Savor Life – 5 lessons from the orto

” Grow your Life from the Heart ” 


lessons from the orto

Lessons from the Orto

Do you grow your own vegetables? Up until we started growing our own food I never actually realized the lessons from the orto would make a difference. That the food would taste was so superior to any I had ever eaten.

Having just now shared the first bright red tomato from our garden I can honestly say I’ve never tasted anything like it. We picked the first three of many tomatoes and bought them into the house as if they were the most precious jewels. Sliced with a sprinkle of salt and eaten just as they came from the vine……delicious.

Being a suburban Aussie girl I didn’t grow up with a farming background like Sam did, our first veggie garden was in our backyard at Strathpine in Queensland along with six chickens, we were an oddity in our neighborhood. I still remember how excited Carina was to reach in and gather her first egg, now we take fresh eggs for granted.

Spending time in our ‘orto’ has been a learning curve, I love the lessons I am learning. To help inspire you these are my five favorites:


lessons from the orto

Lessons from the Orto – Weeding is Relaxing

I never thought I’d say this but I love the late afternoon after the rabbits and chickens are fed and I get to do some weeding in the orto. It’s my quiet time, the kids are inside helping to get dinner ready, Sam is cooking and I am happily pulling weeds.

I always think of my brother Bradley who was methodical in the garden, starting at one point and not stopping until every weed was pulled up by the roots. He would laugh at my feeble attempts and redo the section I’d done. I love that his spirit feels close to me in the veggie garden when I’m weeding.


Lessons from the Orto – Growing Vegetables is Easy

Especially when Sam is doing the digging, planting, watering, picking and cooking!! But really watching him in the garden is a joy for me, it’s his relax zone, the place where he regroups, and a real source of pride when he gathers the goodness he has grown and brings it to the table for his family to enjoy.

Everyone here grows food, even in the smallest pot, the tiniest plot of land and they make it look easy and it actually is. If you get the chance give it a try or join a community garden.

Lessons from the Orto – I’m no longer scared of picking up snails

Our very first year here in the Borgata I have to tell you I was scared to pick up snails. Just the thought had me saying Ewwwww. Now with our raised beds I don’t find many but when I do I can pick them up and I toss them down to the path below and figure it will take them a while to climb back up. I can’t bring myself to kill them, but I send them on a holiday. Now slugs are a whole different thing, no way will I pick one of those up!

Lessons from the Orto – Being Lost in the Moment. 

Living a Simple Life is not always easy, it feels like we have been on the go for years without pausing. Being in the garden gives me a chance to think about nothing else. My normal routine is to feed the rabbits and chickens around five o’clock, then go to the ‘orto’ and weed for around an hour. Sam comes out and waters and usually we end up with Luca helping out and our dog Fiume and our boy cat Bello supervising.

It’s one of my favorite times of the day, a chance to see what has grown, what is ready to be picked, the time when everyone is out and about, a time where I can just forget the worries of the day and enjoy the moment with my family.


Lessons from the Orto – Vegetables come in all shapes and sizes

Well who knew that vegetables came in odd shapes, not perfectly clean, ours come with blemishes and dirt clinging to the roots. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an onion with roots. That cucumbers have tiny little prickles on the skin, that potatoes don’t need a lot of water, that one bean plant can give you kilo’s of fresh green beans.

Oh and that we’d get totally sick of zucchini, that we’d grow massive ones that we couldn’t even give away as everyone else around here grows them as well. That eggplants have the most delicate skins and cook in minutes, that our glorious tomatoes have almost no seeds and are bright red all the way through, they taste amazing by the way. That picking fresh vegetables we’ve grown ourselves could give us such a sense of pride.



Lessons from the Orto – to be in the moment, to be fearless, to create life as easy, to remove what isn’t needed, to accept life just as it is and just as it is not.

Go out and grow something!

and the gang x

20 comments… add one

  • Joy January 9, 2016, 2:49 am

    I just adore your news Lisa,Sam and kids.I have just been to my vegetable garden and picked peppers,chillies.mizuni,garlic chives,parsley and will cook a light dish for tea.Keep up the simple life and enjoy!!Much love from New Zealand. Joy

    • Lisa Chiodo January 11, 2016, 8:13 am

      Oh your garden sounds wonderful, what a great source of goodness hey!
      Rocking the Simple Life lol, much love to you Joy xx

  • Tonya Bass September 2, 2015, 4:16 pm

    I love your garden! It’s lovely! I wish the climate here in the UK is a bit warmer so I can also have such a wonderful garden. The tomatoes look so incredibly tasty! 🙂 I find gardening really relaxing and I love to work in mine. Weeding is something that I love to do also. It definitely calms my nerves and helps me lose the stress! Thanks for sharing! Greets, Tonya!

