Yesterday’s harvest that went to today’s farmers’ market, my earliest market start by almost two months! From the unheated greenhouse: kale, green and red mustard, and lettuce mix times two. Harvest conditions: -2°C outside, a perfect-working-weather 10°C inside. At the end, the sun came out and it started to get sweatingly hot under a T-shirt, shirt and fleece. But, already done! No rinsing, just covered and into a cool room for a 6 a.m. pick-up this morning. It felt a little odd, starting the year’s Saturday markets so early, and indoors—this fall, if all goes as intended, weekly market will cease to end for winter and become instead a fully year-round thing…
[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?