I’ve been here for almost a month of a 6 month project working in conjunction with culinary school. It’s been so busy, I’ve only just had time to write!
Well.. What a place. I am situated amongst a beautiful landscape and surrounded by an estate over 5 times the size of Hyde Park!
So initially you may think that working in the Mediterranean will be all sun and games! Well I’ve arrived in the wet season and there has been a high diversity within weather patterns and have seen all sorts; from lovely bright sun, to high winds, storms and a smuttering of snow!
There are various aims within the project. The main one is to strengthen the connection between horticulture, in growing quality produce, with the kitchens, producing fine Sicilian cuisine.
Making others aware of how food is grown with how it will be used is so important here. The Anna Tasca Lanza cooking school is developing on the essence of Sicilian cuisine with the principle of ‘Cook the farm’ a development project I am helping work on which will begin in 2016.*
Within the vegetable garden, they are keen to mix in colour, using both edible and ornamental flowers on the site and are interested in developing the use of companion planting techniques.
On the ornamental side, herbs are mixed with other low lying ornamentals, which are left to creep and sprawl amongst the shrubs and roses, with the idea of providing ground cover to preserve soil moisture and structure during the dry season.
I’ve been busy sorting out a lot of seeds and began sowing a range of crops under glass which require a little more heat than can be provided outside- even in Sicily!! Tomatoes and chilli peppers have been a priority as they are used a lot here, and have sown over 25 varieties- it should make for interesting viewing when they fruit later in the year.
Elsewhere, I am just continuing to familiarise myself with the site as I continue to develop on the plant audit as well as a tackling some of the rose pruning!
* To find out more you can visit http://bit.ly/1wdVhbO