebrodi

Provola dei Monti Sicani again made with cow's milk is soft, oily, ivory colored and is eaten fresh or slightly aged.

Provola delle Madonie, similar looking to provola dei Nebrodi but rounder, more flattened. The yellow crust is satiny and thin, the texture is compact, soft and elastic. The flavor is sweet and delicate thanks to a 15-day maturation. A slightly smoked version also exists.

Salted ricotta and baked ricotta

Ricotta salata or dried ricotta - in Sicilian funnata - is widespread in all of Southern Italy. In SIcily it is the star of many dishes like famed Pasta alla Norma made with fried eggplant, tomato sauce, basil and heaps of grated ricotta salata. As opposed to fresh ricotta, ricotta salata is hand salted using sea salt and left to ripen for 10 to 30 days. This is a product that's almost exclusively made with sheep's milk.

Ricotta infornata is another typical Sicilian product: the ricotta made with a mix of sheep's and goat's milk is oven baked one week after production and repeating the baking process 5-6 times. Used mostly in the area of ​​Messina, it boasts a “neutral flavor” which is very delicate and balancing well sweet and savory notes with a slight hint of toasted hazelnuts. It is commonly eaten as antipasto with cured meats, olives and other cheeses, or grated over pasta dishes.

Trapani sea salt salt

Sicilian salt pans have a historical background that plunges its roots in the Phoenician era. Less affluent used to dry their humble fish in salt pans for a longer shelf life and little more flavor. Sicily is one of Italy's top three salt-producing areas along with Calabria and Emilia-Romagna. Trapani is where IGT salt is most extracted in Sicily, once this role belonged to Siracusa, where the highest concentration of salt pans used to be until the mid 1950s, after which the salt production there gradually diminished. Nowadays salt miners in Trapani are both industrial and artisanal, depending on weather conditions. Trapani, Paceco and the island of Mozia are representative locations of Sicily's salt production. Compared to other kitchen salts, this kind contains more potassium, more magnesium and a lower quantity of sodium.

Black pig of Nebrodi pork

More similar to small wild boar, black suino nero pigs grow wild in the mountains of Parco dei Nebrodi, which spans the provinces of Messina, of Catania and of Enna. The meat is very tasty thanks to its diet, it feeds exclusively on acorns. Local products made with this breed rarely make it to the mainland. They range from salame fellata, typical black pig salami, Nebrodi sausage, capocollo, lard, pancetta and a sensational prosciutto.

Talli or tenerumi

The fronds and tendrils of the Sicilian zucchina serpentesquash variety are used in very few parts of Italy. Besides Sicily, they are cooked only in Campania and Puglia. In Sicily they are called tenerumi. The leaves, shoots and young tendrils of the squash are picked from June to mid October and are made into soup: poached with onions, potatoes, tomato, black pepper and parsley.

Vastedda della Valle del Belice and Vastedda Palermo

Flattened and round, this cheese should not be confused with the typical bread mentioned above and used for pani ca meusa. Vastedda della Valle del Belice is a raw milk cheese made in the areas around Palermo, Trapani and Agrigento. This is the only Italian stretched curd cheese made with sheep's milk. Ivory colored and delicately flavored with a slight acidic note in the finish. Light and easily digestible.

Vastedda palermitana on the other hand is more similar to caciocavallo. It is made with raw cow's milk, stretched curd soaked in a salty brine, and eaten after only 48 hours.

Vastedda del Belice

The last item on our alphabetical Sicilian food primer ends with saffron, a significantly important Sicilian spice. Introduced by the Arabs, it was named "the red gold". Saffron is extracted in many Italian regions, but in Sicily it is the key factor of one of the region's most representative dishes: arancine. It grows primarily in the province of Enna and after a long period of abandonment, the cultivation is now flourishing again in the entire island. Key element in piacentinu ennese cheese.

Copy has been revised by chef Andrea Rizzo of Osteria dei Vespri, chef Fabio Cardilio of Buatta Common cuisine and chef Luca Casablanca of Tischi Toschi.

Tomato flaking - garden

Video tutorial on ferocactus. plant sprouts from seed.

for the video click below, wait 5 seconds and then press skip on the top right

NOVEMBER: work in the vegetable garden and in the garden

NOVEMBER, in certain areas and in certain years, can already mark the beginning of winter. The most strictly necessary jobs are those that prepare the garden for the upcoming cold season.

It is important to take care of the drainage ditches, continue with the collection of the leaves which must be even more timely than in October.

In the flowerbeds are planted: aubretia, myosotids, carnations of poets, daisies, pansies, sweet peas, autumn poppies, buttercups, anemones., But also, snapdragons, crocus bulbs, hyacinths, snowdrops, tulips and any other plant bulbous spring flowering.

In the first cold weather it is necessary to take shelter: Begonias, reeds, azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, clivias, oranges, lemons, oleanders.

Numerous fruit trees are planted, ornamental trees and shrubs are planted, while conifers must be planted at the end of winter.

In the garden some bushes still make a fine show of themselves or for the red leaves or for the fleshy fruits. The red fruits of the roses, the very decorative piracanths, the cottons with their red fruits. The white fruits of the symphoricarp, and the small and bright fruits of the callicarp. Ornamental chillies can be collected.

They still bloom depending on the area: Bougainvillea, celosia, cosmea, shining sage, begonias, chrysanthemums, periwinkles, wallflowers, aconite, anemones, asters and night beauties.

The work in the garden is running out, some important arrangements are made for the winter. The tools must be repaired in case of damage, disassembled, cleaned, dried and greased.

Spades, pitchforks, hoes, rakes, climbing braces, should never be left in bad weather, they risk rusting.

Winter vegetables, such as Leeks, Brussels sprouts, Endives, Radicchio, Garlic, and late sowing of onions, should be covered from frost with a blanket of dry leaves and straw. We do not cover instead the valerianella that do not tolerate the lack of light.

If you do not have a suitable cellar, even a sowing box, protected by glass on which a straw mat and a thick layer of leaves is spread, can also be used for the preservation of some vegetables. the bleaching of thistles and endives continues. For the aspaago it is still possible to make the cut at the foot.

Let's free the soil from those crops, such as tomatoes and courgettes, which were lavish in the summer months but which have now completed the poductive cycle. To have good soil in spring, it is advisable to proceed with immediate processing, with possible administration of manure. The work must be carried out in suitable climatic conditions and if the soil is not too humid. If the frost threatens the fennel we can tuck them in or collect them and put them in the cellar in a straw bed. Pay attention to the rot for radicchio.

Free flowerbeds should be ventilated with the forks or the hog's tooth cultivator. Very heavy soils can be turned over with a spade. If we distribute the compost immediately it is necessary to cover it with a layer of organic mulch. The compost pile must be protected from intense rains to prevent it from becoming soaked with water from rotting. Let's create a raised flowerbed with the mounds of organic remains from the vegetable garden and garden. In this way we make the vegetable waste disappear and after a few months we get an excellent soil.

Spinach and lamb's lettuce can be sown, which will give the first harvests after the cold season. Garlic bulbs can be flat. By the end of the month, all non-frost-resistant vegetables are harvested: Broccoli, Thistle, Chard, Cauliflower, Fennel, Celery, Cabbage, Veza, Chicory, Radicchio and Parsley.

The cultivation of fresh vegetables takes place in the greenhouse. It is the only way to postpone or anticipate the production of different otages and to shelter from the cold.

Health tip of the month:

Eat lots of onion. treats gastric problems, sleepiness after meals. Eat them as an aperitif without drowning them in wine. Pickled, raw or cooked, in 3 weeks they eliminate the problem. Together with garlic, it has antibacterial and fungicidal properties and reduces the risk of tumors.

The houseplants must all be returned even during the day, the temperature can drop a lot even in central Italy.

OCTOBER: work in the garden and in the vegetable garden

Vegetables are harvested such as: Envy, Sugar Loaf, Cut Salad, Fennel, Broccoli, Cabbage and Turnip, Celery, Radish. In case of particularly mild climate, the last courgettes, pumpkins, tomatoes and cucumbers also ripen and the last late potatoes are buried. The remaining tomatoes and courgettes must be harvested and put in a sheltered place to finish ripening.

When the night frosts begin to arrive it's time to pick carrots, celery, giant parsley, leeks and cabbage. Broccoli and sugar loaf can stay outdoors longer, few are better able to withstand the cold.

Apples and pears reach maturity, it is important to pick them carefully, without bruising them in order to put them in the pantry. In some areas there are also the last raspberries and the last strawberries and towards the end of the month the quinces and the delicious walnuts.

In October, many of the aromatic herbs are planted. (Oregano, Tarragon, Lemon balm, Mint, Romice, Sage, Absinthe, Artemisia,, Lovage.

The soil must be hoed, cleaned of weeds and mulched. In the already harvested flowerbeds, no crop residues must remain. Zappare the soil until it is even and avoid that the snails find hiding places. Before the arrival of winter only heavy soils will have to be digged sometimes by turning them into large tufts.

The organic materials collected from pruning and last crops should be piled close to the compost to be able to work and mix them together in the future.

The period of planting of some fruit plants begins, in the planting holes you can put apple, pear, cherry and plum trees. The period is also favorable for currant, raspberry and gooseberry plants.

Perennial species are placed in the flower beds and will bloom the following spring. Asters and Chrysanthemums and many herbaceous plants can also be placed in place. The bulbs of spring blooms are planted such as: snowdrops, bells, crocuses, muscari and more than rooster, daffodils and tulips. Camellias and Olenadri can live safely outside because they tolerate the cold better.

Before serious frosts arrive, it is good to store all the potted and balcony plants that are more delicate in the shelter or at home, to allow them to overwinter. Usually these are geraniums, lantana, agapanthus, plummet. Remember that it is better to store in the house too early rather than late.

All houseplants that had been placed outdoors must have already returned at night, and around the middle of the month even during the day, the temperature changes can already be sudden.


September marks the transition from summer to autumn and requires particular attention to the care of the garden, both so that the harvest of the last summer vegetables and aromatic herbs takes place in time, and in order to prepare the soil for the sowing of varieties that can be harvested in late autumn or in spring.

To ensure the best sowing and the best harvest, tradition suggests keeping the lunar calendar under control.

What to sow in September

In September, they can be sown directly in the open field: savoy cabbage, endive, lettuce, parsley, radicchio, radishes, rocket, escarole, spinach.

Instead, you can prepare your seedbeds by choosing from: carrots, turnip greens, onions, turnips and beets.

For those who do not have a real vegetable garden, but simply the space to store pots on the terrace, it will still be possible to successfully sow especially cucumber, parsley, radishes, spinach, carrots and cut lettuce.

If you are not yet an expert, it is good to follow the distances recommended on the packages of the seeds purchased when you opt for the varieties to be sown in the open field, in order to guarantee each plant the necessary space for growth. As for the seedbeds, it is not necessary to buy any tools, if you have the foresight to keep jars or plastic cups to puncture the bottom in order to allow the water to drain. Arrange a few well-spaced seeds in each of them. Later you will have to choose the most resistant plants to be able to transfer them to pots or to the vegetable garden.

The harvest of September

In September it is time to harvest the last tomatoes and the last courgettes, before the bad weather arrives. It is also the ideal time to dedicate yourself to the harvest of aromatic herbs such as basil (which, depending on the region, will end its vegetative cycle between October and November). Mint, lemon balm, oregano and parsley can also be harvested and left to dry in the shade, in a well-ventilated place away from humidity. In September the peppers also ripen, to be harvested and left to dry or to be used for the preparation of preserves in oil. In the sunniest regions, the last peppers and aubergines can be harvested. For those who own fruit trees, the time has come to harvest grapes, the first figs, blackberries, apples and pears.

Variety to transplant in September

September is the month that leads us towards autumn, a season considered ideal for transplants, as the soils have partly retained the heat of the summer, but at the same time have begun to absorb the first new rains and new nourishment. In September it will be possible to transplant cabbage, chicory, fennel, leeks and radicchio (not for cutting). Before sowing and transplanting in the garden it is good to proceed with digging and turning the soil, in order to aerate it and prepare it to collect new seedlings.

Work in the garden according to the lunar calendar
Crescent moon

It is advisable to take advantage of the crescent moon for the sowing of beets, carrots, cabbage, cut lettuce and turnips and for the transplant of chicory, fennel and radicchio. It is also possible to start working on the reproduction of aromatic herbs by cutting, with particular reference to rosemary, marjoram and sage.

In the waning moon all those vegetables that are expected to be used for the preparation of preserves in oil must be harvested. It is time to transplant the leeks, which you will harvest in spring, and to sow lettuce (not cut), radicchio, spinach and onions.


Garden in bloom and vegetable garden full of fruit to pick. Here are the best summer hopes for all gardening enthusiasts. The sun, the heat and sudden thunderstorms, perhaps accompanied by hail, can put a strain on the vegetable garden and the plants in the garden.

Summer is one of the seasons when plants and vegetables need the most attention. Here are some useful tips for having a vegetable garden and a garden to admire during the hottest months.

In summer the plants may need more nutrition to allow the development of flowers and fruits. The best method to fertilize the soil is the use of homemade compost obtained from vegetable waste, which enriches the soil without altering or impoverishing it, unlike common liquid fertilizers, which among other things, if used in excessive quantities, can "burn "plants and frustrate flowering and harvest.

Also read: How to build the DIY balcony composter

For your summer garden, prefer perennials, resistant to heat and with an extensive root system. Many annual plants have rather short roots and are likely to dry out in the summer. It is therefore better to choose perennials or at least two-year plants for summer transplants. Thanks to biennial plants you will see your garden bloom again next year. If the plants are very heat resistant, they will require less water and this will help save water.

In the summer, the plants will require more water. The best times to water are early in the morning and late in the evening. This way the water will not evaporate immediately due to the heat of the sun. Never water the leaves directly, to prevent your plants from drying out or getting sick. Are you going on vacation? In this case, if no one will be able to water your plants, use alternative methods.

Also read: The best methods for watering plants when you go on vacation

Beware of sun exposure and heat from your potted plants. If your pots are plastic and dark in color, the soil could overheat and cause the roots and the plant itself to suffer and dry out. If you can, on hot days, move the more delicate potted plants to the shady areas of the garden or balcony.If the soil becomes so dry that it is almost impossible to water it on the surface, briefly dip the bottom of the pot into a bucket of water. Always eliminate stagnant water from saucers to prevent the roots from rotting.

Check that the irrigation system of your vegetable garden or garden is in perfect condition. There should be no obstructions or water leaks. A useful tip to improve the irrigation of the plants in your garden, especially if they are still young and have recently been transplanted, is to create small furrows in the ground, in the direction of the plants themselves, so that the water can reach them more easily.

You will have to protect the plants in your garden, especially if they are just born or recently transplanted, both from the excessive heat of the sun and from hailstorms and sudden storms. It is possible to create structures with special metal supports, which allow the creation of small arches that will have to support thin but resistant protective sheets, with a mesh weft. To create shade in your garden, plan to strategically place a tree, small hedge or fence on the sunniest side.

Did you know that you can use Bach flowers for the care of your plants? The use of Bach flowers varies from one season to another. In summer, when the temperatures are too high, it is suggested to resort to Centaury and Wild Rose to protect the plants from the heat. Bach flowers can be purchased in herbal medicine. These are natural remedies to be used as an alternative to pesticides and fertilizers.

Read also: Bach flowers for plant care

Mulching allows you to maintain greater moisture in the soil during the summer, protecting it from the sun's rays and heat. Its use also allows to reduce irrigation and avoid the presence of plants considered weeds in the garden. Mulching can also be applied to potted plants. The best materials for mulching are straw and bark pieces.

Summer rains feed the garden naturally, but they are also a real resource for water supply and watering. Collecting rainwater both in summer and throughout the year allows a great saving of resources, especially when the garden, in the warm months, requires to be watered more often. Use a bucket to collect rainwater, to be placed in the garden or under the eaves, or opt for real and proper tanks.

Read also: Rainwater recovery: do-it-yourself systems

If your plants need to be pruned during the summer, try to avoid the hottest days or hours. Pruning serves to eliminate the damaged parts of the plant, to increase its productivity, to regenerate the branches and to give a more compact and harmonious shape. However, it is necessary to pay attention to the leaves that are sheltered before pruning and which will then be exposed to the outside and the sunlight. Schedule pruning according to the weather forecast, choosing the coolest days, so that the inner leaves do not risk drying out due to the sun and excessive heat.


The month of August is certainly one of the busiest times for gardening. Those who have a few days of vacation can dedicate a part of them to the harvest or to the sowing of vegetables and seedlings that can begin to bear fruit within the current year or that can be chosen in anticipation of the harvest that will be desired. get for the next year.

Here's how to best organize sowing, transplanting and harvests also referring to the lunar calendar.

In August, artichokes, beets, chicory, cabbage, endive, lettuce, beans, fennel, carrots, onions, parsley, escarole, spinach, courgettes, radishes, turnips and rocket can be sown.

Chicory, beets, carrots, beans, fennel, artichokes, rocket and lettuce can be harvested in October and November.

As for carrots and lettuces, autumn varieties should be chosen for planting.

Spinach can be sown from the end of August in order to be able to harvest it during the autumn. The parsley can instead be harvested in spring, while the fennel will bear fruit by the end of November.

Sowing, to obtain a more successful harvest, should always be carried out inside seedbeds, which can be obtained by piercing the bottom of glasses or small plastic containers (yoghurt pots are perfect for this purpose). Each jar must be watered preferably using a water container equipped with a spray, in order to obtain a correct humidity of the most superficial layers of earth, where the seeds are located. This sowing method will allow you to select the most resistant plants and to better organize the spaces at your disposal, whether you have a real vegetable garden or you decide to transfer your plants into simple pots. The rocket can also be sown directly in rectangular pots or in wooden boxes to cover the bottom with a layer of waterproof fabric, taking care to space the seeds well from each other.