  • Krista August 18, 2015, 12:16 pm

    I love this so, so, so much, Lisa. XOXO I found myself nodding yes all the way through. 🙂 I’m so tired at the end of each day, we never, ever reach the end of our projects, but I love this life. I love my gardens our orchards our animals, and it’s connecting with them each day that grounds me and helps me return to peace. XO

    • Lisa Chiodo August 24, 2015, 12:23 pm

      Never ever reach the end of the projects…..yep that’s me! I do love our new life and can’t imagine why more people aren’t adopting this, hopefully more and more will follow and start to grow food and just slow down a bit to enjoy life xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..The Simple Life can become ComplicatedMy Profile

  • La Contessa August 10, 2015, 5:51 pm

    I like you with the longer hair too!
    Sounds like you have a beautiful routine………….I too love weeding!It is so REWARDING when you pull and they come out so easily!Our veggie patch we had to let go of this summer…….terrible drought here.
    The chickens will lOVE the snails and SLUGS……………
    Good to hear YOU so UP BEAT!
    La Contessa recently posted..TZIPORAH SALAMONMy Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo August 14, 2015, 1:20 pm

      Oh I love your post about Tziporah and her fashion, reminded me that not only do I not dress as ‘myself’ anymore, I don’t even know who that is.
      Our chickens do love the snails and slugs, they like it when they see me heading for the veggie patch. A very happy Birthday and enjoy this amazing outing x
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating your Italy Checklist My Profile

  • Ann August 10, 2015, 4:02 am

    Hi Lisa,
    Wonderful to see you and your family enjoying growing your own veggies. There is nothing like it and so rewarding. There is a big movement towards we humans going back to growing our own food which is just the best thing. We had a big scare with supermarket frozen berries here, a couple of months ago. In South Gippsland we have blueberries, Raspberries, etc. and the Farmers Markets are doing really well with all sorts of home grown produce available. Happy gardening.

    • Lisa Chiodo August 14, 2015, 1:34 pm

      I have a feeling more people will start growing food and our latest workaway visitor bought us a gift of tiny hand wrapped sachets of seeds, she is collecting and spreading these to friends and we happily gave her seeds from our own orto.
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Savor Life – 5 lessons from the ortoMy Profile

  • Heather in Arles August 9, 2015, 12:12 pm

    Lisa, I wrote nearly the exact same post a little while back! Isn’t it amazing? I still can’t get over how different everything tastes…it has changed the way we eat for the better and I am so proud that we “city kids” have made our first garden grow. Your plot is SO beautiful!
    Heather in Arles recently posted..Contrasts in Provence, Part 3My Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo August 14, 2015, 1:31 pm

      Yes many orto posts going around right now, and the taste well it’s supreme. I still find it impossible to comment on your blog, but loved the latest post and had to laugh many times. Hope all has settled down with the neighbors x
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Completly Clueless – living like a local in PiedmontMy Profile

  • Caterina B August 8, 2015, 11:52 pm

    Love that chard, and I won’t pick up slugs, either. They’re so creepy.
    Yes, weeding IS relaxing and how wonderful that while you are weeding, Sam is preparing dinner. That’s a perfect division of labor.
    We are constantly fighting the pasture grasses that grow up through our beds. It’s impossible to get rid of without using poison and we won’t do that. Have you ever stuffed squash blossoms and fried them?I haven’t but plan to do that tomorrow. I know that is very much an Italian thing so maybe your neighbors have shown you how to do it. Not that I think it will be difficult. I just have to DO IT!
    We figure we are a long way from growing all our own food. It’s a lot of work but so worth it, as you know. Every year we learn more. You have a nice crop of onions. Ours aren’t growing much. But this year hubby harvested 80 heads of fresh garlic. I don’t know if that is enough for a whole year. Growing the food is one thing and then preserving it is the other.
    We haven’t done much of that besides freezing some things, no canning yet.
    You know, it’s only logical to do this and besides, it tastes so much better!
    Happy harvesting, Lisa and Sam.

    • Lisa Chiodo August 14, 2015, 1:49 pm

      Oh we haven’t done much with it either only eat, or freeze oh and give away or swap. I’m happy that we are leaning more each year and continue to move forwards. Sam has had the stuffed flowers but now he just lightly batters and fries them. We haven’t grown garlic yet, I’d like to try making jam but we eat all the berries, we also have chickens and rabbits. Lots of rabbits as the girl we thought was a girl was actually a boy. Oh and they are ALL white. Anyway according to Sam he does all the work and I just mess about lol xx
      Happy Harvesting to you xxx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Savor Life – 5 lessons from the ortoMy Profile

  • Wynne August 8, 2015, 9:12 pm

    I can’t wait to see the Orto and to taste its bounty!

  • Donna Marie Mineo Paradowski August 8, 2015, 7:23 pm

    Lisa I love this! We are on the famous Garden Walk Buffalo (largest in the United States). I assumed that everyone, like us, had flowers AND veggies, but I was wrong. People were so happy to see all our veggies growing everywhere. In pots, buckets, dresser drawers anything and everything. I love fresh free food

    • Lisa Chiodo August 14, 2015, 1:37 pm

      Oh I just googled Garden Walk and what an amazing inspiration you all are. Love the thought of veggies growing in the dresser drawer and here old boots, saucepans and anything suitable is used to grow something. I am a convert to fresh food x
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Move to Italy – it is possibleMy Profile

  • Di August 8, 2015, 6:16 pm

    Loved this!! You tempted me so much. Mum and Dad were gardeners, so we grew up with the stuff you write of here. I’ve been away from it for so long.
    Applying for a job in Italy next week … I may be able to visit occasionally and help you with those zucchinis 🙂

    • Lisa Chiodo August 8, 2015, 7:02 pm

      How fantastic would that be, hope you get the job!! I never grew up with a veggie garden although I do remember my step grandpa having a veggie patch in the housing commission place they had in Preston, I think he got in trouble and they made him get rid of it?? xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Creating your Italy Checklist My Profile


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