Last week I planted spinach, lettuce and arugula in some of the cold frame beds. You could say I planted salad greens, but I like to think of it as actually planting salads. The greens are so fast growing, you can plant the greens and be eating salads from them a few weeks later. All lettuces are not created alike though, so I planted some of my favorite varieties. Back in late August I started seeds of Oakleaf, Simpson Elite, Red Sails and Spotted Trout indoors under lights. The Oakleaf did not germinate, which means I need to get some fresh seed, but the others came up in no time.
I also started some spinach seeds, including the Space, Viroflay and Giant Winter varieties. Sowing spinach seed outside this time of year is usually a recipe for failure. Spinach germinates best when temperatures are cooler than 70°F, and when they are above 75°F it often refuses to germinate at all. Our basement is hot in summer, hotter than 75°F during the day, so I got less than 50% germination of the spinach. But I compensated by starting extra, so I wound up with about 30 plants. It’s even hotter outside though, and sowing the seeds outside in late August rarely works, with the seed often rotting before it sprouts. The arugula and lettuce had no problems with the high temps inside though and came up nicely.
I’ve had good luck starting spinach indoors and then setting out when it has at least two true leaves. Barbara Pleasant is a fan of doing it this way too, and you can read more about the subject with her article “Getting a Good Stand of Garden Spinach.” It makes for interesting reading, and I will be trying her trick of ‘priming’ the seeds the next time I start some. Since I had a limited number of spinach plants, I set them out a bit farther apart than usual. Normally I crowd them up when sowing then thin out at least half of them when they are big enough to eat.
Joining the spinach in one bed was some arugula and lettuce. Red Sails is a dependable leaf lettuce for me. Started at the same time as the spinach, the lettuce grew quite a bit faster. I’ll wait a week or so before I mulch these plants, as I don’t want to encourage the slugs or sowbugs to get after the young seedlings.
I know some of you are thinking “but aren’t sowbugs beneficial?” Well, they are if they are on the compost pile, but they have wreaked havoc on seedlings here this year, and I’m talking about healthy seedlings too. Mulching early could be one of the causes, which is one reason I am going to wait. I also sprinkled Sluggo Plus on the bed after planting. This organic product has spinosad in addition to iron phosphate to control slugs, snail, pillbugs, sowbugs and earwigs, to name a few pests.
Above is a photo of what one bed looked like after planting and watering. This one has spinach, arugula and lettuce planted. I’ll post another photo of it in a few weeks, and hopefully it will be full of salad greens!
The bed next door has had kohlrabi planted for about a month now. That’s Kolibri in the above photo, and it will soon be big enough to harvest. I love kohlrabi, and it’s always a treat when we have it it. Fortunately it stores well in the refrigerator, or in a cool root cellar. Some of these have a little slug damage on the skin and leaves but not enough to hurt anything.
I planted a dozen lettuce plants in the bed with the kohlrabi. That’s Spotted Trout in the above photo. It’s another favorite of mine.
The Slobolt lettuce in that bed is big enough to eat. It’s on the far right in the above photo. I need to start some more lettuce and spinach to replace those Slotbolt plants when I pull them, and to plant in other spots as they open up.
In other news, we have been enjoying the Delicata and Gold Nugget squashes. They are two of my favorite ones for individual servings.
And I baked a loaf of Barley Wheat bread this week. It’s another recipe from Whole Grain Breads by Machine or Hand by Beatrice A. Ojakangas. The barley flour gives the bread a great flavor, not to mention extra fiber.
I took the Maule’s Red Hot peppers I was fermenting last week and made a chili garlic sauce with them. After scraping the seeds off the peppers, I put them in the food processor along with a bit of sugar and vinegar, and a generous amount of freshly minced/crushed garlic. I added a bit of the salty brine too, and then whirred the whole thing up to a fairly fine consistency. I was quite happy with the final product. I love the extra flavor that the fermenting adds, and I can see me doing this again in the future.
That’s all I have for now. I hope you have enjoyed this recap of what’s going on here at HA!