The harvest of August

As already announced, the August harvest is very rich. Depending on what you have sown in the previous months, you will be able to harvest:

Variety to transplant in August

As for the transplant, in the month of August, depending on what was previously sown inside the seedbeds, you can take advantage of your time available to take care of the transplantation of: artichokes, beets, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cabbage cabbage, chicory, celery and celeriac.

Work in the garden according to the lunar calendar

Take advantage of the waxing moon days for the harvest of tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, cucumbers, beans and beets, as well as for the sowing of lettuce and spinach. They will also be the ideal moments for harvesting medicinal herbs.

When the moon is waning, it is advisable to proceed with the harvest of onions, the sowing of beets, fennel and cabbage and the transplanting of leeks, as well as the topping of tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and watermelons. Days with a waning moon are also the ideal time to pull out weeds so that they grow back more slowly.


The month of July is full of gifts both for the garden and the orchard. The arrival of the great heat will require more frequent watering.

It is necessary to water the garden and potted plants once a day, preferably in the evening. Take particular care of the newly transplanted seedlings, which need daily watering and to be sheltered from too strong and direct sunlight.

In July you can start sowing autumn vegetables such as radicchio, leeks, fennel, cabbage and cabbage. You can also take care of sowing late peas, radishes, beets and courgettes. Seed germination is favored by high temperatures. Peas, beans, green beans, radishes, carrots, lettuce and cut lettuce can be sown directly in the ground, in the vegetable garden, without going through the seedbed.

In July it is possible to sow:

Green beans
Baby lettuce for cutting
Rocket salad

Tips for sowing and transplanting

In July, sow in outdoor seedbeds: chicory, endive, lettuce, leek, radicchio, escarole. Sown in the ground: fennel, beets, radishes, beans, green beans, courgettes, cabbage, cabbage, parsley. Transplant from the seedbed to the vegetable garden: celery and leeks. To make the seedbeds you can use recycled materials, such as yogurt jars or other similar containers whose bottom can be pierced.

The harvest of the month of July

The month of July is among the richest of the year for the harvest. You can enjoy numerous summer vegetables. Among the aromatic and medicinal herbs it will also be possible to collect: basil, sage, chives, parsley, rosemary, oregano, mint, thyme, mustard, lemon balm, lavender and cumin. Who owns an orchard will harvest: apricots, strawberries, peaches, raspberries, lemons, gooseberries, blueberries, blackberries, currants, plums, apples.

Green beans
Strawberries (in colder regions such as Trentino)
Rocket salad

Garden on the balcony in July

In July you can take care of sowing rocket, lettuce, carrots, radishes, parsley and zucchini in pots. You can transplant the seedlings of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil, sage, rosemary, aubergines, chillies from the seedbed to the pot or into a larger pot. Water the potted plants with a spray in the morning and in the evening and eliminate stagnation in the saucers. It is preferable to always carry out harvesting of vegetables and aromatic herbs in the evening, as well as pruning and elimination of dry leaves. If the heat is excessive, move the more delicate plants to the shadier area of ​​the balcony.

Work in the garden according to the lunar calendar
Crescent moon

With the growing moon, take care of sowing or transplanting celery, cabbage and leeks. Sow beans, green beans, cabbage, beets, fennel and parsley. Take care of topping tomatoes, runner beans, cucumbers, watermelons and melons. When flowering is complete, prune the sage. With the crescent moon, harvest cucumbers, courgettes, tomatoes, lettuce, aubergines.

On waning moon days sow lettuce, chicory and radicchio, endive and escarole. Harvest radishes, carrots, onions, apricots, peaches, plums, apples and prepare the ground for autumn sowing and transplanting. Set the days for cleaning and arranging used equipment in the garden month by month. Prepare the soil for lawn sowing and prune the roses. Plant bulbs, tubers, and rhizomes.


With the arrival of June, the period of summer vegetables to be harvested, sowing and transplants to be carried out in the open ground will begin, perhaps remembering to follow the lunar calendar, in order to obtain better yields from your work.

As warmer days approach, it will be necessary to devote more time to watering potted plants and watering the garden. Take advantage of the rains in late spring to be able to collect rainwater to be used to reduce domestic water consumption.

In the month of June, temperatures should now be stable in most of the Italian regions. For this reason it will be possible to carry out several sowings in the open ground, thinking for example of dedicating oneself to the sowing of tomatoes, peas and beans to be enjoyed in late summer. It will also be possible to dedicate oneself to the protected sowing of vegetables to be harvested in the following months, with the arrival of autumn, such as leeks, cabbage, fennel and pumpkins. Among the aromatic herbs, dedicate yourself to the sowing of chamomile, parsley, basil and sage.

In June it is possible to sow:

Chard from ribs
Baby lettuce for cutting
Wild rocket
Garden rocket

Tips for sowing and transplanting

The time has come to transplant what has been grown in the seedbeds during the previous weeks, with transfer in pots or in the ground, depending on the space available for setting up the garden. It is therefore possible to dedicate oneself to the transplanting of seedlings of strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, aubergines and chilli, as well as aromatic herbs, such as basil, parsley, sage, rosemary.

It is also possible to start sowing the vegetables to be harvested in the following months, remembering not to expose the sprouts to direct sunlight, to prevent them from drying out. Before carrying out the transplant, it is advisable to moisten the bread of earth that contains the roots of your plant and also moisten the hole in which it will be transferred. In the case of transplanting in pots, remember to sprinkle the bottom with expanded clay balls or shards, in order to allow the soil to retain more moisture and to maintain the ideal temperature for the plants.

The harvest of June

We take advantage of the arrival of the month of June to taste our favorite fruits and vegetables when they are in season, such as strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, courgettes and peppers. An abundant harvest during the summer months will be the ideal pretext to devote yourself to the preparation of sauces, preserves in oil or vinegar and jams. The aromatic herbs can be used for the preparation of condiments or can be dried for their later use.

Green beans
Courgette flowers
Baby lettuce for cutting
Chili Peppers
Rocket salad

Garden on the balcony in June

For those who grow aromatic herbs in pots on the balcony or windowsill, it will be possible to harvest basil, parsley, sage, rosemary, oregano, thyme, marjoram, sage, mint, chives and sorrel. Most of the aromatic and balsamic plants reach the peak of their charge of useful elements in the month of June. They can therefore be collected both for consumption fresh and for drying, to be carried out in the shade on a cloth, inside a paper bag or by hanging some twigs tied with a string and upside down.

Depending on what was sown or transplanted in the previous months, the garden on the balcony can offer for the harvest, for example: cherry tomatoes, peppers, green beans, round courgettes, rocket, lettuce, parsley, basil, mallow, chamomile and other herbs officinal and aromatic. You could dedicate yourself to the sowing of leeks, radishes, celery and garlic, to be enjoyed in the following months. Dedicate yourself to the sowing of rocket and lettuce cut in pots.

Work in the garden according to the lunar calendar

Following a lunar calendar and the advice of the peasant tradition can be useful for planning sowings and transplants in the garden. The information is gathered by comparing different lunar calendars and can be considered valuable for obtaining a better harvest.

During the days of the growing moon it is advisable to dedicate oneself to transplanting vegetables grown in pots or in seedbeds. The best time for transplanting is in the evening hours, as the roots should never be exposed to direct sunlight. During the growing moon, take care of sowing or transplanting beans, peas, lettuce, rocket, broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers. The days of the waxing moon represent the ideal period for the collection of aromatic herbs.

In the days of waning moon, dedicate yourself in particular to the harvesting of vegetables and pruning of plants. During the waning moon phase you can collect aromatic herbs. With the waning moon you can also dedicate yourself to the protected sowing of leeks, radicchio, celery, autumn cabbage, chard, escarole and fennel. With the waning moon, peasant tradition recommends watering and irrigation more abundant than on a waxing moon. Finally, with the waning moon, the supports are positioned to support the climbing plants of tomatoes, beans and peas.


May is the best month to plant lots of flowers and vegetables in your garden, but that's not all! The May jobs to be done in your garden and in your vegetable garden are so many: start to top up your sleeves and take note of everything you have to do!

Work in the garden
Your garden is already an explosion of colors and flowers: the first thing to do is to maintain the garden with proper care. Then remove the flowers that have faded from the plants, collect the leaves and petals that fall on the ground.
The temperatures also begin to rise and therefore the chances of pest attacks increase: check your plants daily so that you can promptly intervene in any attacks, always using natural remedies!

Attention then to the first bulbs that have already faded, such as daffodils and crocuses: to make them bloom again next year you will have to store them properly.

You will also need to take care of your lawn, starting with the first mowing. If, on the other hand, your lawn is not as green as you hoped, you can always fix it by rolling out the lawn.

Finally the sowings: May is the right time to transplant the bulbs that will bloom in the summer like gladioli.

Add a pot of sagging petunias to the garden that will last all summer. May is also the month of flowering of camellias and azaleas.

A climbing passionflower plant will give your garden some truly original color and flowers, but you can also plant a clematis.

Bring your houseplants into the garden, and remember to fertilize geraniums for abundant flowering.

Work in the vegetable garden
Your garden will be a riot of seedlings in May! Before proceeding with cultivation, be sure to properly clean the soil by removing all weeds and residues from other crops. Loosen the soil with a hoe to aerate it. So get ready to choose what to enrich your garden with: in May you are spoiled for choice!

Pay attention to all the aromatic herbs that are decorative and very useful, easy to grow in the garden but also in pots on the balcony!

In fact, you can grow tomatoes, beans, peppers, leeks, all kinds of salads (romaine, lettuce, rocket, etc.), courgettes and celery, cucumbers, carrots, broccoli and aubergines.

The April works in the GARDEN and in the GARDEN

Spring has finally arrived.

The climate is getting milder day after day and the days are getting longer visibly: it is time for great work. the rest is over!

Everything begins to grow and bloom, now that the foundations are laid for everything that will bloom and mature in the months to come!

but be careful. April wont be bad from the beginning or the end.

Let's sow the colors of summer!

You can turn your beloved garden into a sea of ​​colorful summer flowers with just a couple of sachets of seeds, provided you are about to sow right now. You can spread directly on the flower beds: Calendula, Nigella, Malope, Cornflower, Agrostemma, Wild poppy, Marigold, Cosmea climbing plants such as Sweet pea, Convolvulus. Many other flowering plants can be permanently planted.

April is the best month to carry out transplants, for all those plants that have been obtained in boxes or in warm beds. Cold returns can occur like in March, the more the plants are in the advanced vegetative stage, the more they fear the return of freezing.

Nitrogen nutrition makes plant tissues more resistant to cold. In fact, it should rain more than usual rainy April, a fruitful year. "It is the month in which even in the most inclement years the rain sooner or later arrives.

Almost all fruit trees are in bloom with the exception of Almond and Peach trees which have already bloomed in March and begin to vegetate lawns and lawns. for all plants the awakening will be better with a correct fertilization tendentially nitrogenous which makes the tissues of the plants more resistant to cold. In case of lack of humidity it will be necessary to intervene with the right quantities according to the type of plant. the best thing to do is get wet in the morning.

The hedges are pruned and the roses sprouted by eliminating the twigs that would ruin the shape of the bush, at the end of the month the excess buds must be removed. all potted plants can also be pruned.

Towards the end of the month weeds appear which must be promptly eliminated.

It is still time for repotting for almost all houseplants such as Ficus, Croton, Dracaene etc. By the end of the month, potted plants sheltered before winter, such as geraniums, citrus fruits, oleanders, can be brought outdoors ... for the first time, choose a location in partial shade to get them used to living outdoors.

In the garden continue the sowing of beets, carrots, ciicorie, endive, lettuce, peas, parsley and only now those for beans, green beans, tomatoes, aubergines, celery begin. As always, carrots, chicory, lettuce, parsley and radishes are harvested. Towards the end of the month the first strawberries will be ready.

Digging works can be carried out and in general the soil is prepared with mature manure.

THE WORKS of March in the GARDEN and in the GARDEN.

This is the month of the spring equinox, the flower season will officially kick off!
But let's not forget the proverb that says: March has always prepared a bad improvised "

It is a rather unreliable month from a climatic point of view, in fact the last unexpected snowfalls or days of very intense cold can occur. These dangers are highest in the northern regions, where it could rain a lot.
In southern Italy MARCH is certainly a month of full spring, many of the plants that are sown in the north now should already be in the growth phase.

MARCH is undoubtedly the month in which we have to roll up our sleeves and start the work necessary for the garden and the vegetable garden. In general, let us remember that the work of the land and the sowing must in any case be carried out only if the atmospheric conditions allow it. This year, until now, has been almost devoid of winter, we expect a mild spring, at least that's what we hope for!

BLOOMS: Primroses, Marigolds, Violet flowers, Daisies, Sassifraghe and among the shrubs the Forsythia, give us the first magnificent blooms, cheering up the garden and the heart with new colors.

PLANTING: You can still sow the new lawns, if you haven't already done so in the fall. The rustic varieties of roses are planted.

They are sown. ornamental flowers such as: Chrysanthemum carinatum, Gypsophila, Lathyrus odoratus. Another proverb says: "March dry, and April wet, blessed the villan has sown us."

PRUNING: for plants it is the period of pruning, both for those that have already bloomed and for those that will bloom in summer-autumn. in roses, existing plants are pruned to remove excess or diseased vegetation.

We fertilize in particular Rhododendrons and Azaleas which are about to start their beautiful flowering.

HOUSE PLANTS: The vegetative restart has started, therefore, it may be advisable to fertilize with products suitable for the kind of plant. For some of our plants it is time to repot, use containers that are only slightly wider than the previous one.

IN THE ORCHARD and for the VINE. New specimens of fruit trees are planted in the orchard. For older plants, dry pruning is carried out to remove the dry or diseased parts. The proverb teaches: "Whoever does not prune his vineyard in March, loses the harvest." the same pruning operations described above are carried out on the vine, with the warning that, especially in the colder areas, a too early pruning induces the plants to enter vegetation and thus exposes them more to damage from the cold.

IN THE GARDEN almost all the sowings of the main species are carried out. Onions, Swiss chard, thistles, chicory, romaine lettuce, peas, parsley, rapanelli and spinach.
In a warm bed, or, with appropriate shelters, you can also sow Tomatoes, Basil, Aubergines, Peppers, Cucumbers, Melons, Zucchini, so they will be ready for the transplant that will take place in April. We can still collect Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Lettuce, Chicory, Spinach, Rapanelli and Leeks.

The works of FEBRUARY in the garden and in the vegetable garden

The month of February can still be a transitional month for garden work, even if, in some areas, many crops are started.

For the dangers of freezing and snowfalls, the amount already deot for January is valid, however, it should be borne in mind that in February the snow can melt very quickly when the African shirocco blows, so it is very important that the drains are efficient.

The flower beds, worked in autumn, have undergone the disintegrating action of frost and rain, we can now proceed with the preparation of the seedbed. The hoe is useful for crushing larger clods, the rake is used for refining and leveling the soil.

In the days of bad weather, which are still numerous, and which hinder any outdoor work, all the maintenance work that will be needed next spring must be carried out. All in all, it is preferable that February still runs with a winter character, because, when it is of a spring type, it then leads to fears of a return of winter later. The caissons and hot beds are becoming more and more useful, therefore the soil must be renewed, previously placing the manure of the type and quantity desired to achieve certain purposes.

The pruning started in January continues and the scions are chosen for the grafts that will be done in March. The hedges of Boxwood, Evonimo, Ivy and Privet are cut. From the middle of the month, apple trees, pear trees, sisini, currants, raspberries, cherries and vines are pruned in the orchard.

In the warmest and most sheltered areas, the flowering of Violets, Jasmines, Pansies begins, the Freesias in the northern areas bloom the earliest bulbous plants, for example, Snowdrops, Rooster Footers, Anemones, Crocuses. In the apartment Azalea and Clivia bloom.

Cornflowers, Coleus, Petunias, Zinnie, Verbene, Violaciochce, Salvia splendens, Gazanie, Portulache can be planted under a hot bed.

In the open ground are sown: carnations, asters, sweet peas, centaures and gladioli.

At the end of the month, the rustic varieties of roses can be planted or pruned if they are already in the garden. If the cold is no longer very intense, it is advisable to discover the rosebushes, so that the castings have a chance to grow normally.

The lawns that are to be redone must be promptly dug up if it had not already been done in January.

Several houseplants need to be repotted. Croton, Dracene, Dieffenbachia, Ficus, Ferns and Palms, etc.

Starting from February it is possible to do a certain number of sowings in the open ground, preferably in well exposed places and in any case, in the second fortnight of this month. Garlic, new asparagus, spring cabbage, early potatoes are planted or transplanted, onions are sown, chard beets, peas for the late April harvest, Radicchi, Parsley, Fennel and Broad bean.

Cauliflower, Carrots, Cabbage, Brussels Broccoli, Chicory, Lettuce, Parsley, Rapanelli and Spinach are harvested.


Vegetable garden and garden must also be followed in January! Here are the jobs you need to do if you want everything to be perfect this spring!

In January, the vegetable garden and garden seem to hibernate, but there are still many jobs to be done! Only by starting to work in the vegetable garden and garden now can you have an amazing spring and turn your neighbor green with envy! Prepare your gardening apron, a nice scarf and go straight to your garden!

You work in the garden in January
In January you will have to start thinking about sowing the varieties that you will want to grow with the first rays of the sun. Given the low temperatures it is impossible to proceed with direct sowing in the ground, but you can still proceed by creating a seedbed. You will not be able to leave it out in the open, but by placing it at home you will be able to make your seedlings germinate in a short time: making a seedling is really simple.

What to put in the seedbed? All aromatic herbs such as basil, chives, thyme and parsley. Among the vegetables you can choose instead carrots, tomatoes, peppers and radishes, peas, rocket and zucchini. Have you just bought a stalk of celery?

This is also the ideal time to stop and think about the reorganization of the garden spaces: after choosing the crops you want to focus on in the coming months, draw on a sheet of paper how you plan to arrange them. In doing so, pay attention to the intercropping of vegetables.

