The season’s first field planting of salad greens, making a brief public appearance from under row cover, where they’re in flea beetle protection – we’re weeding today. Mustards, bok choi, arugula (a brassica relative), mizunas and more. So perfectly tasty, plucked straight from the ground, with a little dirt garnish for good measure…
Leftovers, really, as bok choi and mizuna make their way toward producing seed by putting out bursts of cheerful little flowers. Normally, these plants would be tilled under way before this stage, making way for a new seeding, but since the ground is still too wet to work where they are, we’ve left them in for a bit, to harvest and toss into salad mix at the market. The stems can get woody at this point, the farther down you go, snipping off the tops or only the petals will do the trick. Mildly flavorful, mainly for the color!
[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!
Checking in on the winter greens mini-experiment. These guys have been through six weeks of up and down weather, balmy days well above zero (reaching 60-70°F/15-20°C on a sunny day in the hoophouse) , and many extreme freezing nights. So, how did it all do? The Bloomsdale spinach, uncovered (above), is fine, although after all that freezing and thawing, the taste and texture changes (good to eat, but probably wouldn’t sell). It wasn’t the plan, but this spinach can be trimmed back to see how new growth does in spring. The other beds, all brassicas (tatsoi, mizuna, arugula, mustards), left half uncovered, are completely toasted. Meanwhile, under a single layer of medium-weight row cover, arugula (below) is good, perky and quite tasty. Not the most extensive and scientific testing plan, but combined with the experience of harvesting through December and in mid-January, it’s a solid starting point for next winter’s goal of full-on, unheated winter greens production!
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!
Although we haven’t had frost and the weather’s been overall incredibly mild, it’s still the fall cool season crops that’re doing best. Here, a mix of spicy brassicas, grown entirely in the post-flea beetle season—no row cover and no holes! There’s arugula, mizuna, tatsoi (a kind of bok choi), and red mustard. It’s a zesty, peppy salad on its own, or mix with lettuce. The leaves are a little past the baby greens stage—they’re growing so fast—so just tear ’em up! (That’s what I say at the farmers’ market… :) Oh, and while the weeds have slowed down dramatically, they’re still around: can you spot the mallow?