“Jumping the gun” refers to a contestant in a race surging ahead of the starter’s pistol. If there was a “ready, set, go” for spring, I’d be penalized for getting seriously ahead the game.
Last Tuesday I stayed home from work to bring my mother to her doctor for a complicated consultation. After the bad news and instructions we had soup at the Morninglory Bakery to strategize and get a little closure. Then I brought her to her house for a much-needed nap and took myself home for an unscheduled afternoon.
The weather was lovely Tuesday afternoon. A side effect of the long February stretch of rain is that the temperature has held steady at around 38 degrees, night and day, for a week. On my way in to the house I noticed that the garden beds by the front door had thawed, and that a few parsley and lettuce plants from last fall were green and sprouting. It wasn’t much of a stretch to consider planting out some of those seedlings from down cellar, so I raced upstairs, changed into garden-ready-wear and had at it.
I roughed the soil with a hand fork, removed dead foliage, protected a few surviving lettuce seedlings (they look pretty good!) with straw and planted:
3252TZ Toraziroh (45 days) Open-pollinated. Brassica alboglabra A robust performer with just the right kind of mustardy zest. Rapidly develops prolific yields of very dark green large leaves distinctively but not overwhelmingly pungent. In two years of trials won many favorable reviews from brassica lovers. Stems, also edible, have a flavor somewhat like pac choy. Relatively slow to bolt.
3221TS Tatsoi (45 days) Open-pollinated. Brassica rapa (narinosa group) What grows quickly, can be seeded as late as August and withstands frost? Yes, Tatsoi, also known as Tah Tsai. Anne Elder picked it all fall into December even after a snow melt-off. In winter it was still not burnt by cold and remained sweet. “A dream come true for snow-dwelling beings craving greens.” Survived Roberta’s overwintering trial. Spoon-shaped thick dark green leaves make beautiful compact rosettes with mild brassica flavor. Good stir-fried and in soups. Will come back when cut. Since our purchaser Nikos Kavanya first brought it to our attention, it has become an essential ingredient in our salads and mesclun.
3218SP Senposai (40 days) F-1 hybrid. This exciting green, developed in Japan, is a cross between Japanese Mustard Spinach (Komatsuna Brassica rapa) and regular cabbage. Round medium-green leaves are wonderful in okonamiyaki or for braising. A spring sowing will stand the entire summer (even through drought) and well into fall before bolting. Can be overwintered in warmer climes or used for spring greenhouse salad production because it grows so rapidly. Open plant habit requires 12–18″ spacing.
3223YN Yokatta-Na (21 days baby; 45 days mature) Brassica rapa (narinosa group) F-1 hybrid. Quick-growing and versatile, this is the same cultivar we formerly sold as Yukosai Bitamin-Na. Tolerating both heat and cold, it can extend your season at either end, while simultaneously broadening your culinary range. Use it either raw in salad mixes or cooked in stir fries. The deep green tender leaves, though flavorful, lack the mustard “bite” found in so many Asian greens and can be harvested as a cut-and-come-again crop or at maturity.
Then I watered everything in and covered the bed with Agribon
. Salad in 21 days! Maybe.
All seeds and descriptions courtesy of Fedco
. And the next tool in the garden is going to be a sickle from Maine Scythe Supply