Then continue to hoe the land that will remain dormant: digging in January will allow you to have a land ready to welcome the new crops in the spring.

The experienced farmers will have had the foresight to cultivate winter qualities in the vegetable garden. In January they will therefore be able to proceed with the collection of:
- Spinach
- Topinambour
- Leeks
- Indvia
- Cauliflowers
- Cabbages
- Broccoli
- Celeriac
- Fennel

When harvesting vegetables remember to clean the soil well and do not let weeds grow wine on your vegetables.

Work in the garden in January
The garden also needs to be maintained during the colder months. If you haven't done so yet, protect the most delicate plants.

In this period it is also easy for sudden snowfalls to still arrive: therefore, great attention must be paid to the branches of the largest trees and pruning the most dangerous ones.

In addition, January and February are the best months to proceed with the pruning of roses.

Once the snow has fallen, leave it where it is! In fact, it will help the soil not to freeze and will allow the bulbs to bloom again more beautiful than ever.

In fact, January is in fact the last month useful for the cultivation of spring bulbs: if you have forgotten to bury the bulbs this autumn, fix it immediately, before severe frosts arrive that will make any work on the ground impossible.

Also in the garden it is good to take advantage of the rest period of the plants to proceed with a digging of the soil that will help the plants and flowers to take root better in the summer. As with the vegetable garden, start thinking about how you want to organize the greenery of your garden.

In this month you will still have to rely on the flowering of winter plants.

The works of DECEMBER in the garden and in the vegetable garden.

With the approach of the winter season, the last works in the garden come to an end. If the climatic conditions still allow it, the flower beds can be cleaned of the residues of exhausted crops, digging and administering organic fertilizers to prepare the soil for spring work.

We avoid leaving the garden fallow for the whole winter.

It is still bleaching time for thistles and different varieties of radicchio.
Now there is no shortage of time: you can clean up the collected seeds and place them in jars or labeled bags, safe from humidity and parasites. We take advantage of the winter to think about the new garden through good planning. It should be remembered that leafy vegetables and cabbages need a good nitrogen content in the soil while leguminous plants do not exploit the soil, on the contrary, they enrich it in nitrogen and are therefore considered as improving crops.

Depending on the growing environment, cabbage, carrots, thistles and spinach can still be harvested.
Sowing: winter lettuce, rocket, radishes.
Let's take care of the soil: a good soil has an intense biological activity, due to the rich presence of bacteria, fungi, insects, worms, including the precious earthworm, the aerator and the producer of humus par excellence. The result of their vital activity consists in a complete availability of the organic substances for the plants, in preventing the compaction of the soil and in the elimination of harmful species. To enhance the existence of these microorganisms, a cultivation practice that favors them is mulching, to be carried out with rather rich and well-chopped organic material to make it more easily degradable. The effect of mulching is also enhanced by the convenient and regular addition of compost. Finally, the work is completed by working the land that favors ventilation.
On the hottest days it is advisable to ventilate the tunnels or protective structures set up for the winter, in order to avoid excess humidity, limiting the condensation that drips onto the plants.

It is time to carry out the reform pruning of hawthorn, berberis, boxwood, privet and in general of all those plants cultivated in an obligatory form for the creation of hedges.

The new roses can be planted in the warmer regions, in the colder ones it is good to wait for the mild spring.

It is necessary to minimize watering, at the same time they must be removed from artificial heat sources, but the environment must not become too dry.

An IDEA for the new YEAR:
Combining vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants can be an idea to enrich biodiversity and to satisfy the eyes and stomach. The need for beauty and the pleasure of having self-grown fruit and vegetables are satisfied. the idea is to plan a rich flowering that accompanies vegetables and fruit trees in every season, from spring to autumn. The presence of flowers offers shelter to many insects, from pollinators to butterflies, helps control parasites and in many cases stimulates the growth and productivity of edible species.

Gardening: how to sow roses
by Rina Alaimo

Roses are one of the most beautiful and loved flowers par excellence. A precious flower that when given has different meanings based on its color. The colors of the roses are the most popular and sought after feature. Often we find ourselves coveting what we lack. Classic color or with shades. Perfume. Long stem, sapling or bush. There are for all tastes and many varieties. Often we buy them ready-made, other times we talk about reproduction by cutting or grafting. Instead, we, today, are going to look at this little gardening guide on how to sow roses. Roses also have seeds like many other plants and ours can be found in the "rose hips" which are the false fruits of the withered rose. Let's see how to extract the seed and grow our wonderful rose plants, it will be a long process, but very simple and above all capable of great satisfaction.

As a first step we must reap our false fruits. Roses, depending on the species, have different flowering times, in fact the rose hips must be harvested when the complete withering of our roses occurs, in the month of July, August, while the greatest withering will take place in autumn, that is in the month of November.We will have to have the patience to collect these small fruits. We open the rose hips to be able to extract the seeds. Furthermore, it is very important to know that our seeds are in a hibernating condition. To awaken the seeds, it is necessary to keep them moist, and at temperatures that can vary between about 4 and 10 degrees, because the cold causes the awakening of our seed. The simplest method is to place our seeds on damp sawdust, inside a glass container or in simple plastic food bags. One cm of sawdust is enough, it is important to cover them with the same amount of wet sawdust. Closed our container, we can safely put it in the refrigerator until the month of February, which we will sow in the ground. In the fridge, use the fruit section which is the most suitable for its temperatures.

In February we can take our seeds stored in the refrigerator, rinse them under running water and then leave them to soak for at least one night in order to soften the seed envelope. To our water for soaking, add a teaspoon of bleach to a large liter of water. This procedure also serves to avoid any mold on our seeds. To speed up germination, some prefer to use very fine sandpaper on which to rub the seed, but this process risks ruining the seed and damaging the casing that usually protects it from mold. The latter are harmful for the successful birth of our plants. Keep in mind that sandpaper as a solution is an awkward procedure if you want to reproduce numerous seeds. Remember that the convenience of the fridge is needed, both for the temperature but also for the constant humidity and darkness.

Now we can proceed with the planting of our seeds on the ground. The seeds should be planted at a depth of two or three centimeters. If sowing pots are used, about 10 centimeters in diameter put one seed per pot. If using larger pots, space out each seed well and cover evenly with earth. We will see the first shoots appear after about 2 months. Sometimes some seeds begin to germinate the following year so it is good to keep our jars in ventilated places, not too hot, but away from the cold especially in winter. You will have to take care to keep the jars, even if you do not see any buds, even over a year, because some rarities of the rose variant need more time for the bud, as well as the re-flowering ones and the climbers. As we said, the process is a bit long, but the results will be excellent. It is also necessary to consider that different seedlings are born from the seeds. Let's arm ourselves with patience and get ready to be enthusiastic about our sure success in sowing.

Month of November: sowing, harvesting and work in the garden

The month of November will be able to guarantee a rather varied harvest both for those who have a real vegetable garden at their disposal, and for those who dedicate themselves to the cultivation of a vegetable garden on the balcony.

In November it is possible to prepare the soil for future sowing, take precautions to protect the plants from frost and carry out sowing in seedbeds in the most rigid climate areas, while in the milder regions it is still possible to sow in the open ground, without forgetting to consult the lunar calendar.

In November it is possible to dedicate oneself in particular to the sowing of vegetables that can be harvested with the arrival of spring, such as the spring pea. Chickpeas, broad beans and lentils can be harvested from May to July.
It is possible to carry out your sowing in the open ground, in a seedbed or in a greenhouse depending on the climate that characterizes the area where your garden is located. Direct sowing in the ground is recommended for regions with a milder climate, otherwise sowing in seedbeds or in a home greenhouse can be used.

In November it is possible to sow:
- garlic
- carrots
- chickpeas
- turnip greens
- Fava beans
- lettuce
- cut lettuce
- lentils
- spring peas and climbing peas
- cutting radicchio
- radishes
- rocket salad
- spinach
- valerian

Tips for sowing
In November it is possible to prepare seedbeds with lettuce, rocket, valerian and radish seeds, which can later be transferred in pots or in the ground. Sowing in seedbeds is useful if future seedlings are placed in a place where they can be sheltered from the first frosts. To make a seedbed it is possible to use salvaged jars to puncture the bottom. Yogurt jars are perfect.

The harvest of November

The harvest of the month of November will still be able to offer us various vegetables such as onions, potatoes, artichokes, cabbage, spinach, rocket, lettuce and cut lettuce. Among the aromatic herbs it is possible to collect rosemary, parsley, mint and sage when needed. It is also possible to collect cabbage and artichokes, turnips, chicory, beets, radicchio travisano and Brussels sprouts.

Variety to transplant in November

In November it is possible to transplant various vegetables in the open ground, taking into account the phases of the moon indicated below. Among the varieties to be transplanted in November are: garlic, onions, broad beans, fennel, leeks, artichokes, cabbage and cauliflower
Vegetable garden on the balcony in November

If you have a vegetable garden on the balcony, if you have planted it in the previous months, you will have the opportunity to harvest, for example, parsley, rocket, rosemary, sage and cut lettuce. He can then proceed again with the sowing of both common or wild rocket and lettuce, as well as carrots, turnip greens, broad beans, radishes, peas and spinach.

Work in the garden according to the lunar calendar

Crescent moon: with the growing moon, popular tradition recommends sowing radishes, preferably in a seedbed or greenhouse, unless you are in an area with a very mild climate. We must wait for the growing moon for the sowing of cereals, the harvesting of medicinal herbs, chestnuts, kiwis, olives and quinces.

The moon will be waxing from 1 to 5 and from 23 to 30 November 2014

Waning moon: you can take advantage of the waning moon phase to preferably sow in a seedbed or in a protected place, such as a small greenhouse: lettuce, cut lettuce, radicchio, rocket and spinach. With the waning moon, garlic and onions can be transplanted outdoors and, only if the climate is mild, broad beans, fennel, leeks, artichokes, cabbage and cauliflower.

With the waning moon it is recommended to harvest potatoes and onions. It is also possible to prepare the soil for future sowing by enriching it with home-made compost and hilling the plants, leaning some earth towards them to protect them from the cold.


The vegetable garden and orchard from June will begin to be generous with ripe and juicy fruits: it becomes interesting to keep part of it, in order to benefit from the flavors of summer during autumn and winter. Let's see how.

Are you inundated with vegetables and fruits that exceed your consumption? Keep some of it. There are many ways to keep vegetables and fruit for a long time, from the oldest to the modern and fast ones.

• The good preservation of vegetables depends primarily on correct harvesting, with methods and tools that do not damage the fruit to prevent the product from deteriorating, with health risks.

• Vegetables intended for fresh consumption can be stored for 3-10 days in the refrigerator. The berry and root vegetables, well dried, are spread in wooden boxes in a cool place, or placed in paper bags in the fridge (they last up to 10-12 days). Leaf vegetables are sprayed with a little water, wrapped in a damp cloth and placed in the fridge (plastic bags accelerate decay), where they will last 3-4 days.

• The heads of radicchio and the roots of carrots and radishes can be kept for up to a month by placing their base in moistened sand in a dark cellar.

• Drying allows the products to be kept for 3-18 months depending on the type. It concerns vegetables such as garlic, onion, tomato, eggplant, pepper, chilli. The process lasts just a few hours using the appropriate dryer, which can be done without following the traditional method, which is longer but easy and undemanding.

• Agli and onions are left to dry lying in the sun for a few days, cleansed of the soil, remembering to remove the box every evening. Then they are kept in braids (prepared by intertwining the stems together) or laid, preferably in a single layer, in wooden boxes in the dark and in a cool place.

• Tomatoes, aubergines and peppers should be carefully cleaned with a damp cloth. The tomatoes are cut in half, the aubergines are sliced ​​into 1-1.5 cm thick slices, the peppers are cut into 3 cm wide strips. Then they are lightly salted and left to drain for a couple of hours in a colander. Then they are placed on a wooden plank face up (or on a special framed net) and left in the sun for a week, picking them up at night. The slices are turned over and repeated, and so on. After a month, the vegetables will be dried, ready to be stored in glass jars, in a cool and dark environment, or in oil.

• The peppers, with the stalk, dry in the sun, on wooden boards or on the special net. After a month they are placed in glass jars or the green peduncles are threaded with a needle and a thin thread to create a “necklace” to keep in the kitchen.

• The potatoes should be brushed with care and placed in wooden boxes, to be kept in a cool and dark place. If sprouts appear, they must be detached so as not to wilt the potato.

• Fruits can also be dried, using the classic air procedure or using a modern dryer. Certain types of fruit can be frozen (apples, pears, cherries, peaches, apricots, plums, grapes): they must be pitted, sliced, with or without peel, and placed in the freezer in special freezer bags. A very tasty alternative is always the transformation of fruit into jams, jellies, juices, syrups, liqueurs.

How to Change the Vase to an Orchid

There is something magical about orchids, don't you think? Their sleek necks and glowing petals are the stuff of old forest scenes, yet they thrive in a low-maintenance home setting. Changing the pot to orchids prevents the roots from becoming too dense, so they will continue to produce beautiful buds for years and years to come. See step one to determine when an orchid is ready to change pots and how to move it to a new container without damaging the root.

Let's see it all in 3 Parts: Know your Orchid, Prepare the Materials, Change the Orchid Vase.

Part 1 of 3: Getting to know your Orchid

Determine whether or not it is time to change the pot. The ideal time to change an orchid's pot is just after the end of flowering, when it begins to produce new growth. However, you don't have to change the pot of your orchid every time this happens rather it should be done no more often than once every 18 - 24 months. If you're not sure when the last time an orchid pot change was, and it appears to be growing past the pot, it may have needed a change for quite a while. Observe your orchid and look for the following signs to know it is ready to change pots:
There are several roots that grow beyond the pot. If you see a lot of roots - not just one or two - hanging over the pot, your orchid needs more space, and it's time to move it to a larger pot.
Some of the roots are rotting. If they look soggy, and the potting soil no longer drains properly, you will need to change the orchid pot.
The plant is growing over the edge of the pot. If the plant body is hanging a lot over the edge, it needs more space.

Don't change the pot for your orchids unless necessary. Being overzealous with replacing your orchid's pot can unbalance your plant's growth cycle. An orchid should only be moved to another vase if the listed symptoms are evident. If it looks healthy and well contained in its current pot, postpone the change for another year. It is better for an orchid to get a little crowded than to be moved too often.

Find out what kind of potting soil you need. Now that you know it's time to replant your orchid, it's important to understand what kind of potting soil to use. Many orchids used as house plants are epiphytic, rather than terrestrial, which means they do not grow in the soil. These types of orchids will die if you replant them in common potting soil.
A combination of fir bark, sphagnum, charcoal and coconut shells is appropriate for many orchid genera. Most common orchids will grow well in this mixture:
4 parts fir bark or coconut shells
1 part of medium charcoal
1 part perlite
If you're not exactly sure what type of orchid you have, prepackaged orchid pot mixes are a safe card for most epiphytic orchids. It can be found in many nurseries and centers for home and garden items.
If you have a terrestrial orchid, you will need soil that is crumbly and holds water well. It should have a high content of perlite and woody material. Ask at the local nursery for the particular mix that is suitable for your type of orchid.

Decide which pot size to use. When you are replacing an orchid, you will need a larger pot of just an inch or so. You want to provide slightly more space, but not too much - otherwise, the orchid will focus its energies on taking root, and you won't see flowers for many months. Look for a plastic, clay, or ceramic pot that fits your orchid size.
Make sure the new pot has drainage holes. If it doesn't drain properly, orchids will rot.
Some orchid species have roots that are capable of photosynthesis. If you have a Phalaenopsis, consider getting a plastic or clear glass jar to let in the light.
If you have to choose a pot that is a little larger than you need, you may want to add some earthenware shards to the bottom. It will help the soil that is in the center of the pot, which tends to stagnate, to drain better.

Part 2 of 3: Prepare the Materials
Measure the potting soil you need into a large bucket or basin. Fill the new orchid pot with the mix, then pour it into a container about twice its size. To prepare the pot mix for the orchid, you will need to let it soak in water overnight. This will allow the soil to retain enough moisture to support the orchid.
Cover the potting mix with hot water. Go ahead and fill the bucket or bowl to the top with hot water. Do not use cold water, as potting materials are unable to absorb this as well. Make sure the soil is at room temperature before repotting the orchid.
Filter the soil. You can use a sieve that you would normally use for food (you'll want to wash it well afterwards), or a large chunk of muslin. Drain all the water so that what is left is just moist soil. Run more hot water through the mix to wash away any dust.

Remove the orchid from the old vase. Carefully lift the orchid out of its pot, loosening each root individually. If the roots are attached to the pot, use sterilized scissors or a knife to free them. It is very important to use clean tools, because orchids are often prone to disease.
You can sterilize your cutting tools with the flame of a lighter or by rubbing them with alcohol on a cloth.

Remove the old mix and dead roots. Use your fingers and a clean pair of scissors to thoroughly clean up the roots. Separate the dead mix - coal, wood splinters, moss, and so on - and throw it away. Use scissors to cut away dead or rotting roots, taking care not to damage healthy parts of the plant.
The soft, saggy roots are likely dead, so don't hesitate to remove them.
Carefully untangle the roots by gently separating them with your fingers.
Have the new vase ready. If you are using a vase that you have previously used for orchids, clean and sterilize it with boiling water to get rid of toxins and kill potential disease carriers. If the pot is large and deep, line it with earthenware shards or Styrofoam dowels to aid drainage. If you are using a short vase, this step is not necessary.

Part 3 of 3: Changing the Orchid Vase

Place the orchid in the vase. The older growth should go towards the bottom of the pot, while the newer growth should face the sides, where it will have more room to expand. The top of the root mass should be at the same level as it was in the old pot. This means that the new shoots should be above the surface of the pot, with most of the roots below the surface.

Press the potting mix into the pot. Pour some around the roots, shake the pot and tap the side of the pot so that the soil is lightly piled up around the roots. If you use your fingers, press gently so that the live roots are not damaged. Make sure there are no large air pockets. If part of the roots remain uncovered, they will not grow properly.
Pouring in just a little of the soil mix at a time helps. Work around the roots with your fingers, then pour in more mix and continue.
Keep pressing the mix into the jar until it is flush with the rim.

