October 30, 2012

Salad of the week

 All 23 varieties of greens in the variety trial are ready to eat, creating a carpet of colors and textures on the greenhouse benches.  While measuring and harvesting them I like about which would go well together in a salad.

This weeks salad mix has two brassicas that provide crunch and mild flavors and two mustards that add texture and possibly some spiciness.  Fall grown scarlet frills don't seem quite as pretty as spring grown.  Maybe I am less impressed due to all the other showy varieties growing right now.  I'm growing three kinds of pac choi, and like all of them because they are so crunchy.  Every salad needs some crunch.

October 26, 2012

photo friday

Soon these beet greens will be ready to harvest.

October 22, 2012

Chirimen hakarashi

October 17, 2012


Since the baby greens in the variety trial are big enough to distinguish, it's time to look at each of them in greater detail.  Today's green: wasabina!

I ordered these seeds from Kitazawa Seed Co.  Mainly because of the name, but also because I ordered everything described as 'cold tolerant.'   The seed company describes wasabina as:
"This light green serrated leaf mustard brings a delicious, spicy, wasabi-like flavor to a salad mix of baby leaf greens. The large, tender mature leaves are ruffled with curly edges and are best cooked. Very cold tolerant."

So far, the leaves are serrated and have fine hairs on the edges and veins.  The hairs aren't prickly like those found on old mizuna leaves.  So wasabina would be ok to add in a salad mix.  Right now they just taste like a mild mustard green and aren't spicy at all.  Probably the spiciness will increase as the plants mature.

October 15, 2012

Today in the greenhouse

There are lots of greens growing in the greenhouses right now.  I spend more and more time measuring growth rate.  Soon, I'll put all the data together, but keep putting it off since I'm so busy.  Here you can see outrageous lettuce in the foreground, vitamin greens on the side and bulls blood beets in the background.  Soon some of these will be ready to harvest!

October 12, 2012

Baby brassicas

It's now possible to tell the many varieties of greens apart because they have true leaves.  Clockwise from the top: white russian kale, chirimen hakarashi, pac choi, and red-violet pac choi.  Red-violet pac choi is my favorite right now.  The tinge of red on the outside of the leaves is just lovely.  I'm thinking of having a taste test once the greens reach harvest size - would anyone be interested?

October 11, 2012

the many shapes of mizuna leaves

According to Johnny's Seed Company (where I order a lot of my seeds) :
"Mizuna produces dozens of pencil thin white stalks with deeply cut, fringed leaves."
The pencil thin stalks are apparent in the picture above, as well as variation in leaf shape.  There have been quite a lot of oval mizuna leaves.  So many that a few days ago I couldn't figure out what kind of green someone was asking me about.  Perhaps this is because it is still pretty warm out, or maybe mizuna just has a variety of leaf shapes.

October 10, 2012

Baby vitamin green

Information on vitamin greens seems to be the number one thing people are looking for when they come to this blog.  So I planted a few of my coveted seeds a few weeks before starting the variety trial to see what they were all about. 

Right now my plants are at the four leaf stage, which means they are just about perfect baby size for salad mix.  The picture above shows leaf number three and the beginnings of number four.

I tried a leaf and it tasted - green.  That might sound anti-climatic, but vitamin greens are known for being tender greens without a strong mustard-y taste.  Below is a seedling from the variety trial.  You can kind of see little hairs, or spines on the edges of the leaf.  I'm hoping these will disappear as the plant gets older, but I'm not sure yet.  Since the days are so short now they  won't be ready to harvest (and eat!) for a few more weeks.

October 8, 2012

Tapestry of seedlings

October 3, 2012

Growth rate observations - problems

Not all things are happy and cute (like microgreens) in the greenhouse.  Here are some of the problems I've observed in the past few weeks.  In the picture above the lettuce is substantially smaller than other lettuce planted in the tray next to it (you can't actually see that from the picture, you'll just have to take my word for it).  The spinach germinated very poorly.  Look at all that dirt!  Since I use the vacuum seeder to plant I know there should be more spinach growing.

Next up, curly spinach leaves.  The leaves were also curling from the edges in, making them look like long, skinny green scrolls.  Who wants to eat that?  Potentially, it was due to the very, very low light levels this weekend.  See how long and stretched the mizuna seedlings are below?    That's also due to low light levels.  None of the plants are hurt.  Since there was a bit of sun in the past few days the spinach leaves have uncurled.

October 1, 2012

a few microgreens

I think microgreens are silly.  There, I said it.  I realize they are oh-so-cute and are supposed to be really healthy but I wouldn't buy them.  Partly because they are super expensive and partly because they are so small you don't get any real leaves (only cotyledons are harvested for most micros.) Don't know what the botany jargon means?  See here.

 Since my reasons for not liking microgreens have no real solid basis I happily eat ones I grow myself.  I sowed these greens a bit over a week ago when I realized I hadn't actually planted anything in a tray for the growth rate project.  So I stuck in some old seeds from my collection to see if they were still viable.  

Tokyo bekana is in the back of the above photo.  It is a great microgreen because it grows fast and has big heavy cotyledons.  In the middle is a mix of brassicas that came from leaking seed packages and pooled at the bottom of my seed box.  In front are bulls blood beets.  They are ever so pretty and tender.  Varieties like ruby streaks that can be a bit spicy seem to have an extra zing to them.  Of course this may be due to the warm weather.   Tonight we're having a $24 salad for dinner!