January 10, 2012

fresh cut

As far as gardening seasons go, I have to say that winter is one of my favorites. Counterintuitive, yes, but between the rain and the hardy cold-weather plants, it's taking very little effort on my part to have a productive garden.

Our bok choi, which is measuring at about 15 inches round, has been perfect for stir fry (with grocery store carrots, celery, broccoli, and ginger). The collard greens have made their way into this savory cobbler with cornmeal biscuits, and the lettuce makes for a perfect last-minute lunchtime salad. It's amazing what can be done with such a smattering of leafy greens. They inspire creativity in the kitchen, and save money at the grocery store. They replenish themselves and grow back bolder and braver with each cut.

What's not to love? Here is our bed of collards, chard, spinach, and kale. I planted these together, so that no matter what I cut can be interchanged in recipes fairly easily; kale works in smoothies just like spinach, and all of them can cook down in a saute pan. So far, so good:

And now, we've got little heads of broccoli and the tiniest brussels sprouts arriving. I'm simply giddy with garden joy! Look how precious they are! It's fascinating to me to see these things grow; even a farm-raised gal like me didn't know how many of the brassicas grew in their own environment. The brussels sprouts especially surprised me, with their tiny buds showing up overnight, it seemed.

Here's some broccoli about to bloom...

And here's a head on another plant, about 4 inches around. Gardening folks say to harvest it when each little leaf-ette is about the size of a match head, so we're close to enjoying this for dinner.

The garden brings such joy in such small, leafy packages. How's your garden growing?