Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sorting Through My Seed Stash, Beet Growing Tips, and Planting by the Moon: Garden Journal 2/25/12

Cluster of beet greens, all sprouted from one seed -
Beautiful, nutritious beet greens, all sprouted from one little beet seed (which is actually a dried fruit containing a cluster of 2 to 6 seeds).

You'll find more about growing beets in my previous post, How To Grow Beets from Seed and Why You Should. And Caramelized Beets with Garlic is my favorite beet recipe.

Realization of the Day:
I currently have 13 unopened packets of heirloom beet seeds in my posession—the newest from 2009. I may need a repeat of that 2007 massive seed packet purge.

Organized gardeners probably sort through their old seeds before placing their new seed orders. I finally placed my first seed order for 2012 last Thursday, and then decided to dig out all of my various (actually somewhat organized!) containers of seeds.

Thankfully I hadn't ordered any beet seeds.

More below. . .

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Easy How To: Grow Asian Greens Like Bok Choy, Pak Choy, Tatsoi, and Mizuna by Direct Seeding in the Garden

Asian greens in the kitchen garden 10-10-06
Gorgeous gourmet Asian greens: not available in most stores.

There are many things to consider when deciding what to plant in your vegetable garden: available space and time, soil conditions, time of year, cost of growing vs. buying (or is buying even an option?), how much you love to eat it, past performance, etc. And, perhaps most importantly, does it do well in your location?

When I moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to rural Missouri back in 1994, I was surprised to discover that while nearly everyone around here planted a vegetable garden each spring, many people grew nothing but beans, corn, tomatoes, and potatoes.

I quickly learned that with our extremely fickle climate and growing conditions, these are the crops most likely to reward you with a decent harvest, but even they're not guaranteed. Plus people just aren't into stuff like basil and Swiss chard and arugula—which thankfully also do well here.

I've also had good luck growing all sorts of Asian (Oriental) greens, which you can't find for sale in this area. There are numerous types of Asian green seeds available, and it's fun to experiment with different varieties. Large leaf ton ho or wong bok cabbage, anyone? Fast growing mizuna is one of my favorites. It's often stir-fried (I'm crazy about my Lodge cast iron wok), but I love it best in salads.

More below. . .