Planting Food, Beauty And Relax | Valentina Cirasola | Author and Designer

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

Yesterday was a beautiful March day, I wanted to take advantage of the sun, the warm day and my good disposition. It was the right time to think of planting seed for new food. In many European countries is still snowing in March and is the same in Italy, but here in California, in the climate zone 7 and 8, March is the perfect month to plant. My family in Italy is getting jealous!

March is the right time to start feeding houseplants again and repot when necessary. Get the soil tested if you are planning to do some serious food and fruit trees planting. This is the month to start seeds indoor, prune trees and shrubs and get all the garden tools ready for your Spring planting. If you have wet soil in the garden, it is better not to walk on it, use stepping-stones. In my garden, I have many rows of them around plants and vegetation, they are  decorative and don’t get your feet wet or dirty.

I started with Turbo onions, which is a lovely round onion that stores well and the Red Baron red onion, strong-tasting which produces a heavy crop.
I planted shallots, a more delicate onion, which I use more for fish dishes and some other delicate dishes. I want some asparagus and started some crops indoor, such as aubergines the kind called Diamond, originated in the Ukraine. It crops relatively quickly from a sowing in March.

Started cauliflowers, cabbage and tomatoes. Tomato seeds also do well indoor. I got the gartenperle type, small, cherry size, sweet and tasty, grow in beautiful colors as pink-red, deep ruby-red, pink to rosy red. They are great for containers and even hanging baskets. I make a lot of fast and delicate sauces with them. Tomatoes are always a big surprise, they either come out in overwhelming large quantity, or nothing at all.

In mid March plant some early potatoes if the weather where you are permits it, I will.

I bought a few packets of mixed salad-leaf seeds, can’t do without salad in my garden, it’s so easy to grow and need not much care. Put a few seeds on to the surface of your compost and don’t cover them with a thick layer, they need to breathe.

Towards the end of March when the soil has warmed up, I will want to plant some climbing French beans. I have already prepared the soil and placed cane poles in place. Later I will make two holes at the base of each pole and a couple of seeds per hole. Then, I need to be patient.

Between my food I also plant some beauty. Some begonias, dahlias, dusty miller, geraniums, impatiens, marguerite daisies, marigolds, all annuals to beautify my crop.

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

Photo ©Valentina Cirasola

While thinking of food crop, I was also thinking of cooking in the garden. I made a very simple outdoor cookery device out of a clay pot and bricks.
No cement or mortar, the bricks are just laid one on top of the other in a circle, the clay pot sits inside of the circle. Inside of the pot more bricks form a flat surface for the wood chips and a grill sits on top of them. Food will be placed on the grill. A clay cover with a whole in the center to allow the steam to escape will keep the food cooking for long time.

This is slow food at its best and I am prepared for relaxing weekends, a good time for writing more books and more blogs, or having some friends over.
I really don’t care what goes into my car, but I really care what I put in my stomach.
Please leave a comment below, I can help you with any of your design challenges, including landscape too. I now offer design consultations on-line and without going outside my office I can create an “outdoor room”  for you, or the most beautiful space of your dream.  Ask me for details. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

Valentina Cirasola has been in business as a designer since 1990. She has helped a variegated group of fun people realizing their dreams with homes, offices, interiors and exteriors. She designs artistic landscape as a complement to the residential design concept as a unity. Author of three books available on:
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

 


A Tango In The Garden | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

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Lately, I have listened to the music of Miguel Del Aguila, a new exploration between contemporary classical chamber music and Latin popular folks styles, played mostly with a clarinet. His music has been my inspiration in creating a Valentine’s garden this year, where I want to find a new style of warm and descriptive passion of love through tropical plants, succulent plants and colorful flowers. To achieve that and to get colors that sing at me, I want to reproduce the colors of the Argentinean homes, colors put together without any rules. However, this is still February, days are short and in most places cold too, not much grows in this month, but if I want to enjoy flowers in a few months from now I must plant the kind of dancing beauty now in February. Planting beautiful flowers early allows more growth time for a healthy root system.
(Photo: La Boca Buenos Aires)

Sweet Alyssum can be planted in February in a sunny spot; this species likes not soggy soil, blooms in pink, purple and white. It is a fragrant flower.
Sweet Pea flowers are good to plant a month before the last frost date. Place a net over the seeds to protect them from birds and snails. They are very colorful and can be used for cutting to bring inside the home.
Marigold or Calendula is an annual plant, good to plant in February, but it will bloom in June and up to the next frost. It blooms in yellow, orange, apricot and cream.
Euphorbia, graceful curving stems with loads of tiny flowers blooms in February. Not all colors are available at the same time, consult with your nursery.
Gentiana, a long-lasting trumpet-shaped flowers with straight stems.

I like my February to be bursting in colors with tulips, narcissus, daffodils, crocus and freesia, therefore I made sure these bulbs were in the ground no later than November and now they really sing at me!

In warmer climate zones plant Strawflowers in the family of daisy flowers. They produce yellow, red, pink, orange or white flowers with papery petals. The cut flowers dry well and they do well in flower arrangements. Like petunia and verbena, Strawflower likes lots of sunlight, but protect them from any February frosts. These are flowers that grow and bloom profusely if planted in February, and they continue to look great until late May.

February is a time to do a variety of chores in the garden: harvest winter crops before they bolt; begin to divide perennials; plant bare root roses and fruit trees; continue planting cool season vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, kale, lettuce, onions.

I wanted to share some of the ideas I have for my Valentine’s garden, hopefully they will be good for your garden too, but whatever you choose to do, remember to add music in your garden as if you are directing an orchestra, do that by using colors freely and not in a structured palette. Music is one thing flowers and plants like very much. On the other hand, you can connect music speakers concealed in fake rocks made of resins, light weight, easy to carry and play that Tango music around your plants. They will reward you with beauty.

Miguel Del Aguila says “life without music would be an error”, I agree. After you plan a Valentine’s garden, take your love for a twirl of Tango. Happy Valentine’s day.

As the professional who is always ready, I shall be prompt and ready to help you with any of your needs, whether it will be decorating, designing, remodeling, or planning your outdoor rooms. Place your name in the box below, leave a comment and I will answer you in within 24 hours. Ciao,
Valentina
www.Valentinadesigns.com


Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

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Valentina Cirasola is an interior designer, in business since 1990. She helps people realizing their dream spaces in homes, offices, interiors and exteriors.
She will guide clients in planning gardens with design concepts, selecting hardscapes, plants and accessories. No land assessment.
Check out her books on
Amazon: http://goo.gl/xUZfk0
Barnes&Nobles: http://goo.gl/q7dQ3w

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