Make sure the plant is able to stand upright when you're done. Use a stake to keep it straight or clip it to the sides of the pot so it doesn't fall out or grow crooked.

Continue to care for your orchid as before. Put it in a temperate and partially shaded place. Water it occasionally or as needed for your particular orchid.

If the orchid is too difficult to get out of the pot, breaking the pot to free it can work.
Prepare your workspace by covering the area with newspaper or plastic.

Maintain your lawn in the winter

Many think that taking care of the lawn is a spring or summer activity. It's wrong. To be effective and give good results, lawn care must last all year round. Because there is not only mowing and mowing of the turf, but also fertilization and cleaning. During winter and autumn, operations are rarer and less tiring, this is true, but there is something to do.

Winter lawn care

Let's start with winter. To prevent the turf from being damaged when the ground is covered with ice and frost (which usually begins in November in the coldest Italian regions), it is necessary to avoid trampling on it and carrying out any mechanical intervention, including cutting.

In short, taking care of the lawn when it is frozen means suspending all maintenance interventions on the turf, except for one which, given the conditions, will be even better: surface cleaning. With the rake or the iron broom you can remove the dry leaves, the twigs and the annual weeds that will now be yellowed.

This operation must be done several times and repeated with care because the deposits left on the surface could suffocate the grass and limit the circulation of air and water. But be careful where you put your feet. To avoid stepping on the grass, you can use wooden planks resting on the ground as runners.

Before the frosts begin, however, it is necessary to prepare the lawn to overcome the rigors of the cold with winter cover. This consists in evenly distributing a layer of good soil mixed with peat and seasoned manure on the surface of the lawn. If the soil is very compact, a good dose of sand (20-30%) can also be added.

For a good winter cover, about 2.5-3 cubic meters of soil will be needed for every 100 square meters of lawn. This cover protects the grass from the cold, improves the texture of the soil, keeps the formation of the felt under control and provides nutrients that the lawn will gradually use until spring.

And even before that, that is, in early autumn, do not forget the overseeding of the lawn to keep it beautiful green until spring.


Bring more life and beauty to your garden by adding flowers and plants that attract butterflies. There are specific plants that attract butterflies, they are easy to care for and make the garden more beautiful. It is important that there are "Host Plants" to ensure a home for the butterfly larvae (caterpillars) and "Nectar Plants" on which the butterflies can feed.

First of all do some research. Find out which butterflies are common in your area. Observe the environment around you for a few days and get a local butterfly guide.

Choose the "Guest Plants" for the garden. Based on your research, find out what the caterpillars (i.e. the larvae) of local butterflies feed on:
Milkweed - attracts the caterpillars of the monarch butterfly.
Parsley - attracts the caterpillars of the black swallowtail butterfly (Papilio polyxenes).

Choose the "Nectar Plants". These will serve as a food source for the butterflies. There are many possible choices, some of which are listed below. Excellent solutions are:
Buddleia - suitable for swallowtail butterflies. Large plant: height 1.2m width 1.8m make sure it is perennial in your area. Some species are considered invasive so if you decide to plant one, remember to cut the buds to prevent them from producing seeds.
Asclepias incarnata - suitable for the hummingbird butterfly. This plant is about a meter tall and about half a meter wide. It also serves as a host plant for the monarch butterfly.
Eupatorium purpureum - suitable for swallowtail butterflies. It is a very large plant (2.4m high by 1.2m wide). It is perennial.
The Astro - this plant is about one meter high and about a half wide. It is perennial. Butterflies especially love native species.
La Monarda - dimensions: 0,6 m high by 0,5 m wide. It is perennial.
Zinnia - this plant attracts various types of butterflies who prefer the taller varieties of zinnia. This plant typically reaches 1.2m high by 0.3m wide. It is an annual plant and easy to plant from seed.
Fior di Stelle - suitable for swallowtail butterflies. Dimensions: 0.6m high by 0.9m wide. It is annual in cold climates.
The Heliotrope - this plant attracts various species of butterflies. It typically measures 0.6m in height and 0.3m in width but it is also possible to plant it in pots. It is perennial in temperate climates but annual in cold climates.

Make a sketch of the garden on paper. Draw a blueprint for a new garden or decide where to add these plants to an existing one. Keep adult plant sizes in mind when planning the arrangement. Also, take into consideration their needs for water to light.

Buy seeds or plants. You can find them in your local store or buy them online. Choose strong, healthy plants.

Plant your own butterfly garden. Make sure you water the plants regularly until they are established and the seeds until they sprout. Eliminate all weeds to help your plants grow better.

Observe and enjoy the activity of butterflies in your garden. Look for female butterflies that lay eggs on host plants. Take note of the butterflies you observe and, if you can, take pictures. You could make a digital archive to be updated over the years. The changes you observe in the number and type of butterflies that visit your garden can be invaluable information for biologists, ecologists and climate change scientists, who use local data to verify the increase or decrease of certain species, as well as the changes and fluctuations in temperature.

If there are any monarch butterflies in your area, they are very easy to attract. Asclepias incarnata (mentioned above) and Asclepias curassavica (annual in colder climates) are excellent host plants for them. Asclepias curassavica can be planted from seed in winter.
Butterflies are not great flyers. Do not plant the garden in windy and very exposed areas. If the area of ​​your garden is all exposed to the winds, plant bushes or dense rows of perennials on the windward side of the piece dedicated to butterflies, so that they can feed in peace and shelter.
Monarchs are very charming butterflies. Their migration path is one of the wonders of nature. To learn more, please click here.
Beautiful flowers correspond to beautiful butterflies.

Always avoid planting potentially invasive plants. These plants can spread for miles beyond the garden walls and wreak havoc on native ecosystems. If you plant them, they will spread.
Butterflies are insects! You cannot use insecticides in the butterfly garden.
Buddleia is considered a harmful herb in some areas.


Attracting butterflies to your garden can not only bring a sense of pleasure for the eyes, but it certainly also ties in with something much more important: the concept of biodiversity.

With the enormous development of our cities, it is nature that suffers the greatest consequences and what happens is that there is a continuous decrease in natural meadows, habitats for butterflies, birds and small wildlife.
Fortunately, however, attracting butterflies (and other small insects) is really easy!
Butterflies don't have a sense of smell as we understand it, they don't know if a flower has the nectar they want or not until they land on it.

The colors and scents also have a specific purpose: some diurnal butterflies are attracted to red and purple while others prefer yellow and blue.
But butterflies are attracted to large colorful flowers, definitely colorful and better if in full sun, so a southern exposure is really ideal (but don't be discouraged if it's not the location of your garden, I said it was ideal. and not a condicio sine qua non!) but a butterfly garden can be of any size so don't be discouraged if you only have a small space available, there are also small houses on the market made specifically to house small moths.
The creation of a butterfly garden should start with a real research, to know what types of butterflies can be found in the area where you live: it is important to know which adult butterflies you can find because this will help you in choosing the plants of the which they feed on.
Making a list of all the different types of butterflies and then knowing which flowers and plants they feed on or which they lay their eggs on is really the first step.
Flowers with a lot of nectar are certainly the most loved: choose plants that will bloom as long as possible as their nectar will be the source of food for the butterflies.
So don't forget roses, geraniums, lilies but also petunias, dahlias, sunflowers, blueberries, lilacs, marigolds, Cosmos, violets, marigolds or Impatients and keep your garden as diverse as possible to attract as many guests as possible.
flower butterflies
The fulcrum of a butterfly garden, however, must be the Buddleja or butterfly tree (its name derives from the fact that the prolonged and fragrant flowering, throughout the summer period facilitates the continuous visit of the butterflies) because growing very tall it will be one of the first flowers that butterflies will see.
You can then plan the garden by making a drawing and thus putting in order the plants you want to plant. In this way it is possible to obtain an overall view of the project and therefore understand how much space is needed.
Butterflies love stones because in the sun they heat up and allow them to "basking", also having small bushes on which they can rest and shelter from the wind is a perfect choice not to mention that these same plants can turn into food for the little ones. butterfly: the caterpillars.
The caterpillars, in fact, need to feed themselves to develop into a butterfly and if they do not find food they will die or migrate.
Then plant some herbs such as dill, fennel and parsley and you will see many little caterpillars running around happily!
In addition, butterflies love mud pools where they can drink water and absorb minerals so an area of ​​moist soil will certainly make them happy.
But most important of all, your garden is absolutely pesticide free.
Opt for natural methods and organic fertilizer such as compost.
Finally, a little trick to attract them and be able to observe them more easily is to place 4 parts of water and 1 of sugar in a saucepan and boil the solution thus obtained until the sugar dissolves, then let it cool and place it once cold in a shallow container (a saucer or coffee saucer is perfect) then saturate a paper towel with the solution and place next to a stone in your garden or put a stone in the container itself so that the butterflies have a place to rest : you will see them running in no time!
In conclusion, it is useless to remember the educational importance of this project, a very useful thing would be to have the children of the house keep a small diary of each of the different species of butterfly that visit the garden.
Allowing children to observe butterflies from life and then have them do a research to try to learn something more about what has just been seen is the best method to transform the love for nature resulting from observations into fun and learning.


During autumn, roses no longer produce large blooms, although roses such as botanicals or wrinkled ones add a touch of color to the garden and give small rose hips (fruit trees) of different shapes, sizes and shades. (see photo) Caring for roses in the fall allows us to obtain healthy shrubs and even more luxuriant blooms.

Autumn is the best time for planting new plants. The autumn rains help the rooting of the shrubs which in spring will already be able to face flowering.

How to protect roses from the cold

Roses are very resistant to cold so they do not require complex protection, however, in those areas where the cold persists for many weeks, it is recommended to protect the roots and graft point. To protect the roses from the cold, we suggest repairing the grafting point of the sapling rosebushes with straw.

To protect the roses from the cold, prepare a 6 - 8 cm thick layer of natural material at the base of the shrubs that can act as a mild insulator: a mixture of mature manure and compost or a mixture of dried manure mixed with compost and covered. from dry leaves.

Before adding the layer of insulation, with a small rake, remove any debris and foliage that could harbor parasitic fungal spores.

This same suggestion is also very valid when it comes to roses in pots.

If you are wondering how and when to prune roses, autumn is the right season only for those who live in southern Italy. For the Center-North it is better to postpone any pruning to the end of winter: the frosts could damage the freshly cut shrub, facilitating the onset of diseases and parasites through the cuts not yet healed.

To take care of roses in the fall, limit yourself to eliminating dry, broken or sick branches and shortening those that are too long that could break due to the wind or strong hail.

The precautions suggested in the paragraph on how to protect roses from the cold are sufficient for the protection of the plant and the root system, but there are other damages that hail and snow can cause to roses. To prevent damage to the branches of climbing roses, in case of heavy snow, shake them gently using a soft broom, a stick covered at the tip with honeycomb plastic or with simple rags. Remember to renew the bindings to the stakes of the sapling roses and those that secure the branches of the climbing roses: the rain could wear them down in a short time.


The cold is upon us and we have many flowers and plants that lose strength and begin to turn yellow and lose their leaves: let's see how to preserve seeds and bulbs, so that they can return to cheer us up with their scents and colors next spring!

The snapdragons have dried up and we don't know what to do with the little black seeds? Do freesias bulbs lie inert in the ground? The cold is about to knock on the door: let's not be caught unprepared! Let's learn how to keep what remains of plants and flowers alive and see together how seeds and bulbs can be stored for the new season. Here are some tips for your vegetable garden or garden!

How to treat seeds
First of all, whether it is flowers, fruit, cereals or vegetables, in any case, as the most ancient treatises on agriculture and gardening teach, the seeds to be preserved must be chosen from strong and vigorous plants, they must be well made, not wrinkled, of a beautiful color. They must also be mature and healthy, so that they can be maintained for the next sowing.

The seeds must then retain the ability to germinate, and here it depends on the plants: some last longer, others lose it immediately. Almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts, for example, lose it after a year. Other seeds in general, after two or three years the cereals generally keep it for a long time. The primrose seeds must be sown immediately, as soon as they are ripe, those of lily within a few months of harvesting, those of lupine even a few years later. The seeds of the rose, then, can doze for a few years before germinating. In short, it depends! In summary, it can be said that large seeds are preserved well for a long time, small ones less easily, with no food reserves, and oil seeds.

Whatever the duration, it is certain that the capsules containing the seeds or the seeds themselves must be dried in a cool and shady place, never in the sun, so as to complete the maturation little by little. Some, to keep them even better, suggest washing them first, letting them dry and then sprinkling them with quicklime, chalk and ash, so as to protect them above all from animals. The seeds must be stored in cool, dry, ventilated places (too much heat makes them lose their energy and their germination energy very quickly), so as not to ferment and not to be affected by insects. The best thing is to put them in a paper bag, on which you write the name of the species, a note on the variety and the date of collection, and then collect them in a wooden box.

Here's what to do with the bulbs
First of all it must be stated that the bulbs must be removed or not from the earth depending on the type of plant, soil and climate in which they are found. In general, early flowering bulbs, or those flowers or plants that bloom in late February or early March, can be left where they are, such as daffodils, tulips or irises, for example.Those that bloom in early summer, such as gladioli, Liliaceae or reeds, fear the cold and may freeze, so it is better to remove them from the ground in autumn, or leave them in pots in a cool and dry place, such as the garage or the cellar, without watering. For these flowers you don't have to wait long from the moment of withering and yellowing of the leaves to collect the bulbs or move them to a cool and dry place. Begonias fear frost and absolutely must be unearthed in the fall, as soon as the intense cold arrives. The bulbs are extracted with a transplanter and left to dry in a cool and shady place before putting them back inside, sheltered, until the following spring. The common fruit boxes are ideal for containing bulbs to be stored, since, being ventilated, they avoid the appearance of mold.


The garden on the balcony must be prepared to face the winter and the coldest months in complete tranquility: here are the gardening tips to take care of aromatic herbs and your potted vegetable garden!

The potted vegetable garden will bear many fruits even in winter: in fact, everything you sowed in October will grow without problems even in the coldest months, despite rain, cold and snow. But what to do with all the other plants in your garden on the balcony?

First you need to thoroughly clean all the plants that have given you fruit throughout the summer: collect and remove the dry leaves and those fruits that have not been able to reach maturity. Eradicate plants that cannot withstand the winter season (such as zucchini and tomatoes) and use their soil for sowing winter plants, first proceeding with adequate fertilization.
Plants that, on the other hand, manage to stay alive without bearing fruit must be protected: the ideal is to create a protective filter on the ground with a mulch that saves the earth from freezing. This procedure is especially useful for aromatic plants: mint and chives, however, must be pruned up to a few centimeters above the ground and then protected with a layer of straw or earth. In this way, when spring returns, they will bloom again.

Finally, get some non-woven fabric under which you can store the pots of plants to protect them during the most rigid moments.

Finally, pay attention to the exposure of your balcony to the sun: before the big colds arrive, move your plants to this area, so as to give them a better chance of survival.

OCTOBER: gardening work in the garden, in the vegetable garden and at home

Vegetables are harvested such as: Envy, Sugar Loaf, Cut Salad, Fennel, Broccoli, Cabbage and Turnip, Celery, Radish. In case of particularly mild climate, the last courgettes, pumpkins, tomatoes and cucumbers also ripen and the last late potatoes are unearthed. The remaining tomatoes and courgettes must be harvested and put in a sheltered place to finish ripening.
When the night frosts begin to arrive it's time to pick carrots, celery, giant parsley, leeks and cabbage. Broccoli and sugar loaf can stay outdoors longer, few are better able to withstand the cold.
Apples and pears reach maturity, it is important to pick them carefully, without bruising them in order to put them in the pantry. In some areas there are also the last raspberries and the last strawberries and towards the end of the month the quinces and the delicious walnuts.

The aromatics
In October, many of the aromatic herbs are planted. (Oregano, Tarragon, Lemon balm, Mint, Romice, Sage, Absinthe, Artemisia,, Lovage.

The soil must be hoed, cleaned of weeds and mulched. No crop residues must remain in the already harvested flowerbeds. Hoe the soil until it is even and prevent snails from finding hiding places. Before the arrival of winter only heavy soils will have to be digged sometimes by turning them into large tufts.
The organic materials collected from pruning and last crops should be piled close to the compost to be able to work and mix them together in the future.

The period of planting of some fruit plants begins, in the planting holes you can put apple, pear, cherry and plum trees. The period is also favorable for currant, raspberry and gooseberry plants.
Perennial species are placed in the flower beds and will bloom the following spring. Asters and Chrysanthemums and many of the herbaceous plants can also be placed in place. The bulbs of spring blooms are planted such as: snowdrops, bells, crocuses, muscari and more than rooster, daffodils and tulips. Camellias and Olenadri can live safely outside because they tolerate the cold better.

Before serious frosts arrive, it is good to store all the plants in pots and balcony plants that are more delicate in the shelter or at home, to allow them to overwinter. Usually these are geraniums, lantana, agapanthus, plummet. Remember that it is better to store in the house too early rather than late.
All the houseplants that had been placed outdoors must have already returned at night, and around the middle of the month even during the day, the temperature changes can already be sudden.

Geraniums: cultivation and care

The common geranium is a rather widespread houseplant in our country. In reality it is a plant whose original familiarity is to be found in South Africa, in a strain called Pelargonium, a perennial plant designed to withstand wind, aridity and sunny and poor soils. The difference between geranium and Pleargonium is that the former has a ground cover habit and can grow well in full shade, although it loves half shade.

There are 250 species of geraniums, with infinite varieties. Those grown in pots, typical of our homes, have been divided into groups that reflect the different types of development of the plant itself.

Once you know the species of geraniums to which ours belongs, here are some tips to keep it always beautiful and lush.

