|Featured Recipes: Gardening Tips: |
Hail to the Hardy Greens
Most garden greens can hardly wait for cool weather to come. They perk up and sweeten up as the mugginess of August fades away. Crops such as spinach, arugula, claytonia and mache, if protected by a cold frame or simple unheated greenhouse, survive the winter in cold climates, to be cut and re-cut for a continuous harvest. Sow them in September in the north, October in warmer parts of the country. They do best hunkering down, close to the earth. Lettuce and endive over-winter best when cut at baby leaf size rather than full-sized heads.
Kale, collards and Brussels sprouts fare better if grown to
full size and left outdoors to soldier on as long as they can, since they do not re-grow if cut back in winter. We can often harvest them for our Christmas table, even in snowy Maine.
Mache is great crop for a winter cold frame because it is so
compact. It can be sown in rows as close as 2” apart, or just
broadcast in patches, then thinned. Sow a succession of plantings
throughout the fall. To harvest, slide a small, serrated kitchen
knife just under the soil surface so that the heads can be used
whole in salads. Swish them thoroughly in water before eating to
dislodge particles of soil and other debris.
Also known as Lamb’s lettuce or Corn Salad, this easily grown mild-tasting green forms small rambling rosettes of glossy, spoon-shaped leaves. Sow in early spring and harvest the baby rosettes early since it bolts in hot weather. It may also be sown in late summer for harvest through autumn until early winter. Cut individual leaves with scissors or harvest the whole plant. Mâche is prized in baby salad green mixtures, as a bed for grilled fish or shellfish salads drizzled with piquant dressings and as a delicate garnish solo or paired with mint and diced scallions.
Average seed life: 1 year
#2965 Verte De Cambrai Mâche: 45-50 days|
Another prized, delicate variety that prefers cooler weather, Verte de Cambrai should be sown in early spring and harvested early for its baby rosettes. The mild nutty flavor and gentle texture of Verte De Cambrai is classically served with a modest dressing of walnut oil vinaigrette topped with chopped, hard-boiled eggs and chervil. (OP.)
Packet of 1200 Seeds / $3.15
#2967 Gros Graines Mache: 45-50 days|
This large seeded French heirloom is quite vigorous yet best grown early in the spring when it can handle the heat better with less bitterness. Gracefully paired with lettuce and sharp tangy greens like arugula and frisée, its sweet nutty leaves are so soft and tender that they melt in your mouth. (OP.)
Packet of 1000 Seeds / $3.25