Tag Archives: Kale

Day 10: Kale

Loving the longer days of February!

April12 Kale
Kale: I do not remember ever having or growing kale as a child or young bride. Somehow kale has become a must have vegetable in my garden. We love it in early spring when the overwintered kale puts out the sweetest, nuttiest broccoli like sprouts to ever grace a salad or bento. It is one of about 3 vegetables that keep my chickens happy year-round, and when I am in the mood for a green smoothie, home grown is the best!

Kale 2 February 20, 2018 Kale is so simple to direct seed into the spring garden, it almost seems silly to start her in the greenhouse. But I get a little bit silly in February before the real garden work begins.

Easy to transplant, I do not bother with soil blocks to start kale. Just drop seed into starting mix (or even just a scoop of good, moist, garden soil in a pot), scatter in seeds, cover a quarter inch deep and wait 5 to 17 days for sprouts. When the babies get their first set of true leaves they can be up-potted to their own 2 to 4 inch pots. Harden them off and plant your kale outside when they have 4 to 6 true leaves.

Kale 1 February 20, 2018 Here is the bottom line for starting spring Kale in the greenhouse.

  1. Fill a small container with moist starting mix or garden soil.
  2. Add Kale seed, about one-fourth inch apart, and one-fourth inch deep. Cover the seeds with vermiculite or soil.
  3. Label the container, mark your calendar or journal with dates to check for seedlings. You should see sprouts in 5 to 17 days.

Mark 9 February 18, 2018 The #NTin2018 (New Testament in 2018) reading today was Mark chapter 9. If you follow me on Instagram, I did a word study on “cloud” from Mark 9:7. I hope you are as jazzed as I was to discover the history of the glory cloud!

If yesterday in Everett, Washington had not been so blue-sky-beautiful, then I would think that today was nice. But it is overcast. I am still lighting candle lanterns in the greenhouse to keep it warm enough for sprouting seedlings, which seems pathetic after all the free radiant heat from yesterday. Such is the life of a cheap (or is that frugal?) subsistence farmer.

Debs… bringing in the humming bird feeders every night, they don’t seem to like sugar water pop-cycles.

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Sunday Snow

Just because we expect snow in February, it doesn’t always mean we welcome it.

Snow 2 February 18, 2018
The trouble with putting yourself on bud watch, or bulb watch or with starting seeds is the feeling that spring is coming. I guess snow is a nice change from all of the rain we have experienced in Everett, Washington, but this is not the change in weather that I was hoping for. I am thankful for the slice of spring I experience in the greenhouse!

Seeds February 18, 2018 I want to be that Proverbs 31 warrior, the one who laughs at the snow.

She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet. Proverbs 31:10

The regular Sabbath reading for this week is #19, Contributions. I was just reading one of the New Testament suggested readings, feeling a little bit sorry for myself because of my lust for spring. 2Corinthians 9:1-15 speaks of being ready to give, as might be expected from the Torah Portion title. After all of my fussing about forgetting to save some of my seeds and needing to order seeds that I usually save seed for, I came across these verses.

Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God 2Corinthians 9:10-11

Why do I worry? The Almighty takes care of me! I get to plant seeds that he provides. I get to watch things grow, I get to harvest and eat the most amazing food imaginable. I get to work outside. And I get to give of what He provides to bless others Hallelujah!

So I will continue with one day at a time planting. Maybe this week I’ll call it celebrating the greenhouse in the snow… maybe not. I will probably light a candle (or three) under a big clay pot to take the chill out of the atmosphere in the greenhouse. Spring is still coming.

The plan for this week, February 18-23

  • Fennel (including how to start seedlings for transplanting: 2/18/18)
  • Red and Green Cabbage (with instructions, 2/19/18)
  • Kale (so simple, you may not need directions, but here they are: 2/20/18)
  • Purple and Green Brussels Sprouts (with instructions, 2/21/18)
  • Dakota Peas (which I did happen to save, link includes my how-to video 2/22/18)
  • Frog Island Nation Fava Beans (February 23, with a dinner to table video)

Now, to find my old hiking candle lantern and a big dry clay pot to keep the frost off of my bay laurel and rosemary… both of which are far too large to sit on my kitchen table. Maybe I’ll be laughing at the snow after all.

Snow February 18, 2018 Winter Storm Warning! In Everett that means more snow and nights so cold that I will either  heat the green house -or- Ray and I will be hauling flats of seedlings from the greenhouse to the kitchen table every night. Suddenly I am glad that I did not use heat to sprout my seeds, they would be too tender!

This Week: Highs in the mid 30’s and lows in the lower 20’s. Do I keep planting? probably. What would you do?

Debs in wool socks.

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Between the Rain Drops… Mid April At The Toy Box Suburban Farm

Spring at The Toy Box Suburban Farm

Spring at The Toy Box Suburban Farm

Fits and starts, I think that is what it is called when nothing happens then everything happens then nothing again. Such is April. Every day I peek at the progress. It seems like nothing changes, until all of a sudden I see something new.

Parsley and Peas (Green Arrow)

Parsley and Peas (Green Arrow)

The trouble with daily peeks is not noticing the change. At first I had to get down on ground level to see the graceful arched stems of the peas pushing out of the ground. I have no idea how they got so large all of a sudden. These are Green Arrow shelling peas. We also have a short row of Canoe, Cascadia Snap, old fashioned Sugar Snap, an Italian snow pea and Tall Telephone (more per square foot then my favorite Maestro). Out front in the Back to Eden area there are some Dakota peas. I know, crazy, but I wanted to plant stuff and peas are ok with the cold of Saint Patricks Day.

