Rick Gush
March 3, 2009

Today was cane-cutting day.

I use a lot of tall stakes in my garden, and no matter how many I already have, I always seem to need more.

All my growing areas are very narrow, so I don’t have the luxury to let plants sprawl.

I grow a lot of things on stakes, including the tomatoes, the beans, and the cucumbers. The squash variety I grow likes to hang, so I also build a tall rack that keeps the squash off the ground.

The net result of all this is that I need more stakes, so today is the day to go harvesting.

I use river bamboo (Arundo donax) for my stakes, and a bit further up the creek there are a few places where there are big clumps of wild Arundo. (We’re just a bit down the coast from Cannes in France, which is named for all the “canes” that grow there.)

This is a photo of our home.  We’re the third floor on the building directly ahead.

Rick Gush's Italian home and cliff gardens
Rick Gush

One can perhaps squint and see some of our laundry hanging out. We don’t even have a clothes dryer.  I don’t even know anybody here who has one.  We all hang our laundry out to dry.

My garden is built on the cliff next to the building. I measured it once and my top terrace is about 50 feet above the street level. (Note: We all have 10 foot ceilings, so the building is a bit more than 50 feet tall.)

I have a larger flat piece of ground at my office, which is a few hundred yards further up along the creek, but it’s all shaded by thick pine trees. (I do get pine nuts at least.)

This cliff is where the sun shines, so it’s here that I decided to build my garden.

That open space to the left of our four-story building is my garden, which is made up of a bunch of little terraces I made on the cliff.

I like my cliff garden a lot, and I think it’s very Ligurian, because there isn’t much flat land here.

While I was out harvesting canes today, there was a local farmer also cutting stakes.

It’s almost spring here, so we’re all hustling to get ready for the growing season.  Lots of people here use Valentines Day as a milestone for the first seeding of tomatoes.  I’ve consulted the moon calendar, and have decided that I’ll plant my first tomato seeds on Monday.


Next Up