Thursday, September 6, 2007

Greens are great

I finally sowed some seeds of fall greens in flats and in the ground on Monday. I was a bit late for timing of some of the larger fall vegetables (the ones that take longer to mature) but I'll be able to harvest the fast-growing lettuces and baby mustards within the month, and hopefully get a cut-and-come-again second harvest. Cilantro and argula are also two fast-growing and tasty greens. Transplanting red cabbage seedlings and attractive kales from the garden center are another way to get a quick start on a fall greens garden.

If the first frost doesn't come too early, I'll almost certainly be able to harvest the hardier kales, collards, mustards, and (slightly-protected) spinach through late fall, and again in spring. Here's a container of young spinaches that overwintered last year and provided some tasty early spring salads.

Brassicas -- the mustard greens of various sorts -- grow incredibly fast, and with luck will provide some excellent fall and winter greens. Red mustards are so pretty that it's hard to harvest them sometimes -- I try to grow enough for eating and appearance!

The kales and collards are remarkably resistant to hard freezes, and some people think the flavor is improved after frost. I like to grow more tender-leaved kales than the traditional curly varieties, so I haven't noticed this so much.

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