Tatsoi in February

Do you wonder how you can join in the locovore movement when it’s so much easier running to the grocery after work and getting seduced by that plump red sweet pepper sitting proudly on the shelf? I feel the same way. Just taking one small step in the “eat what’s in season movement” can open the door to some delicious and healthy treats. Take for instance yesterday. I was rummaging around in the fridge and realized I had picked some tatsoi from the garden a few days back and it got lost behind some of my finds at the grocery. I was in such a hurry to get to work I dumped the bowl of tatsoi into my little glass lunch container along some grilled chicken and ran out the door. When lunch time came I pulled out my lot for the day and realized lunch was a bit slim, so I popped on over to Pasta and Co and picked up a little caesar dressing and a side of grilled veges. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the little spoon-shaped, slightly pungent tasting leaves of the tatsoi (spoon mustard). They were delicious, organic, a little bit of “home” at work and I realized I had been giving them the cold shoulder lately. I planted a 10″ square of seeds last fall of tatsoi  between some mixed winter greens and some left over lettuce struggling with the shorter days. It was a last-minute decision, I had read that tatsoi is a cold weather and fast growing green, why not try it along the collards, mustards, kale and peppercress? I planted the seeds close together since real estate was a bit scarce and thinking I would select the strongest seedlings to survive the winter. Before I knew it there was a happy crowded family in that little  space. So, this is what I did early winter. I yanked out the few remaining raggy unhappy stunted lettuces to make room for  the tatsoi,  each little one inch tall plant to its own spot, about 6″ apart.

Tatsoi ( front ) Kale and Mustards (back right)

It was gloomy and cold but I felt cautiously optimistic about these eager looking plants. I gently watered them with some compost tea. They grew slowly through the shortest days of the season but I did thin a few plants as they grew closer together and added the leaves to other leafy green salads and to stir fries too. In January Seattle got a thick snow fall that covered all of our winter greens and I wondered how those little plants would survive under the white blanket that lasted about four days. Guess what, they not only survived they were unscathed along with the other winter greens. I guess I am a doubting soul,  after all that is why I planted cold weather plants, geez louise, I feel like it is a miracle that those little tasty morsels are out there growing and ready to eat when we are still wearing wool and polar fleece to keep warm in the house. I love gardening. It is full of surprises, teaches patience, rislience….even hope. You would think after 40 years of being smitten with organic vegetable growing I would have a little more trust in the bounty the earth has to deliver. First, we need to plant the seeds and then have faith that nature will meet us eagerly.

Garden Calendar

Mid-February

Purchased seeds and seed starting mix

Planted spinach seeds in peat pots for a little experiment. Last year’s spinach sown directly in the soil had a low germination rate.

Planted Rainbow Swiss Chard seeds in a clay pot for the front porch

Organized and made a new box for seeds

Made a garden plan with Richard and reviewed last year’s winners and challenges

Divided crowded winter greens and transplanted  two each of the largest red kale and mustards to grow into larger plants

Mixed Winter Greens (used for harvesting young)

Harvesting:

Kale, Collards, Mustards, Pepper Cress, Tatsoi

Rosemary, Bay leaves, Parsley, Lemon Balm, Thyme and Oregano

A few calendula flowers for salads

Still Eating

 stored spaghetti squash, butternut squash and delicata squash

We have a few little potatoes left and one big baking potato from last summer’s harvest

TO DO AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

Plant lettuce  indoors and a few annual flower seeds

Plant  mustard, kale and collard seeds for fresh spring crop

Plant new rows of tatsoi

Dig up more grass to make way for  herbs and flowers

Cover up a bed with a plastic cloche to start drying it out for early pea planting

Lots more but those are the top ones for my list!

Dream of a beautiful bountiful garden

Goals for a healthier year:

Add more plain organic yogurt  (probiotics/calcium) into my diet, my daughter has strongly nudged me in this direction.

Learn to like sardines (high in omega 3’s and calcium)  Richard’s suggestion.  I bought a can at the co-op and I will eat those little things sometime this week,,,,eeks

Take turmeric daily as it is an amazing anti-inflammatory food.

Add ginkgo and coconut oil to my diet for brain food.

That’s a good start for me.

Ciao for now,

Lilly

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