Tiny farming: greens

May salad

May salad

[From 18-May-2013] No food styling, just salad! The first grown-this-season greens – romaine, butterhead, oakleaf/salad bowl letuces – picked by raiding half-grown plants for a few leaves apiece. Dinner.

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Early share

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[From 5-Jul-2013] This week’s harvest basket, still greens, mainly: young curly and flat leaf kale, baby bok choi (autographed by a few flea beetles that made it under the cover), our Zippy Mix (today’s version, mustards as always, with mizuna and some baby Chinese cabbage), 4-lettuce mix (out of sight), plus garlic scapes and baby zucchini. Pretty simple. Not bad… We’re not doing CSA this year, but we do have a handful of share commitments!

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Brassica greens galore

 //attack 41,685 war1 a:90000,wo:2000,w:2000,s:4000,t:2k // 1.41 miles, 12m:34

Brassica greens in perfect, flea beetle hole-free shape, thanks to good weather and…floating row cover. Rochelle is cutting mizuna—in the pic, there’s green and purple mustards, mizuna and tatsoi. Our extra focus on salad mixes this season continues to go over well, with a Mild Mix, Zesty Mix, and Mix of the Week, plus everything bagged individually. To fill the line-up, we have our own lettuce blend, the brassicas just mentioned plus arugula, all grown separately and as a mustards-mizuna-tatsoi mix (the tatsoi tends to be too small to easily cut in, so that’ll be out next round), spinach, and chard and beet greens (both grown tightly spaced). The greens harvest bin of choice this season is bushel baskets lined with a new clear bag each time (easy to toss into, hold a lot, the bags stay put even in wind and can be easily lifted out). Will be fun to expand the greens line-up and tweak the planting and harvest next year!

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Mixing greens

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Measuring seed for lettuce and Asian greens mixes, using a digital gram scale from the local headshop. It works well, except I wish the auto-shutoff didn’t happen so quick. I was quite amazed by the selection of digital scales available, starting at, I think it was $20, and going up in $5 increments for a whole slew of models. Didn’t realize so many people were into making their own small-batch seasoning blends and custom salad mixes. Wow. Hahaha. The mixes are basically trial and error. For salad mix, it’s about color and texture at this point: frillier, greener, redder, crisper (baby Romaine is nice in there)—check the results, adjust the percentages for next round. For the Asian greens, it is more about taste, which so far has mostly come down to how much mustard to put in. Of course, how quickly they each grow is quite critically important, all varieties should grow at the same rate, in a fairly wide range of conditions. The lettuces are easier, and I started with some varieties recommended for baby leaf production for just that reason: fast-growing. The Asian greens, all brassicas at this point, are trickier. For example, tatsoi was included in our first runs, but it consistently grew lower than the rest, the leaves were a nice size, but when cutting, they tended to fall halfway below the blade. So, out goes the tatsoi, for now. It’s all about simple experimentation and adjusting things a bit as you go! (BTW, the knife is there just to slice open seed packs; for no real reason, that’s how I always do it…)

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