Thursday, March 31, 2016

Grow Journey seeds are up first!

If spring is a race in the vegetable garden then Grow Journey's Spinach 'Verdil' is the winner, here at Chez Mosquito in Brooklyn. I'm pretty sure the germination rate is about 100%.

I would not have planted spinach this year, because I had back luck with it some years ago on our Cobble Hill rooftop, probably because the plastic troughs were in full sun (and I mean all-day full, sunrise to sunset) and got too hot; plastic makes for poor insulation, and spinach loves cool soil and air. But the welcome surprise element in every Seeds of the Month envelope that arrives in the mail is that some selections nudge me, as I have written before, out of my comfort zone.

Today I started to thin the seedlings, which is a bit heartbreaking: you live! you die! But I washed the rejects all off and ate them. I signed into my Grow Journey account to jog my memory about the 'Verdil' cultivar - one of the valuable features of membership is that your whole seed history is saved - if you forget something or need to learn more about seed you received months before, it is all there for you. 

And what I was looking for was this: "‘Verdil’ was bred by Kultursaat, a German non-profit that uses biodynamic growing techniques. Medium to large arrow-shaped semi-savoy leaves (“semi-savoy” means the leaves have a more upright growth habit to prevent mud splashes and grit, “savoy” types hug the ground more closely to make them more winter hardy)." 

Since grit (rather than absorption) is the real issue in my leaded garden, this is a good thing. Cleaning upright-growing leaves will be so much easier.

Beets! I consider myself too impatient for many root crops, especially where space is at a premium. BUT. I have been doing a lot of reading and writing recently about morogo (the South African edible weed stew), and beet leaves are mentioned often, as a substitute for - ironically - the edible 'weeds' that are also known as morogo. I am hungry for this delicious bowlful. And when I make borscht, I always include the leaves and stems of the beetroot because they are very succulent and have a wonderful flavour. I don't know why they are not sold more often as leafy greens. So the beets in my March envelope were planted this week:'Early Wonder Tall Top.'

Rewind to early February, when I had itchy gardening fingers and could not plant anything outdoors. I sowed my December package of 'Golden Frills' mustard along with some leftover brassicas from last year in a sunny windowsill tray, and ate them a couple of weeks later. This small forest satisfied my garden longings, which are at their worst in late winter, when we all start warm-weather seeds like tomatoes indoors, way earlier than we should.

Peppery. home-grown organic microgreens, cheese, home made sourdough. Very simple, and very good.

Grow Journey offers a free 30-day trial for all US states. You'll also have site-access to read and learn about garden bed preparation techniques for March, including advice about no-till methods, and what mulches and cover crops really mean.)

Garden on!


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