Everyone likes to talk about the silver linings of the pandemic, and mine is my garden. I spend a great deal of time there, fussing and tending and nurturing and thinking. I’ve always had a garden, but this year I’m taking much more time and care with it. It shows. There are nascent tomatoes and beans, basil and squash, corn and cucumbers. I am not the only one who learns life lessons from gardening–actually I’m not sure who doesn’t. One of my takeaways this year is seeing how focus and devotion pays off.
Another takeaway is less spiritual, and more of a learning curve on growing amazing greens. I’ve had such bad luck with cabbage moth caterpillars in recent years, and I haven’t had a good crop of brassica greens since. Last summer, my greens were devastated by these new black and yellow worms. After last year’s truly abysmal gardening season, I asked a friend of mine, who is a professional, what to do. She said that due to climate change there are a number of factors that are affecting growing, new bugs coming from southern climes being one of them. She planned on using row covers from now on. So, this year, I implemented row covers. I couldn’t help but to think of them being masks for my plants, keeping the bugs away. And, you know what? It worked. I have so many greens, I am now a greens delivery service, dropping off greens on unsuspecting friends and neighbors.
My three favorite greens this year:
Komatsuna – So fast growing, tender, eats like a mild salad green when young, but as it gets bigger can handle sautéing.
Tokyo Bekana – I love this chartreuse plant–it’s leaves are frilled like a loose lettuce plant. It’s mild, crisp, delicious and gorgeous. I’m letting a few go to seed so I can grow it next year.
Yod Fa – Deep green leaves that look a bit like a cross between kale and broccoli. It takes a while to get going, but then it seems very sturdy.