Today’s Planting: Cauliflower, Romanesco, Broccoli, Cabbage, Eggplant, Peppers, Herbs
Whew, it’s been a big week in the greenhouse. I’m sore from mixing potting soil and carrying stacks of flats. (Obviously, I didn’t stay in shape over the winter.) But I’m not complaining. Working out there on a day like today is something I actually fall asleep thinking about. I can’t wait to get up and get out there! The warm sunshine, the smell of dirt and the promise of amazing food in just a few months…
Last Friday a few Workshare Members got the cauliflower and romanesco seeded into plugs, and it had already sprouted by Sunday morning. This is a time of year that seems to run on fast-forward and these brassica plants are good mascots. Especially the romanesco, a version of broccoli crossed with cauliflower that looks like a plant from a science fiction movie – it is growing at an alarming rate and we hope it won’t become the plant that ate Blanchardville.
We also started Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage – a small, green, pointed-headed variety that will be ready early in the season, versus the big round cabbages we’ll start later to harvest in fall. Red Express cabbage also went in plugs – and will be ready to eat by June! The final brassicas we started yesterday were broccoli and kohlrabi – another science-fiction favorite.
Yesterday we seeded 10-plus varieties of eggplant, in various shapes, sizes and colors, as well as the sweet peppers and some of the chilis. The eggplant, in particular, need a lot of time and a lot of nurture – we’ll probably plant them through black plastic this year to give them some extra heat, and cover them with spun fabric covers to protect them from flea and potato beetles. Peppers, which were a disappointment for most farmers in our area last year, usually do great here if we put bricks at their feet to discourage weeds and release heat to them overnight. Both the peppers and eggplant get started in tiny little cells and will be “potted on” in a few weeks to bigger containers where they’ll stay until the threat of frost is past in our valley. They won’t get out in the ground until halfway through May.
We like to give out herb plants with our first couple of CSA boxes, as well as include cut herbs later throughout the season. So we started lots of thyme, dill, and new for us this year – lemongrass!
Today we’ll actually take a break from planting, mix up some more soil and re-arrange the greenhouse to make room for everything that will need space next week. Some food for thought:
Kumquat and Red Cabbage Slaw
from Willy Street Reader
1/2 red cabbage, sliced thinly and cut into 2 inch strips
1 1/4 cup finely shredded carrots
1 c. finely shredded daikon, or other radish
12-15 kumquats, cut into thin slices like wagon wheels
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
2 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. olive or peanut oil
2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
2 Tbs. champagne vinegar
2 Tbs. brown rice vinegar
2 tsp. sweet white miso
2 Tbs. agave syrup
1 tsp salt
1 tsp. hot sauce
2 Tbs. citrus juice
2 Tbs. fresh ginger
Prepare slaw ingredients. Mix in a large bowl. Combine the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, whisking thoroughly. Pour dressing over the veggies. Stir, then let sit 1 hour at room temperature, or overnight in the fridge. Toss before serving and garnish with chopped cilantro.