Monday, October 18, 2010

Harvest Monday - Kale, kale and some chard

Kale with red oak leaves: Red Ursa is a beautiful, dependable, tender and tasty kale, originally from Wild Garden Seeds. I also quite like Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch - a frilly green variety. I don't typically grow taller types like palm/lacinato (B. oleracea) as I imagine they'd be more prone to die back above the snowline though I have not tried them so this is only a guess.

The kale that grows itself in my garden is Red Ursa - Brassica napus. I started these some years back and the winter survivors became the seed parents to a plentiful crop ever after. As vegetables go, and brassicas in particular, it is a easy, versatile plant. Hardy, they provide a three season harvest, even four during the milder winter months. Besides their leaves, you can eat the flowerheads like broccolini, the immature seedpods like rattail radish and the seeds as mustard or sprouted as microgreens.

Like the rest of the vegetable brassica tribe, they are also darn good for you. Doesn't the word kale just reek of nutrition? Doesn't the five year old in year wish for cookies instead?

Actually, I ♥ kale.

Perennial kale variety Daubenton growing near its so-called biennial cousin. This is a huge plant taking up a 3x4x3 foot space approximately in its second year but really can you have too much kale? It's much more strongly flavoured than the other kales I grow in the garden.

Also, it is beautiful in the garden. In the spring, transplant or seed a purple or blue toned variety near your asters or chrysanthemums. When the temperatures dip, they will take on vibrant cool tones that act as a fabulous foil for late season flowers. Their coarse textured leaves contrast nicely with grasses too.

Whattabout the chard? Oh yes, also harvesting greens like docks, chard, onions & roots like Jeruselum Artichokes, crosnes and salsify & various herbs


Didn't get your fill of kale? Here's a good article: The Best Kales by Mother Earth News

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tomato seed 'ick

To borrow a phrase from the youngsters 'That's sick!'


The process of fermentation of tomato seeds leads to a gross slick of mold* on top of the liquid. This is supposed to remove the germination inhibiting gel cap around the seed and eliminate some pathogens. It's cool. It's gross. It's sick - I guess.

When you see free tomato seeds sunk to the bottom of your science experiment and blech on the top, you can rinse your seed, using a bleach wash if you want.

* What the heck is that stuff? Googling reveals that it is known as 'white mold,' 'good mold,' and other descriptive names like 'foamy' mold. Along with the pale mold, I sometimes see a greenish growth like you see on bread. If you know the name of a common mold enlisted in this fermentation process, please let me know.


We have been busy beavers around here as in two weeks we will be saying goodbye to one trusty garden friend and restarting operations at our new garden which will hopefully serve our family just as faithfully. In the meantime, I may be a bit slow on the posts.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another Gardener brought you this Harvest Day

A day late and not even my harvest but a friend's - Canadamike.

The fall bounty of squash (mostly maximas), tomatoes (some OSU crosses) and canned goodies.

Nevertheless, it is a beautiful gift.