Monday, 6 October 2008

Winter vegetables - English and Italian

When I got to the allotment today, Joe (56/58) was planting garlic and Joe (86/87) was planting red onions.

When I passed latter Joe, he told me I should be earthing up the fennel plants he gave me, or they would bolt.

I asked him again which of the winter lettuce he'd given me were which, because by now I was completely confused, and he pointed them out patiently and gave me their names. I turns out I've got them all wrong.

Anyway, it explained why the "lettuce" I tried the other day was bitter - it's name is cicora, i.e. chicory. The red one is cicora rossa. He says they develop hearts like lettuce. There is another chicory which I have, which he says you must dig up and transplant deep at the end of this month, because it has a big root (I guess this must be the chicory they make coffee with).

Later on, he brought me two lettuces in a bag and said, "Try them, see which one you like." One - the frizzy one - is scariola - the other, I think, is cicora.

In contrast, I had the first of my winter greens yesterday - a couple of miniscule cauliflowers and the first sprouts.

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