Posts Tagged ‘Kale’

First Snow

Autumn and Winter danced this morning, with lacinato and purple kale chaperones.


Garden Update: The Good, The Bad, and the Undetermined

Despite last week’s heatwave into the mid-nineties, which we had not reached all Summer, signs of Autumn continue to reveal themselves. A cool breeze here, crunchy leaves there, along with more squirrel activity than I’ve seen since Spring.


It’s also the start of Fall bulb planting season, and — since CPL (crazy plant lady) ordered those bulbs before what turned out to be a slightly dislocated rib causing all the neck and upper chest pain — I’ve got a lot of bulbs to plant. Not the 1,000 I planted Continue reading

Edible Flowers

I just got a newsletter update from the Phoenix-based Agriscaping with Justin Rohner. We have snow on the ground here in Indiana, and I know much of the East Coast is undergoing “Snowmageddon.” Who doesn’t like flowers, though? If you live in a warmer climate zone, you can grow these now. If you’re shivering inside, you can start planning for spring or just enjoy the virtual blooms:

Kale Cat: Come Hither Kale Strikes Again!

Back in December 2013, my Blue Scotch Kale began sending out pheromones and/or seductive telepathic vibes to my non-kale eating friends! David and I had a good chuckle, which I shared in a now nearly two year old post, Come Hither Kale, Mr. Candyland Game, Seductive Books, and a Black-Eyed Gnome. There’s just something special about that kale!

All Summer, my friend Linette has told me how much their cat loves my kale, and now she’s sent the photos to prove it. Here’s Sasha basking in the love of kale:

Sasha loves kale!

Sasha loves kale!

Kale Cat 2

Apparently, Sasha also loves to nibble on kale and roll around in it like catnip. Well, then! I guess we’ll see who else the Blue Scotch Kale seduces this Fall. Lacinato here just gets eaten, but apparently, Blue Scotch also loves to flirt.

Garden Fresh in January

Some people have inquired if David and I still have garden produce now that we’ve officially entered winter. Indeed, we do! Yesterday afternoon I harvested a bunch of kale, chard, collards and spinach, and our Fairy Tale Pumpkins have continued to ripen indoors. I had planted carrots all over the place as part of a beneficial bugs cover crop mixture, so we’ve also got white carrots galore, which I harvest whenever desired. Below, you can see the Fairy Tale Pumpkin we cut and steamed last night, along with a carrot and the greens:

pumpkin greens and carrot

Part of the steamed pumpkin will go to the freezer, but last night we made a curried coconut pumpkin soup with adzuki beans, celery, homegrown dehydrated and powdered kale, and homegrown carrots. Super yum! We’ll enjoy leftovers later this week. The night before, we used some green tomato salsa I had canned in Fall 2013 — as an enchilada sauce over refried beans, homegrown and frozen serpent gourd (tastes like zucchini), onions, garlic, homegrown jalapeno, and organic corn tortillas. So yummy we forgot to snap a photo!

Beginning today, we’ll have a week of single digit or even negative lows, hence the abundance of greens harvested. Still, I’ve got thick AGRIBON row covers over thinner row covers under a cold frame, so I suspect at least those plants will live. The kale and collards came from our uncovered front yard garden, which has continued to produce with zero protection.

The indoor plants are less happy due to an almost total lack of sun for months; however, I’m mentally telling Mr. Meyer Lemon tree about the Bealtaine Cottage revival of a discarded, forlorn lemon tree found in the compost. You can do it, Meyer! Although I refuse to put fluorescent lights in our home, I do try to make up for that by bribing faeries with raw emeralds and dropping a crystal elixer from Tania Marie onto the ailing avocado and lemon trees. Just a few more months before porch time! You can do it. 🙂

Winter Garden Update ~ Plants Alive After Minus 15 Degrees!

We had some rain and above freezing temperatures, so I opened the cold frame to see if anything had survived the verrrrry deep freeze earlier this week. Um, wow. Many of my plants are still alive! I didn’t harvest much, but you can see some kale, tat soi and radish greens here:

January greens after deep freeze

David snapped this Suessian photo of our Winterbor kale earlier in the week:

January kale

That and the other two Winterbor varieties are still alive. The dwarf Siberian, lacinato and outside Red Russian kale all look pretty frostbitten, but the Siberian and Red Russian might make a comeback. I also lifted the shower curtain I have covering one of the InstaBeds with the tree collards, intending to overwinter that favorite perennial. It had about 8 inches of snow on top, but the tree collards, Lucullus chard, cilantro and leeks were all still alive with no frost burn, either. In the cold frame, the Lucullus chard looked less happy, but it remains alive, along with thyme, collard greens, beets, carrots and more. Pretty amazing.

We might be one of the very few local people to have greens growing after the insanely cold (minus forty with the windchill) early part of this week. We noticed our co-op had zero local greens and even minimum fresh offerings from elsewhere. I remember that from last year, which is one reason I felt so adamant about having a winter garden this year. No sign of my mache yet, but supposedly those seeds are super slow to germinate. We shall see…

Time to eat a stirfry with some of those fresh greens thrown in. Yay!

