Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Soil & Greens

Get it? The old science fiction flick?

The weather is some kind of crappy today, rainy and cool. The prognosticators suspect we will have a couple more days of this until we see the sun again. Wonderful.

I normally wouldn’t sweat the forecast, but I’ve got a greenhouse half-filled with seeds trying to make something of themselves. And, as we all learned in our very first science lesson in school, plants need sunshine to grow. The best thing I can say right now is that at least the small heater is keeping the greenhouse at a steady 60°F.

I emailed our buyer a few days ago to ask about early plant sales, and he finally wrote me back yesterday. Yes, they will start getting plants in next weeks and will take early-season starts like kale and mustards from us. So, guess what I planted today, sun or no sun.

All of the below were planted into 6-packs, three trays each (36 cells total). These plants, as most others, don’t like to be root bound. They grow quickly and if they don’t have room to spread out, they become stunted, and they will go to seed with little provocation. Once that happens, they are worthless. (The same goes for lettuce and spinach.) Therefore, I am going to stagger plantings, repeating the process every two or three weeks.

I love mustard greens, especially raw. When we grew them for market, I always ate as I picked. If you’ve never eaten mustards before, imagine a mild horseradish flavor. Once cooked, they tend to lose much of this heat. I planted all of my favorites:
Mustard �Tat Soi� Organic Seed - Packet

Bau Sin

Osaka Purple

Item Photo
Giant Red


We eat a fair amount of kale. I must admit I’m not wild about it, yet the DW is, so you know how that goes. Yet, when steamed with grilled onions and balsamic vinegar is drizzled on the two, then I’ll eat my share. Hell, what doesn’t taste good with grilled onions or balsamic vinegar?

Our buyer asked for a red variety, so were growing Russian Red Kale.
Item Photo

Item Photo
This is Dinosaur (Lacinato Blue) Kale. It is huge, which to my mind is a good thing. So much of the kale leaf is nearly inedible as the veins can be quite large, numerous and fibrous. We always strip as much of the leafy goodness away and cook it. Therefore, the larger the leaf, the greater amount of each blade there is to enjoy.

Also on today’s schedule were arugula and moss curled parsley. You know, folks are just crazy about arugula. We’ve grown is before but found it to be just too much bother as the leaves are small, and it bolts if you look at it sideways. And everyone is familiar with curly parsley. Looks pretty, sure, but give me Italian Flat leaf Parsley any time over the curled stuff. (I’m still waiting for the damn hippies to send the rest of my herb order, which contains Flat Leaf. Supposedly the shipment went out today, ten days after I placed my order. I’ll believe it when I see it. Damn hippies!)

(Photos are from Seeds of Change and Kitazawa Seed Catalogues.)


Forrest Gump said...

"Mmmmmmmmm.....soylent green."

Crash said...

I have a big Vita-Mix blender, like you see the state fair hawkers selling. I got mine direct from the factory in 1996. It has a 2.5 horsepower motor and the rotor tips can go 30,000 rpm. One of my prized possessions.

Who cares, you say. Well, I suppose any blender will do, but I make a nice soup out of some of the things you mention. I don't like kale too much, either. But it is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. So what I do is take a bunch of deveined lacinato kale and some of those other greens, and boil them. Then they and the cooking water go into the blender and are pureed. Not too fine a puree, or it will be slippery, like paint.

Separately, chop and boil any mix of onions, celery, carrots, bell peppers, etc. Nongreen flavor foods. When they are done, pour the puree into them.

Add TONS of healthy extra virgin olive oil and any seasonings you may like: garlic, cayenne, black pepper, curry, cajun, etc. Maybe even experiment with lemon juice or grated hard cheese.

Bring to a boil then quickly shut off the heat. Adjust thickness by adding water.

Serve with bread or anything else you like. Let the eaters do their own salt. It will stick with you for many hours.