We don’t have any green beans in the garden yet, but we do have greens – and lots of them.
We more or less stopped buying vegetables from the grocery store at the beginning of April. That’s when our greens started coming in heavily, and it’s been non-stop ever since.
We’ve had tons of escarole, curly kale, Lacinato kale, Swiss chard, mâche and lettuce, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down.
The curly kale wintered over unprotected from plants I set out last fall. When the weather started to heat up this spring, the plants started to flower. I wasn’t ready for them to be finished, so I chopped their flower stalks off. This forced them to branch and grow more leaves, and has given me several more months of growth and leaves to harvest.
Eventually I harvested almost all the leaves, because I thought the warm weather would soon cause them to bolt. They were just sticks poking out of the soil after I got through with them. Not to be stopped, the plants completely leafed out and now are again begging to be harvested.
We’re also growing Lacinato kale for the first time – also known as dinosaur kale, black kale, palm kale, Tuscan kale, cavolo nero, et cetera, et cetera. It’s a lovely flat-leaf heirloom variety.
The escarole is unstoppable. The bugs don’t bother it. It forms huge heads. When you cut a head, it just grows back. And it keeps growing even when it starts to get hot. If you don’t know this vegetable, you should. It’s definitely worth growing. It’s in the chicory family, so it’s slightly bitter, but not too bad. It can be used raw or cooked. The best use for escarole? Salade Lyonnaise.
We’re growing red veined Swiss chard again this year, and it is as gorgeous as ever. This stuff loves to be cut down. The more you cut it, the more it grows back and looks gorgeous. Don’t cut it, and the leaves start to look old and tattered.
We also have a few mâche plants tucked in here and there. The leaves are small, so we tend to toss it in with a variety of other greens to make a nice salad green mix.
And finally we have Marveille lettuce, a red/green loose leaf lettuce that also does well in the heat. The plants are especially red coloured this year (maybe it’s the heat?), so they are lovely to look at.
Eating seasonally definitely pushes you to expand your culinary selections. We’ve been eating greens pretty heavily for a couple months, but we’re nowhere even close to getting bored with it.