As mentioned, the various species have been grouped according to their growth characteristics. The main groups of geraniums are therefore:

Zonal geraniums
So called because its leaf is divided into three color zones, due to a dark green or bronze spot in the center of the leaf itself. This geranium is bushy, can exceed one meter in height and has roundish leaves, with a light down on top.

It blooms between May and October. The flowers have 5 petals, 3 curved downwards and 2 erect. The colors of the flowers vary between dark red and white, including various shades of pink.

Zonal geranium can grow on any windowsill or balcony, but it must be well ventilated and sunny. The zonal geranium can be grown in the open ground in Southern Italy or in Liguria, where it does not have to fear very harsh temperatures.

Miniature zonal geraniums
This type of geraniums stays under 50 cm in height and is therefore suitable for places where there are space problems.

Dwarf, which does not go beyond 12.5 cm in height from the pot
Mini, which does not exceed 20 cm in height from the pot
Rosebud, with narrow petals, similar to small rose buds, which can reach 50 cm in height from the vase
The leaves are small, the vegetation is reduced, but the flowering is abundant. It blooms in mid-spring to late summer. The flowers come in all colors and can be single or double.

Ivy geraniums
Its difficult name is Pelargonium peltatum. It is commonly called ivy geranium because of its five-pointed, shiny and fleshy leaf, very similar to that of ivy.

Ivy geraniums have a herbaceous stem and a thick, branched crown, and can reach a height of one and a half meters. It is the most common on the windowsills of houses: it blooms in abundance from spring until after the beginning of autumn. The flowers can also be bicolor.

Ivy geraniums should not be exposed too much to the wind, which could break it, but it can adorn the walls with its cascades of flowers from windowsills and balconies, or it can cover the sunny racks.

Imperial geraniums
(or azalea geraniums due to the size of the flowers). Their name - difficult - is Pelargonium Grandiflorum.

They are called imperial because the flowering appears worthy of an imperial court: spectacular, very dense, lively, with a large bush that spreads throughout the foliage from the center.

It can reach a meter in height and has coarse leaves, with fluff, but very fragrant. The flowers can reach 5 cm in diameter and can be not only two-colored, but even three-colored.

It should be placed in a shady and cool position, so as not to wilt the leaves it is usually used as a single plant or in flower beds.

The heat prevents the imperial geraniums from blooming again: it blooms in mid-spring, but if treated with potassium-based fertilizer, they could bloom until the beginning of summer.

Fragrant geraniums
These are geraniums with fragrant leaves. They vary in height from 20 to 60 cm. The fragrant geraniums do not tolerate the cold very much, so they grow well in milder places to cover very sunny, almost arid areas.

The fragrances of the leaves can be:

Fruity, lemon, peach or strawberry
Pungent, pepper, pine resin, nutmeg, mint
With the scent of rose
Planting of geraniums
When is the ideal period for planting geraniums? The answer is early spring, paying attention to the latest frosts. As a precaution, it is necessary to wait for a night temperature around 10 ° C.

If the plant needs to be transplanted, the advice is to wet it first, so that it does not suffer a transplant crisis due to a sudden transition from drought to excess water.

Ideal soil for geraniums
Geraniums have strong roots and therefore can grow in universal potting soil. However, the ideal soil is the one specific to this plant, and it is:

Very porous
This is because the roots expand a lot and the excess water must drain.

Where should it be placed
It will have been deduced that potted geraniums should be placed outdoors, possibly in the sun or in partial shade. They must be withdrawn indoors only in winter, if you live in areas with very low temperatures.

If in the ground, the geraniums will still go in a sunny position and for winter protection it is necessary to take some precautions which will be discussed later.

In particular, southern exposure is recommended.

If it is an imperial geranium or a young or newly transplanted plant, or if the afternoon summer temperatures exceed 30 ° C, a South-East exposure is recommended.

Otherwise it is necessary to intervene with shielding or shading: it is in fact necessary to protect the plant, in particular the buds and its color, from too much light.

Insufficient light, on the other hand, may not favor the appearance of flowers, leading to the formation of a large amount of leaves.

If we intend to place geraniums on balconies and terraces of second homes, for example at the seaside, we choose varieties of prolonged, late flowering, in order to still have fresh flowers and new buds even in late summer.

Care of geraniums
Despite all the variations and differences that exist between one species and another, the treatments to be given to geraniums are the same for each type and are all equally important to keep them healthy and strong, as well as beautiful.

Plant care is divided into three fundamental actions:

topping and cleaning
To these it is necessary to add the care in the position to be dedicated to the plant, in the choice of the suitable pot and in any protections for the more rigid seasons, which in the case of geranium, are the winter ones, since it resists summer dryness due to its origin.

To keep geraniums healthy:

The humidity must be constant
However, water stagnation must be avoided
The water temperature for bathing the geraniums must remain between 18 and 20 ° C
The water to bathe them must possibly contain little limescale
If you leave the water with which you bathe the geraniums to settle for at least 24 hours in the watering can, the geranium will benefit: just fill the watering can immediately after using it and reuse it only the next day or the next time
Wet the geraniums in the evening: the drops of water on the leaves could act as a lens with the sun and burn them. Daytime irrigation causes immediate evaporation of the water in the hot sun
The foliage must remain dry: the leaves, if wet, can favor the onset of fungal diseases
In winter, wet once a month, so as not to dry out the earth.
For the potted geraniums:

In spring, it is sufficient to wet them every 2 or 3 days
In summer it is necessary to wet every day
For geraniums in the open ground:

Even in summer it is sufficient to wet it every 2 or 3 days, as the roots will search for water deep in the soil
How and when to fertilize geraniums
The newly purchased plant already has everything it needs. But after 20 or 30 days, she will need help. Get a fertilizer, preferably liquid to be absorbed first by the plant, which has a balanced supply of nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus.

Administer the fertilizer every 12 or 15 days, after the first 20 or 30 days of purchase. Before feeding the fertilizer, moisten the soil of the geraniums to avoid burning the roots.

Cleaning and pruning
In order for the plant to remain healthy and luxuriant, it must be periodically cleaned and pruned:

Detach the withered flowers at their junction with the stem
Remove all dried leaves with the petiole
Remove dried, deformed, diseased or broken parts, to keep the hair clean, take light and develop better
Trim the apex of the geranium branches, to facilitate the opening of the lateral buds and have a branched plant with many flowers
Protect geraniums in winter
In winter, some protection operations are necessary for the geraniums. In the meantime, it must be pruned to lighten it, leaving the basal branches at a height of 10 cm, the vases must then be placed on a support and not left on the ground.

Then move the geraniums to a bright and cool place, but whose temperatures do not fall below 3-5 ° C even at night, as soon as the night frosts begin and the outside temperature drops below 5-6 ° C at night.

If the geraniums are in the ground, it is necessary to:

Cover the roots with straw
Cover the leaves with a plastic sheet
When the night frosts end, in spring, bring the geraniums outside and sprout the branches by a third.

Main diseases of geraniums
Geraniums can also get sick and the causes can be different. When we buy one, we take care not to see the signs of any of these diseases if the plant arrives with remote delivery services and shows signs of disease, immediately run for cover to cure it, perhaps even taking it to the nearest nursery.

Rots: if the collar of the basal leaves turns brown, it means that the leaves are rotting due to excessive irrigation.

Remedy: remove the rotten leaves and reduce watering
Rust: If the underside of the leaves is filled with brownish-red spots and the plant deforms, rust is present.

Remedy: treat the plant with fungal fungicides, recommended by a nurseryman
Gray mold: If the leaves and flowers are covered with a gray patina, this is mold

Remedy: remove leaves and flowers covered with mold and treat the plant with fungicides
Virosis: if light mosaic spots appear on the leaves, the plant is seriously ill and must be discarded.

Prevention: administer products against aphids and parasites
Tips for buying geraniums
When you go to the nursery to buy geraniums, you need to pay attention to some characteristics of the plant you are about to buy. It must be:

branched well, starting from the base
rich in leaves and buds

collar and leaves should not have brown, yellow or spotted areas
the stem must be deep green, tender and not too strong, which indicates that the plant is young.
More suitable pots: buying advice
The pot in which a geranium plant is placed is also important for its growth. A vase is needed:

Large enough to allow the plant to develop its rather voluminous roots well
Of a color between green and natural terracotta: the color of the pot can affect the level of heating of the roots, the lighter ones cause too slow root development, while the darker ones heat the soil too much
With holes in the bottom, to drain excess water, because geranium cannot stand water stagnation.
The vases must then be placed 30-40 cm away from each other.

Do not forget to get saucers because the plant must drain excess water and for a matter of cleanliness and general hygiene, it is therefore necessary to avoid pouring out of the pot.

How to care for succulents

Succulents can decorate our home bringing a touch of elegance and nature. They adapt to any environment and luckily there is no need to have a green thumb to take care of succulents! These must be irrigated only in summer because by mid-November most of the succulents will have to receive the last irrigation. The only exception is the Lithops, that is, those succulents that are in full bloom between November and December. These plants are native to the arid territories of southern Africa and should be moderately irrigated until the end of flowering. In cold periods, succulents should not receive water, they absorb it from moisture and any water intake would cause rot.Succulents should be positioned south of the house, perhaps on a well-lit window sill and away from humidity.

The natural habitat of succulents is characterized by often very cold and dry winters, therefore many succulents enter a state of vegetative rest that will last until March. It is for this reason that succulents can withstand very low temperatures without serious damage. However, not all succulents are so resistant, others need more care, for example those originating in the tropical belt such as Epiphyllum, Hoya and Hylocereus do not tolerate temperatures below 13 ° C. These plants need shelter for the cold months, they cannot be outdoors, they must be kept indoors in a position as bright as possible but not on the windowsill because they must avoid direct sunlight. Taking care of these particular succulents is more demanding because they will not have to be irrigated but the aerial part will have to be sprayed every 4 days.

Winter plants and flowers

Flowery winter, how to do?
Even in winter it is possible to have flowered balconies and well-kept gardens, the important thing is to know the varieties most suitable for the cold season and the specific attention that these species require.

The camellia, a flower symbol of elegance (not surprisingly the most loved by Coco Chanel), has numerous winter variants that require relatively little attention, with very narrow leaves that contrast with a vaporous and overabundant flower. If you want a cloud of white flowers in the middle of winter, choose Camellia oleifera. It does not like heat but not even harsh and freezing climates, the ideal place to plant it is undoubtedly close to other plants, perhaps even on a veranda, where the climate is cool but not directly exposed to outside temperatures. Here even the direct sun and the wind will filter only partially, allowing you to enjoy your camellia.

Here is another plant that loves harsh climates and should happily spend the whole fall and winter with you. You can use it as a hole filler in a slightly bare flowerbed, or keep it in a vase. Be careful not to water it too much: it cannot stand the earth that is too wet, therefore, you could add pebbles to the earth, so that it does not compact and a draining effect is ensured. The sunny area of ​​the terrace is suitable as a habitat, here it should also withstand frosts. In case of sub-zero climate for a prolonged period, protect it with non-woven fabric.

Winter roses and Christmas roses

Impossible to leave out two plants that bear in their name the queen of flowers, the rose, even though they are not part of the same family. The rhododendron, which in Greek means rose tree, is a shrub that resists externally throughout the year and, in its earliest varieties, already blooms between January and February. Hellebore, on the other hand, is also called Christmas Rose due to its flowering which can be concomitant with the holidays. Once its ideal place has been identified, hellebore does not require too much care, and can be maintained even from one year to the next. You can choose between white and purple hellebore.

Provided you have a very large garden, and can plant it far enough from the foundations of the house, the tulip tree is ideal for those who want to have an ornamental plant that resists the cold and that really fills the garden, in all areas. seasons. The Liriodendron, this is the scientific name, can reach a height of 30-40 meters, and produces flowers similar to tulips, of a color that varies between light green, yellow and orange. It resists ice and low temperatures, ensuring leaves and flowers even in the middle of winter.

How to make an avocado plant at home

The collection of houseplants, if you have one or if you want to start it, can easily be enriched with something new - in an economical way starting - from fruit seeds, for example peaches, dates, citrus fruits and even avocados. To get a plant from an avocado seed you can proceed as follows.

Insert three wooden toothpicks, one third of their length, into the tender part of the avocado seed obtained from a ripe fruit. This operation serves to facilitate the exit of the roots. The toothpicks should form 120 ° angles to the seed.

At this point, fill a glass jar large enough with water and, using toothpicks, place the seed on the mouth, making sure that the water is a couple of centimeters away from the seed (the lower part of the seed must not sink into the 'water). After about 6-8 weeks, thick white roots will appear at the base of the seed.

It's time to take out the toothpicks and repot the seed. The container can be a common pot (choose a beautiful and ecological one), the ideal depth is 6-8 centimeters and the soil must be soft and have a good organic composition. The ideal location for this stage of growth is a bright, warm and humid place. A shelf in the bathroom or near the fireplace are good locations, perhaps where you already grow your succulents.

After a short time you will begin to see a single stem from which large dark green, elongated and oval leaves branch off: it is your new avocado plant that Keep in mind immediately that the plant develops very quickly and therefore must be repotted every year.

When the plant is around 20-25 centimeters tall, cut off the tip to encourage more seeds to grow. The same process can be used to create other plants from other seeds.


Have you gone on vacation but haven't forgotten your garden and vegetable garden? If you have carefully followed the tips for watering the plants during your holidays, you will have a good chance of finding all the live plants: if you have been careless, the first step is to eliminate everything that has dried up during your absence!


Collect the last tomatoes and salads: before the great cold, also collect all the aromatic herbs from the garden, dry them or use them for an aromatic salt or flavored oil to be used all year round.
Gather ornamental pumpkins from your garden and let them dry in the sun before using them as a centerpiece.

Then fertilize the soil properly and prepare sowing for parsley, radishes and spinach. Throughout the month of September you can still have fresh salad leaves from your garden. Instead, for the winter, start transplanting onions, garlic and broccoli: cabbages and savoy cabbage are also perfect for winter crops, which however require a certain amount of space.

In areas with a more rigid climate, the most delicate vegetables must be protected. Eggplants, beans, peppers, tomatoes, courgettes must be covered with non-woven fabric sheets. We carefully take care of the ventilation of the cultivation environments, to avoid excessive thermal rises, still possible during the day, and high humidity, the main cause of any rot.

Perhaps this is the corner of the garden that most attracts our attention. Cut off raspberry branches that have already fruited, blackberry bushes need to undergo a rather radical cut. Plums, the first pears and apples are harvested.

Soil preparation
Many vegetables have been harvested, weeds develop unhindered, let's take care to give the soil a protective cover for the winter. The simplest method is mulching fallen leaves, semi-dry compost, seedless weeds, vegetable crop remnants or chopped straw.

This is the optimal time to sow valerianella, spinach, turnip greens, onions, and purslane, but also watercress, radishes and salads.
It is the ideal time to sift the mature compost that we will need to prepare the soil for sowing and for the autumn fertilization, mixing with compost of bark, sand and possibly earth from the garden. Now it is also a good idea to turn the ripening compost over, and then leave it undisturbed until spring.

A modest presence of insects and fungi should not worry, conversely, a massive infestation is generally due to errors during cultivation practices. Prevention is naturally based on the creation of an optimal environment for the cultivated plant which favors its self-defense. Another strategy is to encourage the creation of an ideal environment for the antagonists (spiders, insects, toads, birds, bats).

After the harvests it is good to start with the tillage, with a good plowing and digging and the burying of the manure. everything will be ready for a new beginning of the life cycle.

Even in the garden, the first thing to do is to collect all the dried flowers and leaves that have accumulated during your absence: do not throw them away but use them to create a nutritious compost for the plants.

Begin to decrease the amount of water you use to water the plants, and sharpen the gardener's scissors: the period of pruning for fruit trees begins, but only proceed when the temperatures have dropped!

This is also the ideal time to create cuttings: you can make cuttings of rosemary, mentao di sanseviera! Finally, let the flowers in your summer garden give the last signs of life and get ready to choose which flowers to replace them with if you want a flower garden even in winter.

The last touch for your garden is to choose winter flowering bulbs: also begin to get everything you need to protect the plants from the winter cold, better always be prepared for sudden drops in temperatures!

They are still in bloom: Petunias, Begonias, Zinnias, Dahlias, Asters, Remontant Roses, Hydrangeas, etc. The lawns regain the brilliance they had lost in the summer period, they are mowed more rarely and the grass is left cut all over the lawn to form a light layer of organic substance that will protect the carpet during the winter.

Shrubs and hedges
The last pruning is carried out which stimulates the formation of new wood so that it can reach a certain consistency before the frosts.

Flowering plants
The greatest care should be given to the last flowering plants, watering them carefully. We also proceed to the multiplication by cuttings of some species such as: the Calceolaria and the Pansy
spring flowering annual plants such as: Alyssum, Centaurea, Godetia, Papaver are sown. You have to get bulbs and rhizomes of plants that bloom in spring. Some varieties of Lilies are planted.
Chrysanthemums require frequent blossoming to favor the formation of a single terminal flower.

Use ash as a fertilizer

Using ash as a fertilizer is a very old practice. It is in fact a natural product that respects the environment and which, at the same time, provides nourishment to the soil thanks to potassium, phosphorus and many other precious elements. So here's how to use the ash and what should be avoided.

Nutritional principles of ash as a fertilizer
In the ancient methods of agriculture, the practice of burning some sections of the forest and then subsequently cultivating the new areas that had been fertilized by the ashes was widespread. The ash, in fact, is a natural fertilizer and the fact that it then returns to the ground is part of the cycle of nature. In addition to burning tree trunks and branches, ash can also be obtained from pruned branches, herbs and dried leaves.

Among the nutritional elements contained in the ash, the most important are potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. Certainly the quantity and quality of the nutritional elements contained in the ash depend on what is burned to obtain it: age of the plant from which the wood was obtained, plant species, environment in which the tree or plant that were used grew.

