Monday, February 23, 2009

Hey, Little Salad Bar!

I've been playing in the salad bar garden!

Can you tell how many different types of greens are in these thinnings and trimmings?

There's mustard, two types of green leaf lettuces, one type red leaf lettuce, radish greens, komatsuma (sp?), red-stemmed chard thinnings, and rocket (arugula). All of them are new to me, and they're all from my sowing a few weeks ago. I like having a salad just outside my back door!

We're not weighing our produce this year. I don't have the scale and we're slow to do EVERYthing, it seems, but my first priority in planting something on a small scale was to get some greens into our diet, pronto. There's really no reason for us not to, since they're really easy to care for (so far that's been the case, at least)

This is our second harvest from these bins...I harvested a good-sized grocery sack of mustard and komatsuna (sp??) thinnings last week, and we have a little leaf lettuce left in the fridge from the volunteers we keep finding in the ground around where we had some going last season and let it go to seed.

If you have advice, I'd love to hear from voices of experience...

I've thinned the mustard, but am not sure if mustard can be used as one of those cut-and-come-again greens when small? The other greens mentioned above are ones I'm wondering about whether to grow a few to maturity and then harvest, or to give them "haircuts", leave them more thickly planted, and keep harvesting the resprouting leaves?

Even if we don't know what we're doing yet, I'm so pleased at the flavors and ease with which these grew!

A few things so far that I've noticed --

1. The mustards that stay in the sun are going gangbusters...the others are lagging behind.

2. All these plants have weathered three freezes and weather in the 20s and were not killed back.

3. I planted a big horseradish root. Maybe I should have cut it into pieces first and planted each of them? It is now putting out leaves...

4. Rocket/arugula had an odd smell compared to the other greens when cut.

5. I love the feeling of the sun baking my back while I poise myself on an upturned bucket and putter away in the greens.

6. The nasturtiums were a no-show, except for one little upstart...I tucked a few sunflowers in here and there, too...may transplant them (can sunflowers be transplanted?)

That's all for now. I'm baking a turkey, which will translate into some calabaza soup, stock, curry soup, lunchmeat and frozen meat, and maybe some experiments making turkey sausage.

I also hope to get some almond & honey granola going, replenish the kombucha kegs, make some homemade vinegar-and-rosemary kitchen cleaner, and maybe..maybe...make my own laundry powder (after procrasinating it now for oh, TWO years...) :)

There are other recipes I want to try, but I have to go run errands and hope to kidnap my sweetie for the afternoon (and if that happens, will any of the above get done?? ah, I have to enjoy my time with him when I can get it!)

And maybe a fudge pie is in our future for the evening....

...or not. Maybe just yerba buena tea and some great movie/snuggling-in time in the living room..

Shall return I know now when...hope you're having a great start to your week! :)


Captain's Wife - Jennifer said...

Oh man, I am jealous! I can't wait until we have greens like that growing! :) Do you put the lids on the containers when it is freezing or are they making it un-lidded? I have transplanted sunflowers successfully. Try to dig it up as a clump as to not disturb the roots and drop into a pre-dug hole, then fill in the gap with dirt from the hole and water well.

San Diego Farmgirl said...

Great post - your containers look fantastic! I'm a relative newbie to growing greens, so take my advice with a grain of salt - but I tend to haircut some of them, and try to also grow a few out to maturity. Still learning the right time to pick, though, as too many bolt before I get to them.

How do you make laundry soap? I've been using Borax and laundry soda and like them just fine, but always easier to make and keep in bulk. Borax is not cheap!

Robbyn said...

Jennifer, we left the tops off and they did just fine, believe it or not...maybe because the day temps didn't remain in the freezing zone like the night temps did? Thanks for the tips on the sunflowers!

Hey SanDiego gal! thanks :) I did the haircut thing but maybe I need to transplant a few and let them realize their full potential...we're in full trial-and-error mode, ack! I haven't made laundry soap yet but just went and got the ingredients this afternoon...sounds similar to yours. It's the laundry soda, borax,and grated Ivory soap (since I can't find Fels Naptha around here for the life of me) I'm going to add in some of that Oxy powder we already have that's a bleach alternative since we have white uniform shirts that HAVE to remain white at any cost. You're right, the darned borax was an arm and a had better last! We'll see how the homemade stuff works :) said...

I love your "salad bar garden"! I envy you the weather right now -- it seems that you have all the heat while the Georgians shiver in the cold!

I think it is just so cool that you have created "raised beds" in the containers. You are so creative!!


fullfreezer said...

Great post! I've got a few little lettuces under lights in the basement that I pick leaf by leaf- not even true hair cut style. I can't wait to get outside to feel the sun baking my back as well!
I've got an award for you. You can stop by my blog to pick it up.

P~ said...

Now that's just not fair at all. My garden is still frozen solid :(

The greens look awesome though. Good work!

Beautiful Each Day said...

Did your horseradish come from the grocery store?

Also, because I use my washing machine water for greywater for the garden I leave out the borax when I make my laundry powder. It still works fine. I find that allowing the clothes to soak overnight in plain water before washing makes a big difference, though.

Killi said...

I use washing soda & grated soap ~ haven't found any borax here & I'm not sure if it can go into the septic tank as ALL outlets go there (only the toilet should, but this is Ireland & they do it wrong!). I also use soapnuts

Robbyn said...

Lacy, thanks :) We're still not putting in permanent beds till we know where we'll be in the longterm. I'm happy a lot of things will grown in containers :)

Judy, thank you so much for the award...I'm honored!! That sun'll be your way before you know it and the green will start taking over again...ah, joy :)

P, your gardens are awesome! At least we can take advantage of the strange back-and-forth weather here with something that won't die back too much...I can't begin to tell you how many baby trees we've lost :(

BeautifulEachDay, yes it that bad that it came from the supermarket? I'm so glad to know about the borax...I had no idea. I may try it first without it before I open up the box...thanks for letting me know!

Killi, I havent used the soapnuts ever, but I hope to try growing some soapwort this year, and hope our little soapberry bush survived the's still dormant, so we'll see :)

Killi said...

I want soapwort I WANT IT NOW!!!

tracylynne said...

I never thought to start my greens in a bin-do you cover them at night? The arugula on its own is very nutty on its own-I usually add it to my salad greens. Nastursms take awhile to grow they do like direct sun. Have you tried planting potatoes or garlic? If so any suggestions for starting.