Winter Wonderland in Goshen

The frost faeries graced our porch this morning.

The frost faeries graced our porch this morning.

Even the Foo Dogs are cold!

Even the Foo Dogs are cold!

As of yesterday, the cold frame was hunkered down in two feet of snow, even after a brush off.

As of yesterday, the cold frame was hunkered down in two feet of snow, even after a brush off.

I harvested a bunch and a half of Winterbor kale before the heaviest snows piled on. (This photo shows about 4 inches less snow than we have.)

I harvested a bunch and a half of Winterbor kale before the heaviest snows piled on. (This photo shows about 4 inches less snow than we have.)

Snow time in Faery Town (houses courtesy of Grandma Van), but their train keeps running. :)

Snow time in Faery Town (houses courtesy of Grandma Van), but their train keeps running. 🙂

Where the morning glories were ...

Where the morning glories were …

Just inside from the above photo!

Just inside from the above photo!

This little birdie watches over the gnomes, foo dogs and faery homes. Minus forty with the windchill, but warm-hearted cheer on the porch!

This little birdie watches over the gnomes, foo dogs and faery homes. Minus forty with the windchill, but warm-hearted cheer on the porch!

Come Hither Kale, Mr. Candyland Game, Seductive Books and a Black-Eyed Gnome

My kale has apparently been sending out pheromones and/or seductive telepathic vibes to my non-kale eating friends! Today, while out to tea with me, my non-kale-friendly friend, Suzanna, happened to mention with a gleam in her eye, “I just keep thinking about your kale! You know I don’t really like kale, but I keep thinking about yours.” She smiled a dreamy smile.

“That’s kind of strange,” I said, “because David’s sister sent me an email last night about my kale, and we have never known her or any member of her little family to eat kale, either! It was quite a passionate email: ‘Ask David about ground kale in mashed potatoes. Maybe we can have some of that at Christmas, if you love us enough.’ And then today, David’s dad drove by, saw me repotting pineapple sage in the garage and stopped over for a visit. We walked back to the gardens and he said for the first time ever, ‘Do you think I could get a couple leaves of that kale?’ That’s three people in less than twelve hours asking about my kale.”

“Three non-kale-eaters,” Suzanna replied, then added with another gleam in her eye, “that we know of!”

She mentioned having seen some photos of kale on my blog “awhile back” and I asked if she had seen my horizontal kale.

horizontal kale

She wasn’t sure she had, but when I described how this one had decided to stretch out across the newly opened garden bed, we both started laughing. “That must be the one!” she said. In my mind, I saw my kale [un]dressed as a reclining nude, seductively beckoning my non-kale-eating friends and perhaps even unknown others.

Well, that little giggle fest reminded me of my bizarre dream this morning after a brief bout of insomnia. I awoke at 4:22 a.m. — tired, but for the life of me I could not fall back to sleep. Even my usual trick of lying on my stomach with pillow against my crown did not produce the desired snooze. I finally played my most reliable insomnia trick: I asked the faeries for a Dream. Lulling myself into the dream, instead of counting sheep, for some reason, I found myself in a classroom with someone writing on the chalkboard all the different ways to spell “Whatchu” as in “Whatchu talkin’ about, Willis?” Who knew there were so many ways?!

When David’s alarm went off, I was deep in the middle of dream in which our house was completely decked out for Christmas. Every nook and cranny and surface had some sort of Christmas bling on it. Someone presented me with a huge stocking with LAURA written in glitter, and then a large “man” rounded the corner and nearly ran me over. Was he The Candy Man? You tell me! He had on bright orange tights and clown makeup with a jester’s cap, and his entire torso was the Candyland game box.

“I’m the only Game in town,” he said.

“Yeah, all the rest are Jokes!”

I looked around to see who’d said that, and a bunch of little guys appeared in blue apparel — kind of a cross between Santa’s elves and Smurfs, except with blue clothes instead of blue skin. They elbowed each other and guffawed. I looked at their name tags, “Punch Line Joke,” “Very Punny Joke” and others like that — about as many Joke names as there were ways to spell “Whatchu.”

“I’m the only Game in town,” boomed Mr. Candyland Game.

“Yeah, all the rest are Jokes!” The little blue clad men suddenly stood in front of all the shops in downtown Goshen, and the Game stood proudly in front of his. “I’m the only Game in town.” “Yeah, all the rest are …”

And then I woke up.

Those faeries and elves are having fun with me. On the way home from tea, I got a little poke in the brain to “Go to the bookstore!”

“Are you serious?” I thought, “I was just telling Suz I’m reading twelve books right now. They better have bookmarks there.”

“Just go! We’ll even change the light for you, so you don’t have to stand in the cold on the corner.” At that very moment, the crosswalk sign switched to Walk again, even though I had not pushed the button, and the intersection had most assuredly not gone through its cycle.

