Sunday, June 1, 2014

Castiglion Fiorentino - Outer Cathedral Garden

         IH: On Tuesday May 27th, my horticulture class and I decided to go outside the classroom into the field. Right outside the cathedral bell tower, Dr. Lombardini showed us the gardens that the citizens of Castiglion Fiorentino had cultivated. Among the many vegetables that grew in the garden included potatoes, cabbages, and garlic, just to name a few. The most noticeable plant we saw happened to be the olive tree, where we learned that they could possibly be up to a few hundred years old and beyond! Even though some of the plants we saw were ancient, there is always something out there trying to kill them. 
         In the picture above, you see a bluish/green pigment that is actually not part of the plant; those colors were sprayed on using the chemical called copper sulphate. This spray is actually something that protects all the plants in the area from a special fungus that would devour the greenery in the area. This fungicide has positive and negative effects on the plants but mostly is an overall good thing for the cultivation of the plants. Farmers are always trying to fight off disease and plagues wherever they are; one problem that Italy experienced in the 1850's was a bug that was brought from America to Italy. This bug nearly wiped out the wine industry, but thankfully by using grafting with American grape vines as the base the problem was solved and the industry saved.
         I learned a lot on this excursion outside the classroom. Realizing how fragile a lot of plants are was really eye opening to me and that cultivating plants is a lot tougher that just digging a hole and watering them. I hope that I can keep on learning more about Italian horticulture and how it may help me in my future. 


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