Before spreading the ash on the ground as fertilizer, it is also very important to pay attention to some warnings such as:

-Use only ash derived from burning wood, the origin of which is traceable

- do not use ash derived from burning wood that had been painted, as the ash contains toxic and polluting substances

- scrupulously check that together with the firewood there are also no plastic components of various origins as they would pollute the ash

- do not use hard coal ash which may contain nickel, lead, chromium, aluminum

- do not use charcoal ash of different composition (at the limit only charcoal ash, called charcoal, which is similar to wood ash), but it is preferable to use only wood ash.

The ash represents the final result of a sort of natural cycle:

- the tree, through its roots, first of all absorbs all the nutrients from the soil

-through water, the tree absorbs other nutrients

- all the elements absorbed by the soil and water are accumulated in the wood of the trunk and branches of the tree

- when wood is burned, the fire produces fumes through which oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, sulfur are dispersed and ash is produced

- the ash obtained from the wood of the burnt tree contains many nutrients to be returned to the soil using the ash as a fertilizer.

The use of ash as fertilizer is also allowed in organic farming (EEC Reg. 2092/1991) as long as it is obtained from wood that has not been chemically treated in any way after killing.

Ash as a fertilizer: how to use it

The ash can be used as a fertilizer in various ways as a basic fertilizer and must be distributed on the ground before it is dug up or before sowing or transplanting. It can be distributed around trees or bushes of hedges or even around bushes, for example, of roses.

In the case of isolated trees, the ash must be spread evenly over the entire area of ​​land that is covered by the tree canopy and which generally corresponds to the underground area occupied by the roots of the plant.

If, on the other hand, you want to use the ash as a fertilizer to fertilize hedges or bushes, it must be distributed on the ground along the row of the hedge starting right from the area around the base of the plant. In this way it will create a sort of carpet as long as the row of the hedge or shrubs and for a width up to between 60 and 80 centimeters.

As for the amount of ash to be used, generally at least 20 kilos of ash (in any case not more than 25 kilos) must be used for every 100 square meters of soil to be fertilized: it must also be considered that to obtain 25 kilos of ash it is necessary to burn more or less 5 cubic meters of wood.

If not all the ash produced is used, it can be stored in some metal containers sheltered from rain and wind.

The art of bonsai

An ancient technique
The art of bonsai has its origins in China, with a subsequent improvement in Japan. Already the literal translation of the Japanese term bonsai 'planted in a flat pot' indicates the basis of this ancient technique: obtaining miniature plants with all the characteristics and proportions of normal plants. To succeed in this aim, it is necessary to observe the trend of the trunk and the arrangement of the branches and leaves of the chosen species in its normal growth.

At the basis of the art of bonsai, therefore, there is the choice of the most suitable style which also proves to be the most difficult part for those who want to approach this technique. Let's see together five of the main styles among the more than thirty available to choose from.

Formal upright style. The image to be recreated is that of a tree growing on a low hill or in the plain. The trunk is erect, the branches are large and the foliage is abundant.

Informal upright style. The shape is that of a tree which due to atmospheric and natural causes has the trunk more curved in different points with the branches growing outside these curves. The foliage is thinned out in the lower part and thicker in the upper part.

Cascade style. It reflects a tree grown on a rocky cliff which, due to its weight, has bent its trunk downwards. The crown, therefore, grows below the level of the pot.

Inverted broom style. With its powerful roots it resembles a centuries-old tree grown in the plains with a very thick crown.

Rock style. The tree has grown in inaccessible areas with little soil, which due to the rain has its main roots exposed and adhering to the rocks. A variant is that of the tree grown in a basin in the rock that encloses it.

The main features
Not all plants, however, can receive the same treatment but it is necessary to distinguish between those for outdoors and those for apartments.

Indoor bonsai. The right position for these plants is in a bright place, preferably on a high table or on a shelf, protected from drafts, temperature changes and heat sources. It is always advisable not to place bonsai close to other plants because it is always possible that it will be infected by parasites. Once you have found the perfect location, it is best to avoid traveling. The most suitable species are: ficus, carmona, serissa, ash, apple and olive.

Outdoor bonsai. The needs are the same as the trees that grow in nature following the seasonal rhythms. Therefore, avoid exposure to frost, strong winds and excessive heat. In winter, for example, they will still have to be taken to a sheltered place but with a temperature that is not too high which could be fatal to the plant.The most suitable species are: conifers, broad-leaved trees, evergreens, pines, maples, elms, oaks and junipers.

The first bonsai
Those who want to have a bonsai in their home must start by choosing the right pots. In fact, there are specific pots whose length must be equal to 2/3 of the height of the plant while the depth will correspond to the diameter of the trunk. The material also has its importance, it must be terracotta, porcelain or stoneware.

1. For the first bonsai it is advisable to opt for an evergreen such as a pine or a fir to buy in any nursery. Then, get an earthenware, stoneware or terracotta pot, pruning shears and rake tongs.

2. Remove the plant from the plastic pot and place it on the bottom of the container where you will have to previously prepare a layer of universal soil, peat, gravel and sand. Cover with soil and compact well using your hands.

3. Training pruning begins with scissors, which should be done from the beginning of vegetative rest until a few days before spring awakening.

4 - Eliminate the branches that grow opposite to other branches, the secondary branches that point upwards or downwards and those that cover the view of the trunk.

August works in the garden, vegetable garden, orchard

Those who are passionate about plants and cultivation know it well: there is not a month of the year in which you can sit idle! In this guide we will find out what are the works to be carried out in August regarding the plants housed in the garden, vegetable garden, orchard and from our apartment. Some practical advice and useful tips will allow you not to really miss anything, and to have lush plants in excellent shape all year round.

August works in the garden

In August, the summer now makes its influences felt on all the vegetation of the garden, attenuating its luxuriance due to the intense heat and the scarcity of rainfall. The bright green color that characterized the leaves in spring is now a memory, and the garden in this month comes alive with the shades of different flowering species such as purslane, yarrow, clarkia, daisy, sweet pea, agerato, hibiscus, petunia, begonia, hydrangea, geranium, snapdragon, bougainvillea and many more. It is good practice to remove the flowers as soon as they begin to wilt, to stimulate the production of new buds on the plants and to prevent the energy from being channeled into the ripening of the seeds. Of course, if you intend to collect the seeds to replant them the following year, you can leave some flowers on the plant.

It may happen that in August it is necessary to pinch the vegetative apexes of overgrown evergreen climbing plants such as jasmine, ivy or honeysuckle. Even rose bushes, whether climbing or not, must be pruned when flowering is complete, but only those that are not re-flowering. A pruning is also necessary for the hedges and for all those shrubs and trees that have now faded in order to eliminate the withered parts and stimulate the rejuvenation of the foliage.

The lawn should be mowed roughly every ten days, but being careful not to leave the grass too short a good thickness of the turf, in fact, it protects the underlying soil from excessive drying out. It is also possible to fertilize the lawn with a preferably slow release granular fertilizer. Watering should take place early in the morning before the arrival of the great heat, or, even better, in the evening after sunset in order to allow the soil to remain well soaked in water during the night. It is better to water the lawn abundantly at once, rather than diluting the water in small daily quantities: the soil must in fact be wet to depth.

In August it is possible to plant bulbs of late-summer or autumn flowering plants in the open ground, such as some types of narcissus, autumn flowering crocus, late gladiolus, colchicum, fritillaria, sternbergia and anemone. The bulbs that have now finished their flowering must be dug up carefully to avoid damaging them, and carefully brushed with a brush in order to remove the soil. These are then placed in wooden boxes filled with sand or sawdust, placed in a cool and dry place awaiting the moment of their transplant in the following spring.

August is still a good month to multiply by cuttings different types of plants such as geranium, pelargonium, hydrangea, heather, rose, ineris, dianthus, berberis, petunia, honeysuckle, hibiscus, daisy, hydrangea, clematis, star of christmas and fuchsia. Once cut, the cuttings must be placed in an appropriate culture medium and the containers must be placed in a shady place and away from excessive heat. Irrigation is essential to prevent cuttings from drying out, since they do not have a root system and are therefore extremely sensitive to water shortages.

For garden plants it is necessary to check the mulch placed in the previous months in order to prevent excessive drying of the soil. In fact, it may be necessary to add compost, straw or shredded bark, or to rearrange the mulching sheets if they have moved.

If the weather permits, in August it is also possible to carry on with the work to be carried out in September: for example, you can start working the soil of the flower beds and the garden, preparing it for the autumn plantings that will soon have to be started.

August works in the garden

In August it is possible to continue harvesting many types of vegetables, which finally repay the effort of the work carried out in the previous months. In fact, in this period tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, aubergines, onions and spring onions, carrots, cucumbers, peas, leeks, pumpkins, cauliflowers, broccoli, chilli, parsley continue their ripening, but also tasty fruits typical of the summer season such as melons and watermelons. . It is important to continuously check the supporting ties of tomatoes, peas, green beans and other climbing plants, which can prostrate themselves on the ground due to the excessive weight of their fruits. The potatoes must also be tucked up, taking care to pile up the soil close to the stem of the plants in order to stimulate root growth.

All the plants in the garden need plenty of water to withstand the typical heat of this month: this is why watering must be regular but never excessive. If possible, the water used should be at room temperature to avoid causing thermal shock to the plants, so you can use bins for collecting rainwater to be placed in the garden.

In August it is possible to proceed with the sowing or planting of vegetables to be harvested during the autumn season. In this way, the productive potential of the garden can be fully exploited, continuing the harvest season even in the following months. The plants that can be planted or sown are white cabbage, cabbage, turnip, chard, radishes, white onion, autumn fennel, cabbage, catalonia chicory, spinach and different varieties of salad (lettuce and chicory, late radicchio, valerianella, rocket ...). It is good, especially in the north and in the hill or mountain regions, not to delay sowing the autumn and winter harvested vegetables as with the arrival of the first cold weather, their life cycle may not be able to complete.

Preferably by the first half of August it is still possible to transplant vegetables such as leek, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels cabbage, fennel, savoy cabbage, early radicchio, curly endive and escarole, catalonia chicory, late cabbage, lettuce and pan salad in the open field of sugar.

Those who own greenhouses in their garden must regularly wet the soil, in order to avoid the spread of parasites such as red spider mites, this operation is essential especially if the weather conditions remain hot and dry for several days. Towards the end of the month, the days begin to shorten significantly, therefore in order to ensure the right internal lighting it is good to remove the protective screens or shading sheets placed in the previous months from the walls of the greenhouse. Doors and windows of the greenhouse must be closed at sunset to retain internal heat: temperatures at night could in fact begin to drop too low.

Weeds that grow in the garden must be promptly removed, preventing them from blooming and multiplying further. This is necessary to prevent weeds from stealing nutrients and water from horticultural crops.

In August, fertilization must be carried out using slow release products, which allow the plants to be sustained for prolonged periods of time. These products must contain little nitrogen, which unnecessarily stimulates the growth of the vegetative parts of the plant, but in proportion a lot of potassium which, on the contrary, stimulates the growth and enlargement of the fruit. Natural fertilizers such as guano, compost or mature manure can also be used, which must be buried with a light hoeing or irrigating the soil.

August works in the orchard

In August the harvesting of fruits such as plums, peaches, apricots, figs continues, started in the previous periods, in this period also some early varieties of pears, apples and table grapes begin to ripen. It is good to harvest the fruits only when they are fully ripe, starting with those positioned on the outside of the canopy up to the innermost ones. Harvesting should be done during the cooler hours of the day, at sunset or early in the morning.

In this month it is generally no longer necessary to resort to treatments with antifungal products, while it is always good to continue with the defense against parasites (mealybugs, aphids, spider mites ...) and the various carpophagous insects (carpophagous, cherry fly, cidia, oriental moth. ...) that can settle in the pulp of the fruits, making them inedible.

In August, fertilization must be carried out using products capable of providing good amounts of potassium to stimulate fruit swelling, and proportionately less nitrogen.

Irrigation in the orchard should be gradually decreased in intensity starting two or three weeks before harvest.This reduction leads to an increase in the sugar concentrations in the fruit pulp and, at the same time, ensures that the nutrients supplied with fertilization can be entirely absorbed by plants.

Towards the end of August it is possible to carry out summer pruning on fruit trees such as apricot, kiwi, cherry, peach and currant, preferably when the days are hot and dry so that the pruning cuts can heal optimally. This operation is extremely advantageous, since it allows to eliminate the new jets emitted by the plant, useless in this phase of life, increasing the chances that the plant will bear abundant fruit in the following year. This pruning can also be able to correct any mistakes made during winter pruning, hinders the proliferation of fungal colonies and rot, and moreover the removal of part of the crown improves the ripening of the fruits positioned in the innermost areas.

As for the grafts in this period it is possible to graft, according to the dormant bud technique, some varieties of fruit plants such as citrus, peach, pomegranate, persimmon, quince, apricot, cherry, plum, apple and pear, but also the vine , walnut and almond, as well as wild varieties whose bark can be easily removed.

August works on indoor plants

In August, all the houseplants have now been moved outside, on the balcony or in the garden, or (if this is not possible) they are placed near windows in very bright positions.

Green plant leaves should be regularly wiped with a soft cloth dipped in warm water in order to remove the accumulated patina. This is not a mere aesthetic operation, but a fundamental step to allow the leaves to "breathe" and exchange gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) with the atmosphere.

For those who own bonsai, August is a fairly quiet month, attention must be focused on the exposure of the plants, which should be kept in the shade during the hottest hours of the day. In order to ensure the homogeneous development of the canopy, the pots should be rotated periodically by a quarter of a turn, thus allowing the sun's rays to have their beneficial effects on the entire vegetation.

It is good that the bonsai are watered regularly but never excessively, as a water stagnation in the pot could lead to sudden defoliation, asphyxiation of the plant and root rot. In this period, bonsai could be subject to the attack of powdery mildew and different types of parasites, which must be fought promptly by using antifungal and pesticide products.


it is not that difficult to grow some new roses from cuttings. I will show you a method that has proven very effective. Here are the items you'll need for this DIY project:

• sharp knife
• pruning shears
• 2L plastic bottle
• larger plastic bottle (also that of detergents as long as they are well washed, I used that of bleach)
• powdered hormone
• Earth (not peat)

see the steps described step by step in the photos below.

Organic garden

It would be nice to have healthy and genuine vegetables grown according to organic farming methods at hand. This is possible thanks to the organic garden, which requires experience and commitment, but at the same time offers tasty products that are good for health.

Would we like to have the guarantee that the salad or the strawberries you eat have not been treated with pesticides and that they are really products of nature at so-called zero km? Well, the answer to this desire is there: it is the organic garden. But what needs to be done to be able to cultivate an organic garden? What precautions do you need to take and what are the products that are easier to grow even if you don't have much experience in agriculture?

Today, through the Internet or thanks to books or courses, it is possible to learn the basics of creating your own organic garden with salad, green beans, aubergines, courgettes and many other vegetables that embellish the table and everyday recipes.

So let's see what are some of the most useful information to know in order to choose the best part of the land, evaluate the size of the garden, learn about the various stages of processing and work tools.

Characteristics of the organic garden
A vegetable garden, to be defined as organic, must be grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.

Therefore only natural products must be used and not so-called synthetic products and it is necessary:

treat the soil and the plants themselves only with organic fertilizers such as, for example, compost, poultry, manure, peat or compost
sow a wide variety of plant species
fight diseases and parasites without chemicals.
Fighting diseases and parasites in a biological way

To avoid using products with chemicals to combat plant diseases and pests, it is important to put into practice precautions that hinder their formation:

alternate the types of vegetables planted, rotation in fact hinders the formation and proliferation of specific parasites of some plants
try to cultivate some varieties whose cycle does not coincide with the life cycle of the specific parasites of that type of plant in a given season
use other parasites, not harmful to plants, which can counteract the arrival of parasites from the cultivated plant, for example planting hedges near the vegetable garden to ensure that there are small insectivorous animals
choose disease resistant and robust varieties or the so-called tried and tested old vegetables
use fire or water to fight weeds or weed them out by hand
if anything, use only natural insecticides such as vegetable maceration, pyrethrum or fungicides based on sulfur or copper.

Characteristics of the land for the organic garden

But for an organic garden, must the soil have particular characteristics? How should it be chosen? First of all it is very important that the ground is exposed to the sun and that it is at the same time protected from the wind. It is advisable to analyze the soil to evaluate the composition of the soil and to verify the ph of the substrate. The soil analysis can also be useful to ensure that no agents harmful to health are present.

Once the most suitable soil has been chosen, it must then be plowed by removing the stones and crumbling any clods of earth that are present, then carefully eliminated all the weeds and grasses which can then be harmful as they steal nutrients and water from the ground.

To sow it is necessary to make small holes or furrows in the ground leaving an adequate distance between the individual plants which will then grow over time and will thus need space to receive enough air, water and light for healthy growth.

The depth of the furrow or hole naturally depends on the type of seed that is planted: for example in the case of large seeds the hole must be about 3 or 4 times the size of the seed itself, in the case of small seeds it will be sufficient to drill a lot of holes. small and shallow.

The seeds, once inserted into the soil, are then covered with a thin layer of earth.

The plants and the ground must be watered using a sprayer or the one called "shower", that is, it is important that the water falls gently on the ground in the form of small drops. For very large gardens it is preferable to resort to irrigation systems.

In winter it is advisable to water early in the morning as it could freeze at night, while in summer it is better to water in the evening because the soil and plants are not exposed to direct sunlight.

Garden care? No, of the balcony

Your green corner of summer

Advice on the care of flowers and plants

With the arrival of heat, the desire to take care of our balcony plants is triggered, even those who do not have an outdoor space will be able to free their green creativity by setting up balcony flowers in the best possible way. Let's see some tips to give color and harmony to our summer green corner.

Balcony plant care

A small balcony facing the street, even if small in size, can become a showcase for our home and also a place to sit and relax, perhaps with a good book. Even a small space can contain more green furniture than we think, flowers, plants, vines or vertically developed gardens. The right care of the garden will allow us to have a charming green corner that is always bright with colors.

