Getting back to greens

Here in NE Ohio salad greens take a hiatus during the last of July and the first part of August. If you try to mature greens then, they will simply bolt to seed. So, you hope that the tomatoes are ripe and, if so, you have nice caprese type salads of ripe tomato, sweet onion, basil, good oil and even better vinegar (maybe break out the good balsamic). Or you steam up some green beans and then plunge them in cold water to rapidly cool, add some onion, savory and oil and vinegar. But, if you are like me, you are anxious for salad greens to come back. Our greens are coming back as I write this post.

The arugula that I planted about a month ago

Rustic Arugula

Rustic Arugula

struggled with the heat and with flea beetles but has come on strong in the last week. It looks great (see above) and is ready to harvest. It might be a bit more flavorful than the Spring planting but who will quibble in August. I just put in another planting and it germinated in two days. It should mature with a mild flavor and keep well into the Fall.

We love to grow frisee, the smaller finely cut endive.

Frisee

Frisee

Frisee

I have a lot of it ( dozen or so plants) nearly ready to harvest. I will pick/thin every other one for salads and let the remaining ones grow more full and tie them up to blanch. I also have a few smaller ones for later in the season. BTW … a great way to blanch greens and even cauliflower is to wrap the leaves up from the outside and then hold them in place with one of those large rubber upc bands that you get in the supermarket around veggies like broccoli. The bands provide just enough tension to hold the outer leaves in place without killing the leaves.

One of my three favorite lettuces is Cimmeron,

Lettuce Cimmeron

Lettuce Cimmeron

a red’ish Cos type that in cool Springs and nice Falls makes amazing Romaine heads. I have some nearly ready for harvest now and many more at smaller states of development. I also just transplanted in some Speckles, my second favorite, a beautiful Bibb type that when left to develop mature heads turns a gorgeous blend of flesh and pink on the inner leaves. My third fave is Crispy Frills, and I fear that I have used up my stash and I can no longer obtain seeds for this. I have none in the garden now. Anyone who knows of a supplier, please let me know (used to be Burpee). Crispy Frills is/was a loose leaf type that was both flavorful and as crisp as lettuce can get … almost to the point of being brittle.

Finally, in the greens department, I have a bed of nice escarole plants coming on. These are still a month or so away from harvest,

Escarole

Escarole

While you can use them raw in a salad if you get to the very blanched inner head, we use them as cooking greens, usually with pasta and anchovies.

Ask anyone and you will hear that, in an extended season garden, September may just be the month to stay home and eat. Once the greens are in we will have an abundance of produce. Add to the greens tomotoes, cukes, peppers of many types, eggplants, onions, fresh garlic, potatoes if we want to steal some, green beans and maybe some early fennel.

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