Friday, September 7, 2012
From Plot to Plate
This summer I had to rely on my local Hubbards farm market here in Nova Scotia, to supply us with salad greens on occasion, because either I had not planted the seeds on time, or when planted, they were not happy to germinate in the heat. Or.... they would germinate, just get growing and would be munched. Otherwise, we satisfied ourselves with red and green beet leaves, chard, baby kale, zuchinni, cucumber and others that do much better in the heat, but now, with the cool nights and crisp clean air of autumn around us, arugula and red oak leaf lettuce are coming into their own. The above were planted a few weeks ago way at the back in front of the bean wall, and this time, I tried covering the patch, after seeding, with a length of white fleece/horticultural cover. I thought this would help protect against insects, provide shade and help keep the moisture in. It worked...strong germination and a great cut and come again garden for salads.
So... last week, I decided to plant the entire front raised bed with greens that will eventually be covered with the cold frame lid that sits on top over the winter. I have had really good success with extending my season by doing this. Already the following have germinated..tatsoi, mesculin mix, mizuna, mache, spinach, Winter Marvel lettuce and Juno carrot, one of Mark Cullen's new seed choices (available everywhere at Home Hardware). Again, I covered the bed with the white fleece, also known as Remay, and will continue to do that if the days seem too hot or even too wet. We had torrential rain the other day and I am sure the fleece kept the seeds from being pounded out of the earth.
The carrots won't mature this year...they will be my spring carrots next year..or early summer... assuming they make it through the winter. Last year, carrots had germinated quite late inside the fenced garden, and stayed alive under a cover of Remay, then straw and then, the plastic hoop covers over that. (This worked for beets also.)When spring came, they took off growing and we had carrots very early.
The raised bed behind this front one, was planted with seeds three days ago; you can see, I have the white fleece laid over it, tucked in around some bean plants still cropping, arugula and the cucumber plants that I must say, have done very well. I always lament I can't grow cucumbers to save my soul, but this year, they have proven me wrong!
So we are back to harvest time salads, enjoying again, the fruits of our labours. We keep it simple and let the leaves shine.... a nice vinegar to frisk up the flavor is probably all that's needed....mmmm...keepin' it local!