Important, before starting, remember that safety is also important, plants and installations, especially if they hang outside the balcony, can be very dangerous and must be secured. There are also laws that regulate this issue, so it is better to organize an adequate fastening system and also pay attention to irrigation because the drips could cause problems for neighbors and passers-by. Also remember to maintain order and cleanliness of the pots and structures, avoiding that the plants grow too large and create the impression of neglect.

Furnish the green corner with style

If we have a little more space, we can also think of some furniture to make the green corner particularly decorative. Better to opt for beautiful, but also practical solutions that resist weather conditions well and are easy to clean and store. A small outdoor breakfast table and nice chairs, or one or two deck chairs, will suffice.

Those with a particularly spacious terrace can choose a comfortable chaise longue to accompany a vintage-style parasol. Little space? Don't worry, a comfortable cushion is enough to create a small ethnic corner at home to combine with wicker pots and plants with an exotic charm.

In the choice of plants there are many variables, we will have to try to evaluate if the space is particularly windy, if it receives rain, if it is exposed to direct sunlight or if it is always in the shade. We will be able to choose small plants, with a narrow trunk but capable of providing a pleasant flowering at the apex. Along the perimeter of the terrace we can place small shrubs to create a sort of frame that will welcome the flowers. Let's not forget plants such as geraniums or lemon verbena which will help keep the most annoying insects at bay.

For resistant and low-cost solutions we can choose some perennials such as ferns, boxwood or ivy to decorate the walls and develop the green space vertically. With these plants we could create a green base, a frame on which to place the seasonal decorative plants. To get a beautiful summer flowering we can focus on the many varieties of petunias, verbena, marigolds or fuchsias. Without forgetting the seed plants as the true symbol of summer, the poppy, able to color the terrace with its bright shades.

Snails: eliminate them in the garden and in the vegetable garden

Those who are passionate about gardening and especially horticulture are familiar with snails and the damage that these gastropods can cause to crops and ornamental species. These voracious little animals are stubborn and often difficult to eradicate, but in this guide you will find numerous tips and advice for a fight - both natural and with chemicals - that guarantees effective results.

Vegetable gardens and gardens are often the home of unwelcome guests: terrestrial molluscs belonging to the class of gastropods, with or without shell, which are commonly referred to as "snails". In reality, to be precise, there is a precise distinction: "snails with shells" are called snails, while those "without shells" are actually slugs. For simplicity, however, in the rest of the guide we will refer to these gastropods simply as 'snails'.

Snails, due to their eating habits, are particularly harmful both in the vegetable garden and in the garden: these terrestrial molluscs in fact feed on leaves, flowers and green portions of plants that they encounter on their way. In addition to the fact that they eat practically everything, these animals are also extremely voracious and in the course of a single night they can completely destroy a crop or a flowerbed, since they prefer the tender and green parts such as leaflets.

In the case of newly sown plants, the massacre can be total, while even in the case of plants already of adult size, the defoliation can be such as to compromise the survival of the plant. Even if the attacks are not massive, the snails still leave behind them chewed leaves and ruined plants, which in a flower garden are not exactly the best from an aesthetic point of view.

Typically, snails are active in periods with mild temperatures and a humid climate, such as spring (from April to June) and autumn (September-October) but their presence is also felt during particularly rainy summers. Among the vegetables most subject to snail attacks we find spinach, basil, all kinds of salads, cabbage, courgettes, asparagus, spinach and strawberries just to name a few, and many ornamental varieties of flowers and plants.

Noticing the presence of snails is quite simple not only because of the unmistakable chewed leaves (or completely devoured plants), but also because the adults are clearly visible and usually appear towards the evening hours. In fact, during the day it can happen that the temperatures are too high for these organisms that suffer from drought and heat: during the cooler nights, however, the snails wake up and are particularly active.

Even if it was not possible to see the specimens directly at night, the mere identification in the morning of the typical strips of silver slime is overwhelming proof of their presence. On the other hand, it is more difficult to notice the presence of real reproductive colonies with hundreds - sometimes thousands - of small newly born gastropods.The colonies are usually located in very humid, shady and cool places such as holes in the ground, clusters of weeds and twigs, layers of mulch, areas under pots and saucers, sheets and piles of stones or horticultural materials left on the ground. Since each snail can produce as many as 400 eggs at one time, it is important that the broods are identified and eliminated.

Natural methods for fighting snails

Snails, surprisingly, are not only greedy for vegetables but also for… beer. Therefore, a system of fight against these molluscs consists in preparing traps containing beer to be disseminated in the vegetable garden and in the garden. These 'household' devices are very simple to set up: it is enough to half-fill a glass or tin can with beer and dig a hole to a depth that allows the edge of the container to remain at the same level in the ground. This artisanal but very effective trap should be placed in the evening and collected the next morning. The snails, crawling along the ground, are attracted by the scent of beer and fall to the bottom of the glass, from which they are then unable to emerge, and drown.

In case of particularly massive infestations, a plastic bottle (that of water or soft drinks, so to speak) can be used instead of the glass, to be filled with larger quantities of beer. The bait must be replaced every two days, so that the appeal due to the scent maintains its effectiveness. It seems that snails (just like humans!) Prefer particular beers over others, so to find the optimal type of beer to use ... you have to go by trial and error.

At shops specializing in gardening and horticulture, it is possible to find special belts with a salt cover, which can be arranged around crops or particularly valuable flowerbeds, or here and there among the garden swaths. Snails have a body in which the percentage of water is very high, and passing above the salt strip this, by osmosis, tends to draw liquids from the gastropod cells. In this way the snails can literally be "dehydrated" and led to death generally these animals do not manage to crawl above the salt, as this works as a repellent. This method is natural and effective, but at the risk of meteoric events: the rains in fact dissolve the salt making the strips ineffective. The same happens with watering when the water accidentally ends up on the strips. Furthermore, the salt that is washed out in the soil can be phytotoxic for plants and reduce their growth.

Another good way to protect plants from snail attack is to sprinkle the ground with substances unwelcome to these gastropods such as, for example, coffee grounds, hydrated lime, wood ash (not cigarette!), Sawdust or shells. of pulverized egg. Using these natural products it is possible to create borders around newly sown crops or garden plants: snails will not pass over these materials, to prevent them from sticking to their body and dehydrating it. Even rough and abrasive materials, such as conifer bark or chipped wood, can keep delicate-bodied mollusks at bay.

Snails are greedy for vegetables, but not for all: they do not tolerate plants such as chervil, mustard, wormwood, thyme, hyssop, sage and nettle. These species can be planted to create protective barriers, or by placing their cut leaves here and there on the ground as a deterrent to snails and slugs. Excellent repellent and completely natural products can be prepared by macerating chilli or absinthe, and distributing these preparations on the ground.

It is possible to get rid of snails by exploiting their natural predators: for example, palmipeds like ducks are very fond of these molluscs, so if you have the opportunity, you can think of leaving some specimens free to roam in the vegetable garden or in the garden. The ducks themselves, however, can feed on some plants (such as salads) so, to prevent the remedy from being worse than the damage, it is preferable to keep these animals under control. Another problem is represented by the fact that snails are nocturnal, while ducks have diurnal habits: often the two animals therefore struggle to come into contact. It seems that above all a variety of palmipeds is suitable for hunting snails: these are the Indian Runner Duck, greedy not only for gastropods but also for insects, parasites and larvae and therefore perfect for organic crops that do not include the use of chemicals. Other natural enemies of snails also include chickens, hedgehogs, rodents, birds and small reptiles such as lizards.

For those who have patience (and for gardens and gardens of reasonable extension) it is also possible to make night raids equipped with a flashlight going in search of snails and removing them by hand, one by one. If you are not particularly inclined to hunt in the dark, it is possible to hunt down the snails even during the day, going to look for them in the protected areas where they prefer to take shelter. In this case it may be useful to place, in the evening, wooden planks or wide and flat plastic lids near the plants usually attacked by snails: with the arrival of dawn, these animals will tend to seek refuge in areas close to those nutrition. Since the snails move at an average speed of about 0.05 kilometers per hour, they will prefer to find shelter in areas as close as possible and this is how it will be possible to collect them in large numbers.

It is also possible to buy the so-called "snail barriers" in shops specialized in gardening and hobby and from agricultural consortia, which are placed on the ground to form a fence whose peculiar characteristics prevent snails from climbing over. These barriers can be solid and made, for example, of plastic material or galvanized sheet metal, or be formed by nets whose height is usually between 80 centimeters and one meter. The lower portion of these barriers is buried for a few centimeters deep, in order to close all the potential passageways of the snails at the top there is usually a sloping edge, turned outwards, which prevents the gastropods from climbing over the barrier.

It goes without saying that, before placing these protective barriers (or immediately after) the fenced area must be freed from the snails present with a carpet operation.

Chemicals against snails

In the case of large plots of land, or when snails are present in concentrations on the verge of real invasion, it is possible to resort to chemical formulations. These snail-killing products can also be toxic to pets, not to mention children, so their use must be extremely precautionary and requires some expertise. Better to leave it alone if you are not an expert in handling these products, and especially if the situation is not so desperate that you cannot resort to more natural and less polluting remedies. The active ingredients on which many of the chemical formulations are based are methiocarb, diazinone and acetic metaldehyde, contained in snail baits to be spread on the ground. These products are often marketed in the form of granular pellets and enriched with substances that attract snails, the baits are scattered on the ground and often have a color (usually blue) that avoids consumption by the birds.

A chemical product, which however is an exception to the above, is iron phosphate, a dehydrating agent that effectively fights snails but at the same time is non-toxic for pets and especially children. This product can also be used in the presence of vegetables ready for harvest, since it does not compromise their health in any way, the iron phosphate also naturally degrades over time, enriching the soil with iron, phosphorus and organic substance useful for plant growth. The snails, after consuming the bait, interrupt their feeding and face death.

Pruning: an introductory guide

To regulate the shape of the plants and determine their correct growth, it is necessary to know how to do a good pruning. To become a good pruner you need to know the needs and typical characteristics of the plant species on which you intend to intervene to prevent the onset of diseases and limit the stagnation of humidity due to excess vegetation, allowing sunlight to filter well into the plant. Pruning, therefore, allows not only to obtain a visual result of great impact, but above all to keep the plants healthy and to favor their development as well as flowering.

The types of pruning that can be practiced on plants are different according to the kind of plant to be touched up and, therefore, also determine different results depending on the circumstances in which the pruning is carried out.

The breeding pruning has the purpose of directing the plant towards a more appropriate form for its species: it is a type of pruning widely used in the nursery in the first month of birth of the plant, to which the topping will also be practiced, which will cause the thickening and the issuance of new twigs. In this period of time it is advisable to administer to the plants specifically formulated products and biostimulants, in addition to the nutritional fertilizer suitable for the growth period.

Another type of pruning, on the other hand, is that called planting, or that carried out at the time of planting the plant: for this pruning some experts claim that it is necessary to prune at the roots and others say that the aerial part of the plant must be pruned. Let's say that, if it is a plant with a nuida root, it is better to eliminate the damaged parts, so if the plant has also suffered damage to the roots it is also necessary to intervene with aerial pruning to make the relationship between the two parts balanced again.

In fact, aerial pruning must always be adjusted according to the age of the plant and it is important not to remove more branches than necessary.Younger plants with few branches should be pruned leaving only a few shoots, while older ones that have many branches should be thinned in order to eliminate the weaker and older branches and shortening the shoots without branching by at least a third of their length.

Maintenance pruning follows very specific rules including that of always eliminating dry or damaged branches and leaves by cutting them at the base. The purpose of this pruning is to keep the plants healthy for a long time, favoring their development and the production of flowers or fruits.
The cutting of some parts of the plant stimulates their replacement with new vegetation and, once the necessary is eliminated, it is necessary to evaluate whether there is a real need for further thinning based on the presence of yellowed or excessively thinned leaves. In these cases it will be better to favor the penetration of sunlight into the damaged areas by thinning out the excess branches.
The cut must be made by forming an angle of 45 ° with the axis of the branch parallel to the axis of the gem, in order to facilitate the flow of water on the cut in the opposite direction to that of the gem. During the cut, it is necessary to avoid the formation of stumps in order to allow faster healing, while to prevent any type of pathological infection it will be better to use healing paste.
Rejuvenation pruning, on the other hand, is necessary when there are neglected shrubs that may have become too intrusive, losing vigor and for which a renewal is necessary, or a pruning that allows a rapid resumption of the vegetative development of the plant. The most suitable period for practicing this pruning is during the winter because in the cold the sap losses are more limited.
The winter period is the favorite for pruning because the plants reveal a greater ability to heal wounds and waste less energy, so it is preferable to prune at the end of winter when the temperature is not too low and there is no risk of frost. Summer pruning consists in the intervention on herbaceous organs, for example a summer pruning is the topping of the shoots in order to favor branching, or suckling, or the removal of pollen or re-shoots or suckers from the roots, from the stem and from the branches .

The equipment suitable for pruning

The most suitable tools to use for pruning are shears, while electric scissors and hedge trimmers are more suitable for hedges with small leaves. When pruning hedges with electric tools, remember to oil the cutting parts during the operation to make them easier.
Tree pruning
Pruning a tree means thinning and reducing its crown. These two operations, in addition to giving the tree a more balanced shape, reduce its wind resistance and the weight of the canopy. Trees require pruning since their growth: in fact, the first step in pruning a tree is to impose the development of a single stem which then divides into various branches.
During the tree formation period, the trunk must be freed of a part of the lateral branches. In general, the lateral branches arise and develop after the implantation when the stem begins to swell, so the cutting of the branches and the lateral shoots must be as close as possible to their intersection with the trunk and must be carried out at the end of the summer and treated with specific products for healing. For maintenance pruning of shrubs, it is better to proceed towards the end of autumn, while for deciduous plants, the beginning of winter is preferable.

The pruning of climbing plants

There are some species of climbing plants that need double pruning, the first in summer after flowering and the second in winter. The initial formation of the plant which determines the base of the branches is important for climbing plants: if you can give a good setting to the branches, you can later also carry out massive and more important pruning. The branches to be pruned must be well away from each other because they need space for new branches.
In general, the lateral branches must be cut more drastically, while the main ones can be simply shortened without too much rigor. Creepers should be pruned before summer if they bloomed the previous winter, while those that bloom at the end of summer should be pruned at the end of winter.

For proper cultivation and aesthetics, pruning is essential in bonsai so much so that it requires specific technical preparation. However, there are some general rules that you can keep in mind if you have a bonsai. First of all, it is necessary to eliminate the new shoots of the bonsai, in this way you can better manage the more tender ones and it will facilitate the shaping of the crown. As for other plants, pruning operations vary according to the seasons, also for the bonsai, moreover the quantity of shoots to be eliminated will depend on the consistency and strength of the plant.
The pruning of the leaves, for example, must be done on bonsai full of branches and the cut must be carried out with specific scissors and only on the central leaves, after a good fertilization and abundant irrigation. Pruning the branches of the bonsai allows the sunlight to filter better inside the plant to make it branch. The branches should only be pruned twice a year, in spring when too long branches are cut, and in autumn, to remove dead branches. The cut must always be made oblique and healed with special pastes. Root pruning is a maintenance pruning and should be done during the transplant phase.

July works in the garden, vegetable garden, orchard and house plants

July: we are now in the middle of summer, and the month of July is undoubtedly the hottest and driest of the year. Scarce rainfall, almost always given by short-term phenomena such as summer storms, and scorching temperatures represent environmental conditions that many plants would not be able to survive without human help. In this month it is therefore necessary above all to provide water to the plants in the garden and avoid excessive drying of the soil, which is not easy, also due to the fact that many leave for holidays at this time.

July works in the garden.

For large gardens it is practically impossible not to resort to automated irrigation systems, but it is possible to reduce the evaporation of water from the ground through the mulching technique, which consists in placing a layer of organic material (straw) around the base of the plants. , pruning cuttings, shredded bark ...), inorganic (such as lapillus) or special mulching sheets (in non-woven fabric, polypropylene or polyester). The presence of this material prevents excessive loss of moisture from the ground, while shielding it from sunlight. Still with regard to soil moisture, it is worth remembering that the lawn should never be cut too short, because a thick turf is able to protect the soil from excessive evaporation.

Hedges, climbing plants and shrubs can be topped if their growth occurs in an excessive or disordered way it is important to continuously remove the weeds to prevent them from stealing energy and water from the plants in the garden.

In July, many of the bulbous flowering species, such as the tulip and the iris, have finished their flowering and it is therefore time to unearth the bulbs. These must be carefully removed from the soil without damaging them, and gently brushed with a brush in order to remove the soil. The bulbs are then placed in a cool and dry place, placed in wooden boxes filled with sand or sawdust where they will wait until the following spring to be planted again in the flower beds. In July it is also possible to plant late summer or autumn flowering bulbs such as late gladiolus, fritillary, autumn flowering crocus, anemone, colchicum and sternbergia.

The month of July is probably one of the best for the propagation of garden plants by cuttings: the chances of success are particularly high for example for roses, geraniums, pelargoniums, ineris, hydrangeas, daisies, fuchsias, poinsettias, honeysuckles, dianthus , clematis and petunias. These cuttings will give rise to rooted seedlings that can be planted in the fall or the following spring. It is essential to place the cuttings in a well ventilated and shaded place, and otherwise water them in order to prevent them from drying out. The cuttings, in fact, do not have a root system, in the first periods they are particularly sensitive to water shortages.

As for flowering plants, in July it is possible to sow species such as forget-me-not, helenuim, nepeta, carnation dei poeti, aquilegia, lobelia, brassica, campanula, violets, alyssus, wallflower, pansy, poppy oriental, daisy, foxglove and gaillardia. In the open ground, however, this month is suitable for sowing marshmallows, beautiful men, cornflower, wallflower, iberis, amaranth, snapdragon, pansy, forget-me-not, clarkia, alyssum, enjoyia and columbine.

