Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Brassica oleracea 2006
Frosty Nero di Toscana kale and Morris Heading collards in the garden this morning
I am puffed up and spouting poetry when I think of the genus Brassica:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
(partial, XLIII from Sonnets from the Portuguese, Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
It is beginning to feel like Christmas around here: hoarfrost everywhere, and maybe (finally) those frogs have sunk back into their hidey-holes.
My first lovingly coddled office-sprouted batches of broccoli (Calabrese Green Sprouting, Early Purple Sprouting and Romanesco Italia, all Baker Creek) bit it in our really late frost, so I had to go with some cutting broccoli I found at the seed store. Wow does that stuff like my garden. I am still getting sprouts off of it. My second planting of broccoli (direct-seeded in July) got hit by our early frost in October. YES I feel very put-out.
But the kale of course did well. (Baker Creek '05 seed for both.) I planted a 6-cell flat with Red Russian kale back in the garage in February and planted it out with the early spinach in March under a row cover. It did fabulously, and still is. What's great about this open-pollinated seed is that the plants are all slightly different from each other, so one will be really red, one purple and one will be more a White Russian than a Red. I also planted a row of lacinato (also called Dinosaur, Nero di Toscana and Black Palm Tree) that I transplanted around. Gorgeous stuff. SO good in lentil soup. It is still producing.
Then of course there's the collards. Morris Heading Collards (Baker Creek, '05 seed) are a gift that keeps giving in my garden. I direct-seeded them in a row then planted them around the garden. They're great in the spring, but they are really fabulous once the frost gets them. I should be able to make a mighty fine Hoppin' John with all my Holstein and Cardinal cowpeas (black-eyed peas are relatives) for New Year's Day.
I will have to wax on about the wonders of Asian brassicas at a later post. Tonight's dinner will be "green potatoes," which are Yukon Golds slightly mashed with garlic-sauteed Red Russian kale. With lots of butter, of course.