When we bought La Petraia 14 years ago and planted our first orto we were warned about growing root vegetables. “Don’t bother” they told us, “those won’t grow here”. Petraia means “place of stone” in Italian and the prevailing wisdom was our rocky soil would be inhospitable. I was heartbroken. I adore potatoes. And turnips and parsnips and beets. So I stubbornly proceeded to plant my roots. But it seemed they were right. Our first crops of potatoes were tiny and our harvests were meagre. The carrots were woody, distorted and tasted bitter. The beets bolted and parsnips didn’t grow at all.
Then, I discovered Maria Thun’s biodynamic planting calendar and began to sew all of our crops on appropriate days for leaves, flowers, fruit and roots. Ever since then our root vegetables have grown beautifully and abundantly.
Here’s a look at today’s harvest….