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Gail's lemonade stand (Store of Cool Stuff)
Cool Stuff
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Clearing of the garden - cherries, potatoes, carrots, chard, kale, collards
Topic: kale

We're going to have a frost any day now, and I'm leaving town soon for a couple of weeks, so it's time to harvest everything I can.  The Evans (Bali) cherry trees had a good fruit set this year, but they did not all ripen.  I've been picking the ripe fruit for a couple of weeks, but 2 days ago I picked every full sized cherry.  They are ripening on the counter in an open plastic bag, and I go through them each day and select out the ripe ones to eat.  I like them best fresh, but they're supposed to be pie cherries (they are tart).

I harvested 50 potatoes from a round bin about 3 feet across that I placed on my back deck.  The potatoes did better than usual, I believe, because I used fish pellets (Organic Alaska brand).  Potatoes seem to be hungry.  I have black beauty, peanut, and yukon gold.

The carrots that I grew from seed outside are small, three to six inches long.  A friend gave me some she started indoors, and they grew full size, but the ends were curled around because I didn't get them transplanted straight.   I grew a mix of colors.

It was a good year for Swiss chard, cool and rainy.  I've been harvesting and eating it, I've never tried freezing it.

The Red Russian kale and dinosaur kale were my best performers.  The collards did well but the ones grown from seed outside didn't achieve their full size - they need to be started early indoors to do best.

There is still good lettuce in the garden.  For some reason the slugs have not destroyed it this year, for the first time.  Maybe it was too cold for the slugs?  I'm not going to even be able to eat it all, but it's too small to give away.

Posted by gail_heineman at 4:35 PM YDT
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Sunday, 10 August 2008
Preserving greens for the winter
Topic: kale

The Red Russian kale were crowded and the slugs had started on them, so I picked the lower leaves and pulled some of the smaller plants to give them air and space.  Normally I would have thinned them earlier, but there just isn't as much leaf per plant this year, with the lack of sun.  Anyway, I blanched and froze a sink full. 

I made a big pot of Caldo Verde with galego greens (Spanish Collards).  Some of the plants were grown from seed produced in my yard last year, a warm year.  The plants are just forming heads now - no seed this year.  Unlike other kole plants I have experience with, the fact they form heads doesn't seem to detract from leaf formation.  They just keep getting taller and growing more full size leaves. 

Posted by gail_heineman at 6:52 PM YDT
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Friday, 27 July 2007
Harvest kale to freeze
Topic: kale

The kale is thick and bushy so I cut, blanched and froze as much as I could stand.  I thinned out entire plants, and cut off just the lower leavees of the bushiest plants.  Red Russian and Dinosaur have the biggest leaves, but several other varieties contributed.  I stuffed a grocery sack full to overflowing, too much to even stuff in my oversize sink, and yet after steam blanching it, it shrunk down into just four sandwich-size plastic containers to freeze.  This winter I will drop those frozen greens into spaghetti sauce, or cook it just a little more with tomato sauce, garlic and a little bit of chili over penne pasta with parmesan.  I know from experience that these blanched greens taste much fresher than the tired "fresh" greens we have in the grocery store in the middle of winter.

After harvest, the garden looks better.  I plant things too closely together - I never think it all will live!   

Posted by gail_heineman at 10:02 AM YDT
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