Maggio e giugno, falce in pugno.
May and June, sickle in hand.
This detto (saying) or proverbio (proverb) reflects the fact that in May and June, plants grow at an amazing rate, and need to be kept under control. It's very Italian to have un pezzetto di terra (a little piece of land) on which to plant un orto (vegetable garden), not to be confused with un giardino (garden), which is ornamental, or which can refer to the back or front yard. Many kinds of piante (plants) can also grow in vasi (pots) in terrazza (on the terrace).
L'erba (the grass) is what you mow. You can use a tagliaerba (lawnmower) if you have a pratino (little lawn), or adecespugliatore (brush cutter) when the terreno (terrain) is uneven, or even a falce (scythe) or falcetto (sickle) if you cut it by hand. However, if we use the plural, le erbe, then we're talking about herbs used in cooking. Erbe commestibili (edible greens) are what you gather in fields and woods; erbe medicinali (medicinal herbs) are used by erboristi (herbalists) to make medicines.
In this week's video about composting as a way to recycle, three closely related words having to do with la terra (the earth) are used in three consecutive lines of text.
L'humus compost è un terriccio che ha la capacità di trattenere e liberare lentamente gli elementi nutritivi necessari alle piante,
Humus compost is a soil that has the capacity to retain and slowly set free nutritive elements necessary to plants,
e di assicurare la fertilità del terreno.
and to assure the fertility of the soil.
Il rifiuto umido può essere una risorsa per la nostra terra.
Wet garbage can be a resource for our land.Play Caption
Terriccio (soil, potting soil). This usually implies rich soil or loam, suitable for growing plants.
Terra (earth, land, ground). This is a very general term and can refer to our planet, a piece of land, the ground, and more. In caption 7, terra leaves some room for interpretation.
Terreno (plot of land, ground, terrain, soil). This often refers to something you can measure, but is used generically as well.
When we talk about raccolta differenziata, as in the title of the above-mentioned video, we're talking about recycling. Raccolta (gathering, collection, picking up, harvest or harvesting) differenziata (differentiated) means that trash gets divided into categories such as carta e cartone (paper and cardboard), vetro e plastica (glass and plastic), umido (organic waste) and rifiuti indifferenziati (general rubbish). Every town has its own rules and collection methods concerning this. There are either big dumpsters for each kind of garbage, or small plastic containers for different material (glass, plastic, paper, organic, general) which each family manages, and puts out on the appropriate day of the week to get raccolto (picked up), door to door.
More videos on the subject of ecology:
L'unione fa la forza: Cooperativa La Quercia
Inno all'acqua: un bene prezioso da difendere
Enel intervista: Tiziano Ferro - Part 1
Enel intervista: Tiziano Ferro - Part 2
L'unione fa la forza - Ecovillaggio Habitat