Monthly Archives: September 2012

Saffron flowers will arrive soon

Cari ortolani,

Since most garden chores are coming to an end at this time of the season, unless you’reImage into fall/winter planting, or getting your garden ready for a cover crop, there is still saffron to tend to. Yesterday, before the rain arrived, I surf-grubbed my saffron patch to aerate the soil and broadcasted an organic fertilizer 5-10-10 in anticipation of the corms sprouting and the flowers to appear – for more details on growing saffron in Connecticut, ready my article on the fall issue of Edible Nutmeg.

If you’re not presently growing this spice, do yourself a favor and buy a dozen corms to get started. The White Flower Farm, Fedco and other fine retailers have it in stock, but don’t wait too long because they run out, or ship you an inferior product. Another idea is to wait a little longer and purchase corms when they go on sale. At times you can save up to 75% of the original price when they begin to sprout, although at that stage the quality is marginal.

I hope you’ve harvested seeds from your favorite heirloom plant and have stored them in a cool, dry area. This year I collected seeds from about 12 organic/heirloom vegetables, 6 types of tomatoes, in which 2 were on grafted rootstock; hot, red and yellow peppers; Chioggia beets; kohlrabi; Turkish eggplants; banana melons; onions; garlic (bulbils and seeds); carrots; broccoli; Egyptian onions; Welch onions; beans; garlic chives and a bunch of endive, escarole and common lettuces. I have a new dynamite lettuces called Mastrinella given to me by a dear friend in Italy and Canasta, another non-bolting type, which I have sown and will be protected with row covers until late November, the rest will be transplanted into the cold frame to keep us from buying lettuce all winter long.

This Saturday I will start my workshop and the topic is COLLECTING VIABLE ORGANIC SEEDS.

Ci risentiamo,

Nick Mancini The Organic Italian



Organic is the Way to Grow


Cari Ortolani,

While visiting my former home in Italy, I was pleasantly surprised that returning to organic growing fruits and vegetables is the new order of the day, in fact, towns and cities in that community and throughout the region are furnishing compost bins to all citizens, and everyone is Imagegetting onboard.

At first I assumed that everyone had purchased their own bins, but soon realized that they all had the name Ocre (the name of the commune) and a number, and one of my childhood friends, Arnaldo Corona, he told me that they are free.

My next question was if they sprayed their fruit trees with any type of pesticide, whether synthetic or organic and the answer was almost synonymous “if I want poisonous fruit I would buy them at the store”.

I visited several gardens, and to my surprise, since there is lack of water during the summer months and the soil is not too fertile to begin with, they were able to collect rain water and store in large containers. No fancy tools, irrigation systems, expensive trellises or other unnecessary equipment, they rely on experience passed down through generations that always brought bountiful yields, year after year.

So, my fellow gardeners, learn how to garden properly instead of relying on the internet for solutions that may or may not help your particular problem. Take a course in organic gardening at the adult education program of your town or city, or from a private workshop to learn the correct way, which will save you money, time, energy and elevate you above other gardeners.

 Sempre Avanti, eternal giovinezza,

Nick Mancini, The Organic Italian