July works in the garden

With the month of July, the garden is a riot of color, and after the many waits and patient work of the previous months, it is possible to enjoy a season of great harvests (and satisfactions). In fact, in this period tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines, peppers, cucumbers, beans, peas, green beans, onions and onions ripen, a huge variety of salads (endive, radicchio, rocket, endive, lettuce ...) but also strawberries, melons and watermelons.

In particular, to stimulate the production of large-sized tomatoes, it is essential to remove the 2-3 branches present in the basal part of the plant, as well as proceed with the removal of the buds that develop between the stem and the leaves of the plant. Furthermore, following the formation of the third or fourth stage of tomatoes, the entire apical part of the plant must also be removed in order to "concentrate" the energies on the swelling of the fruits.

To avoid water shortages due to excessive evapotranspiration of plants and soil, it is essential to water the garden regularly, at least every two days, trying to let the water penetrate deeply into the soil. In the presence of soils tending to sandy it is necessary to water more often, since the water tends to move away by percolation, while clayey soils generally manage to retain it more efficiently. It is good to remember to completely suspend irrigation for watermelons and melons for a few days before harvesting, in order to concentrate the sugary substances within the pulp.

In July it is not necessary to carry out large fertilizations, and above all it is good to avoid those rich in nitrogen because they stimulate the growth of the vegetative parts of the plant to the detriment of fruit swelling. For healthy vegetables of good size it is essential, however, to provide fertilizers rich in potassium and phosphorus, possibly hoeing and adding the soil with a little humus. Tilling the soil around the base of the plants is an operation that should be done every three or four weeks: in this way, the growth of roots is stimulated in depth. Furthermore, for vegetables such as leeks, celery, radicchio, various salads and onions, tamping is essential for their bleaching (i.e. the manifestation of the typical light color of the base of the plant) and to make them more crunchy and tasty.

It is essential to continuously check the supports and ties of all those vegetables that need a support for growth, such as tomatoes, beans and climbing green beans or cucumbers. The wind, thunderstorms or simply the weight of the vegetation can cause the subsidence of the supports or the prostration of the plants to the ground.

In July it is possible to proceed with the sowing of practically all the varieties of salad (lettuce, endive, rocket, escarole, valerianella, chicory ...), but also of leek, autumn zucchini, radish, cabbage, turnip, summer spinach, chard, fennel, beets, beans and parsley, which will guarantee an autumn harvest and which are essential to fully exploit the productive potential of your garden. It is important that sowing takes place in a gradual manner, with intervals of a couple of weeks which always allow the harvest of fresh vegetables at the right degree of ripeness.

Particular attention must be paid to the fight against parasites and fungal diseases. In summer, mealybugs, aphids, mites (such as the red spider), the fearsome Colorado potato beetle of the potato (which despite the name also attacks the aubergine and, to a lesser extent, the tomato) and various carpophagous insects (cherry fly, carpocapsa, cidia, oriental moth ...) that settle in the pulp of the fruit. To combat them, it is essential to use special insecticidal products, while avoiding their use in conjunction with the flowering of plants. These treatments should be carried out in the coolest hours of the day, early in the morning or after sunset. For potatoes, in the case of aphid infestations, it is advisable to completely eliminate the aerial parts of the plant.

Irrigation and storm phenomena, combined with high temperatures, create the right mix of hot-humid conditions that favor the development of fungal diseases such as scab, downy mildew and powdery mildew. For this reason, it is advisable to carry out periodic treatments with products containing sulfur, especially after significant storms.

The unstable weather conditions in July can lead to sudden and destructive hailstorms: it is therefore possible to evaluate the positioning of anti-hail sheets in the garden to protect crops.

July works in the orchard

The month of July also gives great satisfaction to those who own fruit trees: in this period the ripening of peaches, apricots, cherries, plums and many others is at the top.

In July it is possible to subject the orchard plants to a green pruning (also called “summer”) in order to eliminate the branches with overly vigorous growth and those that diverge excessively from the shape of the foliage. This operation is essential, after harvesting, for plants such as peach, apricot, cherry and currant. In addition to pruning, it is essential to remove the suckers, that is the branches that develop on stems and branches starting from dormant buds. In July it is possible to carry out the bud grafts on peach trees and vines.

An operation of fundamental importance is represented by the thinning of the fruits: in this way the plant will be able to concentrate its energies in the enlargement and ripening of a small number of fruits, allowing however to have an optimal size crop. For optimal thinning it is first of all necessary to eliminate those small fruits that show alterations such as symptoms of fungal diseases (scab, rust ...) or have been affected by parasites.

Also to be removed are the fruits positioned so low on the plant that they risk touching the ground when they swell, and also those located in the innermost areas of the canopy that will never be able to fully ripen due to poor lighting. Thinning should be done by hand, tearing the fruit with a rotary movement and avoiding damaging the bark, and is essential for plants such as apple, pear, peach, plum, apricot and kiwi. Thinning, on the other hand, is not necessary for lemon, orange, fig, persimmon, almond, chestnut and medlar which naturally lose part of the fruit during the very early stages of development.

July works on indoor plants

In July, of course, if given the opportunity, all indoor plants should be placed outdoors, in the garden or on the terrace, to enjoy optimal air exchange and solar lighting. The vases should generally be placed in partial shade, since direct sunlight can be particularly harmful. An excellent location is under trees, pergolas or high hedges, but also the areas facing north. If the light is too intense, it is possible to place, even just for the summer months, special shading sheets to create the ideal conditions for the plants. Some plants, such as succulents, need exposure to full sun, even for several hours a day if in doubt, it is good to inquire about the requests of each plant in terms of lighting needs.

For those who do not have outdoor spaces, the plants forced to remain in the apartment should be placed in a place that is as similar to the outside as possible: near windows or French doors, for example, where brightness and air exchange are optimal.

The extreme conditions of July require that the watering for the plants be frequent and regular, but without ever reaching the formation of dangerous water stagnations which can cause sudden defoliation, asphyxiation of the plant and phenomena of root rot. For succulents, in particular, it is good to wait until the soil is perfectly dry between one watering and the next.It is also possible to vaporize the foliage of indoor plants, making sure to use distilled water at room temperature to avoid the formation of the typical (and decidedly unsightly) salt deposits on the leaves.

Every 15-20 days it is advisable to provide house plants with a maintenance fertilizer using a special fertilizer for green plants which is very practical and is the solution represented by liquid formulations, which can be dissolved in the water used for irrigation.

For bonsai owners, July is a generally quiet month since the operations to be carried out, if necessary, are limited only to the winding of the new stems and small topping of the vegetative apexes. Most of the time it must be addressed to the protection of bonsai from excessive lighting, even for those plants that normally love exposure to the sun such as juniper, cork and pine. The pots should be kept in a shaded position at least during the central hours of the day, to avoid dangerous overheating of the pot and the root system.

It can be particularly useful, in this case, to resort to shading nets. Regular watering of bonsai is very important in this hot period: for some plants such as serissa, beech and maple this operation must be carried out daily. The early hours of the morning, before the arrival of heat, are the best for watering the plants in the evening, in fact, the temperatures of both the pot and the plant are high and contact with colder water could cause thermal shock. A very practical solution that saves time is the installation of drip irrigation systems.Another widely used method is immersion irrigation, which consists in placing the pot containing the bonsai in a basin filled with water, letting it reach up to the upper edge and the ground gets completely wet.


Roses are easy to grow and very hardy. It is enough to take into account some fundamental elements to obtain good results. They react well to extra attention and care, producing more flowers and becoming more robust. The following is intended to help you make the right choice and to provide you with a brief guide on how to plant and grow roses.

The right time to plant

All the roses listed in this catalog are available bare-rooted from the beginning of November until the end of April. (northern Italy) and March (central and southern Italy including the islands). This is the right time to plant them.

Choose a place where the sun comes in at least a few hours a day and where the roots do not compete with those of other plants, especially trees. The exception to this rule is ramblers, which grow well close to trees.

Distance planning

If enough space is available, English Roses, Old Roses and other bush roses look stunning when planted in groups of three of the same variety. That way, they will grow together and border. We recommend planting roses from the same group at a distance of 50cm and 1m away from nearby varieties.

Understanding the type of terrain

It is possible to grow roses in various types of soil, but for the best results it is always advisable to carefully prepare the conditions. In fact, with the addition of generous amounts of well-macerated fertilizer or garden compost and bone meal before planting the roses, you will have luxuriant growth.

Planting of roses sold commercially and economically (bags and small pots)

When the roses arrive, try to plant them as soon as possible and don't let the roots dry out. before planting the roses, place them in a bucket full of water for 10-15 hours. Once planted, the base of the stems must remain approximately 7.5 cm below the ground. If it is not possible to plant them immediately, the roses can be stored in a cool but not freezing place, in the sealed bag or box, for no longer than two to three days.

Fertilize, mulch, water

Fertilizing them, covering them with abundant mulch and giving plenty of water helps for strong growth with more flowers. For more information see page 103 for fertilizer. Mulch them in the spring using rotted manure or garden manure.

To keep roses healthy, choose disease-resistant varieties and treat them as best as possible. Too much blue can be susceptible to parasites and disease. However spraying them occasionally helps, the best time is early in the season before symptoms develop. Beware of frosts at night when you spray them which can severely ruin the leaves.

How to prune your roses

It is a very simple operation. In Great Britain and in countries where winters are quite mild, the best time is January or February. In areas with cold winters, pruning should be postponed until spring growth begins. In all plants, eliminate weak, old and woody, dry or diseased branches.
English Roses and other shrub varieties with repeating flowering should be pruned between 1/3 and 2/3 but only lightly thinned (dashed line 1).

Bush roses (Hybrids of Tea and Floribunda) should be pruned between 3/4 and 1/2, pruning only the oldest and largest stems.

Non-remontant shrubs do not prune or prune lightly, no further
1/3 (dotted line 2).

Climbers - prune the stems that bloomed the previous year, leaving only 3 - 4 buds, or to a height of about 15cm by tying the sturdy stems.
Allow rambler varieties to propagate freely, unless you need to delimit them. If necessary, tie up or prune old stems.

'Releasing' the roses means removing the withered flowers. This encourages repeat flowering and keeps the roses in good order. Remove the withered flower, or prune the stems to the first complete leaf.

In the garden June it is the month of colors, most of the plants are in bloom or have already prepared the buds, it is therefore essential to guarantee the right degree of humidity and the right doses of fertilizer. In most of the garden we will have, already in March-April spread the slow release fertilizer, or the manure, which continue over time to maintain constant the quantity of mineral substances contained in the soil for potted plants, or in any case for all plants. that we have not fertilized, it will be important to provide fertilizer by mixing it with the irrigation water, every 12-15 days. Watering must be regular, especially if the temperatures are very high and the climate is dry, we avoid watering the garden in the hottest hours of the day, we prefer the early morning, or in the evening, in order to prevent our watering from evaporating quickly under the scorching sun. The lawn must also be watered regularly and abundantly, and especially if it is newly planted. The high temperatures and the many hours of insolation make evaporation quick and constant, especially with regard to plants grown in pots, so remember that it is not necessary to water every day if we provide little water, which evaporates quickly. Correct watering in June is also provided only every two days, however it is carried out by thoroughly wetting the soil, especially that contained in the pots if the pots are very dry we can even immerse them in a bucket of water, to allow the substrate bread. around the roots to rehydrate completely. In the garden, after watering, we should be able to find water at a depth of about 15-20 cm if this is not the case, in a short time the soil will return dry and dry, leaving the roots of our plants in an arid climate . Remember to water the succulents in June too, letting the soil dry out completely between one watering and the other.

Treatments: The summer months make treatments quite difficult, in fact most of the plants are in bloom, so it becomes difficult to distribute an insecticide without disturbing or killing even beneficial insects, such as bumblebees and bees. So let's avoid using insecticides in the garden during the day, when the bees roam the flowers. Fungicides will also be used in the evening, when the sun goes down on the horizon. As well as to avoid disturbing the beneficial insects, the treatments must be carried out in the cool hours of the day also to prevent the products vaporized on the foliage from evaporating quickly, creating a "boiling" effect on the leaves.


Do you want a corner of your garden to become a small garden full of vegetables and aromatic herbs? Here's what you need to do!

A vegetable garden in the garden is truly something precious: not only will it make your garden greener, but you will have the satisfaction of reaping the rewards of your labor!

The vegetable garden in a box is the perfect solution for those who have very little space but do not want to give up a vegetable garden! In fact, a fruit box is enough to create a small vegetable garden to put on the balcony!

Get yourself a wooden or plastic fruit box, a jute cloth, (the reusable bags, not the disposable ones, the real supermarket shopping bag are made of woven plasticized jute and that's fine because it allows the water to flow). plastic sheet, some soil and if you want on the bottom of the gravel or the expanded clay you need and some plants

Cover the bottom of the wooden box with the jute bag and then cover it with the plastic sheet. Secure the sheets to the box with a stitch shooter and make holes in the bottom with a knife in order to allow the soil to drain excess water.

Then spread a consistent layer of expanded clay on the bottom and cover it with a layer of soil. Then take the plants that you have chosen and that you have left to soak in the water for a while, and evaluate how to place them in the box.

With a shovel, dig a hole to make room for the plant and place the seedlings in the center of the hole. The height of the clods must be equal to that of the ground. If you have also chosen tomatoes, they will need a brace to be able to grow.

Place it in the sun and water it regularly, preferably in the evening or away from the hottest hours of the day.


Growing potatoes without having a proper vegetable garden is very simple. You can grow them in a pot, in a burlap sack or in a bin, but also in a shopping bag, which is resistant, waterproof and reusable. In this way you can have excellent potatoes grown without pesticides and that are not afraid of the attacks of any parasites present in the garden.

The idea of ​​growing potatoes in a shopping bag comes from the Thompson & Morgan project, which proposes a kit consisting of some sprouted potatoes, compost and a real waterproof and resistant shopping bag, like the ones we can find easily in any supermarket.
At this point it will be enough for us to have some sprouted potatoes available. We can use them whole or divide them into several parts according to the number of shoots present. From sprouted potatoes, new plants and new tubers will be born.

Here's how to go about growing potatoes in a grocery bag. Open your waterproof bag and fill the bottom well with compost. Keep filling the bag at least halfway so that the new potatoes have room to develop. Then arrange the potatoes well spaced from each other and cover them with more compost. Water abundantly. During the growth of the seedlings, gradually add the new earth, in order to support them and favor the development of the tubers. He obtained new potato seedlings whose leaves will be a beautiful bright green color.
When to harvest potatoes? It is very simple to identify the right time for harvesting, which must take place when the plants are now withering away. There are those who wait for them to dry completely and for the leaves to turn yellow. At this point, all you have to do is cut the plants at the base, overturn the shopping bag and harvest the potatoes. Reuse the soil for the flower beds in your garden and the shopping bag to plant new potatoes. Plant the potatoes starting in early spring. Gear up and try!

Lunar sowing calendar for vegetable garden and garden

Sowing calendar 2014: for each month of the year tips for sowing, planting,

transplanting and pruning of orchards, vegetable gardens, lawns and gardens.

Sowing with the correct moon (waning or growing) for vegetable gardens and gardens.

The climate and the light of every period and month of the year for a correct and profitable cultivation in organic farming.

the lunar calendar to remind you when to sow or transplant plants that grow over the growing moon,
and when to sow those that develop under the waning moon.

FULL MOON (waning)

sowing and transplanting root vegetables cut construction wood

prune trees in full force, prune

carry out bud grafts remove the scions collect bulb fruit and vegetables (onion, garlic, shallot ...)

FALLING MOON - Choice of sowing for vegetable garden and garden

Sowing: Salad, chicory, fennel, onion, cucumber, leek,

parsley, thistle, tomato

Transplants: garlic, shallots, onions, potatoes.

FIRST QUARTER (ascending)

sow fruit and leafy vegetables but not those that tend to go to seed (such as lettuce and spinach)

prune weak trees (ideal for the New Moon)

collect medicinal herbs

collect fruit vegetables (beans, peas, lentils, soybeans, corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, courgettes, courgettes.)

picking root vegetables (beetroot, turnip, carrot, radish ...)

perform split grafts

(sowing of cereals, flowers, fruit and leaf vegetables, except those that go to seed such as lettuce and spinach, cutting firewood, pruning weak trees, splitting, harvesting medicinal herbs and vegetables from root and fruit)

CRESCENT MOON - Choice of sowing for vegetable garden and garden

Sowing: Beans, peas, broad beans, celery, cabbage,

How to prune tomatoes or what does the seedling consist of?

Checking the tomatoes consists in removing, with fingers or scissors, the sprouts that are formed atleaf armpit, that is, at the intersection point between the main stem of the plant and the secondary branch. I'm "jets"That must be removed. If these "sissies" or "cacchi"They leave, they become very large and branch off, removing vigor from the main plant and tomatoes remain smaller. There are those who even in remove "the sissies", transplants them obtaining a tomato plant equal to the mother plant.

Tomato flaking

The use of the Bio Aksxter ® natural fertilizer increases the elasticity of plant tissues and the turgidity of axillary jets simplifying their removal and, allowing faster healing, avoids the possible entry of pathogens. This allows you to optimize it as much as possible vegetative development of tomato plants which, ultimately, is expressed in a better balance in terms of the relationship between plant mass and fruiting obtained.

The sissies they must be removed before they reach 3 cm in length e chess must be carried on throughout the vegetative cycle.

Removal of the females

Not for nothing are they called "bastards", 2 days are enough not to look at them and here are how many pop up ready to suck the lymph useful for the growth of new branches and leaves rather than for the formation of fruits!

When is the removal of the seeds carried out?

The sooner you do it, the better. The smaller shanks can be removed with a finger. It is recommended to wear gloves. Larger leaves, on the other hand, should be removed with a sharp knife or scalpel so as not to damage the plant. The blade is previously disinfected. Be careful not to cut and damage the stem or branches. Therefore, it is good to check tomato plants as regularly as possible. Axillary shoots are removed regularly and as often as possible.

Video: Tomato plant suckering and topping nctomatoman July 2 2011