Get dirty, have fun and grow more food with great gardening tips from real-life gardeners.
It’s mid-May, time to harvest first crops from the rows of vegetables in the farm garden. CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) harvests begin next week. This week I started sneaking “test harvests” here and there. Sneak preview of the crops. WAHOO! My mouth is watering. Oh, I love my sweet succulent Fun Jen nappa cabbage. It’s like a salad — the lettuce and the celery all in one. This nappa is so delicate I never cook it. I use it raw in salad, rice wraps, sandwiches. It makes good kimchi also, but when the traditional nappa cabbage is ready (our variety is called Blues), I’ll prefer that for kimchi.
Kohlrabi is an interesting brassica, much more popular in Europe than the USA. We grow Kolibri Kohlrabi which has a purple skin. Some other varieties are white. We introduce our CSA members to these purple alien bulbs the first week of CSA harvests. I give slices as samples and then they love it. Kohlrabi is best in the cool spring months, fast growing, crisp and sweet. You can eat the greens, sautée or cook up as you would any other greens. For the bulb, you peel off the tough purple skin and eat the white bulb like a sweet mild radish. Really, it tastes like a broccoli stem. My kids eat them like apples.
We’ll have scallions, herbs, and other greens, maybe kale or chard ready for next week too. The beets are almost ready, their red round bulbs growing fast. We cluster two together when planting them (they like company). I can hardly wait to make my favorite beet salad. Boil them until they are soft, chop, and toss them with a honey balsamic vinaigrette. Chill.
I feel grateful for the harvest every time of year, but there is no time of greater anticipation than these first crops of the spring.
Ilene White Freedman operates House in the Woods organic CSA farm with her husband, Phil, in Frederick, Maryland. She blogs about making things from scratch, putting up the harvest, gardening and farm life at http://blog.houseinthewoods.com, easy to follow from our Facebook Page. For more about the farm, go to http://www.houseinthewoods.com.