I went into Better World Books and found myself at the gardening section. Surprise, surprise! One title caught my eye right away: “The New Victory Garden” by Bob Thomson. I rolled my eyes, because imho, I have bought more than enough gardening books this year.

“Look at the price!” blasted across my brain, followed by almost palpable, excited, energetic giggles. I turned it over, and how ’bout that, this new book was marked $4.98.

“Too good to pass up, dontcha think?” Wink, wink, and more of those high vibe giggles that were much more felt than heard.

“Okay, okay…”

“But wait! There’s more.”

And so there was …

I then found myself in the spiritual section. Yep, another big surprise there. I scanned the shelves, because I could feel Something waiting for me. Nothing jumped out at me, but I got a sudden urge to pull out a book whose title did nothing for me. Behind that book was tucked, “A Field Guide to Irish Fairies,” by Bob Curran. Pure, crystalline laughter tinkled across my brain. I started to walk away, both books in hand, when I felt a tug, a raised eyebrow and a silent, “Ahem!!!” at the back of my head.

I picked a different, non-attractive-to-me book off the shelf, and hidden behind it, flat against the back of the bookshelf was “Irish Fairy Tales,” by Joseph Jacobs. I gathered my three books and received a “You may pass.” Why, thank you, kind freakshows. 😉 Since I was already buying books, I figured I’d have a look around, maybe get some coffee beans for my brother or a book for someone else. Apparently, not! Let’s just say, various synchronous “no’s” appeared as obvious road blocks after all the synchronous “yes’s.” I bought the three come hither books. You’ll notice that, despite my best efforts at turning the iPhone around all 360 degrees and attempting to edit the photos, these books nonetheless refused to be photographed in anything resembling a normal way:

Faery books

And did the bookstore have “Better World Books” bookmarks that I could tuck into my newly purchased books? Why, no, of course they didn’t! You know why? I do. Because before I left the house today and mentioned to both David and Suzanna that I had run out of bookmarks and “needed some more,” I received the ever so slightly gleeful and mischievous intuitive message that “Faeries prefer Alphonse Mucha postcards.” Sure enough, I’ve been quickly running through these beauties, not only for my more recent books, but also for books I had been reading but set aside to make way for the current twelve. It has not escaped my attention that most of the postcards just happen to look like faeries:

Alphonse Mucha

Nor has it escaped my attention that our house gnome, known to us by his code name, “Alphonse,” currently has a black eye because he caught his hat (aka “Ferdinand”) on my coat last week. When I put him back together, everything fit fine and no black eye showed up. Instead, a huge amount of energy surged out of the gnome like a sigh of relief and expansion.

The black eye came a few nights later, after I had just reiterated to David that “Alphonse has outgrown his shell.” We had left a laundry basket near portal Door Number 4 where Alphonse stands, and somehow — I really don’t even know how, because this was logistically not plausible — my feet did a mid-air, both off the ground at the same time swish, causing me to kick the laundry basket directly into Alphonse, knocking off both (hat) Ferdinand and a tiny piece around Alphonse’s eye. We had intended to glue the piece back on, but apparently, this gnome enjoys his new bruiser look. Every time we plan to glue him together, some strange situation or distraction intervenes to derail that project.

What can I say? We employ him as an “energetic bouncer.” Maybe that black eye makes him more intimidating to undesirables:

Black-Eyed Alphonse

Black-Eyed Alphonse

So yeah, kind of a kooky day. And week. And month and year. Such is the bizarreness of life intertwined with the Faery Realm. What have I learned? I don’t know, but I sure do laugh a lot! 😉

Horizontal Kale and Other Gardening Fun

That title is not an exaggeration! Check out my Winterbor Kale:

horizontal kale

Although my other two Winterbor’s continue upright, this one decided to tip all the way over on his side and shimmy himself clear of the second and bottom InstaBed tiers. Quite the creative wind support! You can see he’s made friends with the French Sorrel, which made a surprising recovery once the giant cherry tomato plant stopped hogging all the light.

In addition to this horizontal action, we’ve got some new long rows ready to rot down in preparation for additional trellis action next Summer. I’ve added two more of these rows, and I have three more trellises to use. If I get everything else done, I might even figure out the next location for the final of our six “combo panel” trellises:

vertical gardening prep

The rosemary and asparagus have settled into Fall’s chill, with the rosemary reminding me daily that I need to dig her up and repot for the Winter:

rosemary and asparagus

We’ve still got the cold frame “Guarden Bed,” which David’s going to help me windproof a bit more, along with a protective tarp “skirt” around the edges. You can see I also added concrete blocks to the back as a northerly windbreak. Those blocks will eventually stand beneath our rain barrels, but I like the alternate seasonal uses for them:

Guarden Cold frame

Despite some wind issues, the Guarden continues to produce amazing goodies. I pulled a nice, big turnip today, along with “a whole messa greens.” Outside, you can’t even tell I removed anything from the lush bed. Our bellies will know, though. Dinner in twenty!

turnip and messa greens