Green Garlic

Green Garlic

All my garlic this year is volunteer. I took a chance, dug them up and seperated them. Then trimmed the leaves and roots like you would with leeks and replanted them. So far, so good but I am keeping my fingers crossed. I’ve never done this before. Looks good so far!

Kale Buds

Kale Buds

I have been plucking kale buds and tiny leaves from this plant all winter long. The poor thing is getting desperate to make seeds. The buds are starting to ripen up faster then I can tuck them into my lunches. The larger leaves have made some fantastic soups. My Bento’s get some of the tiny leaves with the spinach and radishes from the green house for the sweetest early salad that only gardeners in the Pacific North West get. One of the perks for putting up with all the rain.

Apple Blossoms

Apple Blossoms

One nice thing about the rain, it does make the air smell sweet! April 12, 2015 in Everett, Washington, it seems a little chilly. High 53, low 43. Even though there is only a 10% chance of rain, that 10% added a half inch of water to the rain gauge. Sunrise at 6:25, sunset at 7:54 giving us 13 hours and 29 minutes of a pretty spring day.

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What’s a farmer supposed to do on Rainy Days?

I’ve be waiting for a rainy day to get my starts going.

2014 in the greenhouse

2014 in the greenhouse

Late February, and I’m starting….

  • Artichokes (usually winter sown, so I’m crossing my fingers)
  • Parsley, both curly and Italian
  • Celery
  • Celeriac
  • Onions, Italian Torpedo, Cipollini (need to buy more yellow storage: New York Early)
  • Salad, (we have a lot to choose from!)
  • Leeks and Shallots
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Maybe a few peas in soil blocks instead of pots.

That’s what springs to my mind, what are you planing to start indoors this month?

Robins have returned to Everett, WA

Robins have returned to Everett, WA

Every grove of trees in Everett is alive with returning robins arguing over the best camping spot until they can get a permanent nest built. They will be building those nests in the rain today, Friday, February 20, 2015. The chill in the air probably means the rain will soon be replaced by blue sky, but today the forecast is at 70% chance of rain, 51/39 Sunrise at 7:06, Sunset at 5:39 giving us 10 hours and 33 minutes of wet daylight!

 

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Monster Kale

Just when we thought it was finished it puts out new growth.

Just when we thought it was finished it puts out new growth.

Honestly, we do not eat a lot of kale, but we have still been impressed. Another box holds our favorite, Red Russian kale. I was fixen to chop this one down (really, I think I need a hatchet) but decided to leave it for a while. The box it is in is tentatively scheduled to grow tomatoes this season so I have some time before it has to go.

Huge

Huge

It will take some work to get this giant out of the box. I almost hate to do it but I suspect there isn’t much left in the soil to feed it. Fennel is coming up under the monster. The fennel parent plants did not do well in the shade of the kale last season. Does anyone know? Seems like I have heard that if I let the kale go to seed I will be able to harvest broccoli like heads.

Red Russian Kale on a frosty morning

Red Russian Kale on a frosty morning

The Russian did not get as large as the Italian but it is a bit sweeter.  After a spring tease the PNW is back to the daily drip. 50:50 chance that it will be raining all day long. 46/37; Sunrise at 6:39, 11 hours and 22 minutes later it sets at 6:01. It is the 24th day of the Snow Moon (3rd qtr) so there is still time to plant your carrots in the PNW.

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The Snow Moon

Dull day, bright crocus. The yellows are already done.

Dull day, bright crocus. The yellows are already done.

Known as Adar in Hebrew, this last moon cycle allows impatient souls like me to begin the transition into the coming growing season. It is the time to be thankful for what was tucked into the pantry and freezer last season, a time for fresh appreciation of hardy vegetables that overwinter in the garden. The hens lay their eggs again. The grass is growing but the rain is too constant to mow. Daffodils and crocus renew my hope that spring will come again.

Top shelf veggies. Spring greens and 4 kinds of onions.

Top shelf veggies. Spring greens and 4 kinds of onions.

In the new greenhouse skinny little onions are just starting to get stocky. Water from the fish tank is all they need to grow straight and strong. My spring potatoes are chitting on a lower shelf. I have noticed that the tray of greens growing by the onions has a few no-shows. My favorite lettuce, Flashy Trout’s Back, did not sprout. Neither did the Australian Yellow. Both are from seed packets that were bought in the first season of the Toy Box. Only a few spinach, red and fordhook, have sprouted but spinach is always slow. But the Flashy Trout’s Back! Insisting that Ray take me downtown (Everett) to the Natural Food Co-op, the only local place I know of for Uprising Seed, I bought a fresh packet of Flashy Trout, but there was no Australian Yellow to be found on that small rack. Instead I bought a packet of butter head with a seductive description of silky leaves wrapped around a buttery, crisp heart. If I follow the moon phases then these will get a start when the next moon, The Worm Moon, is still dark.

Potatoes Just when I begin to wonder if I bought potatoes that have been treated to not sprout, I notice the first bit of tiny green swellings in the eyes. I need to remind myself that even old farmers don’t know everything. Patience is called for. It is still too early to plant even though this new practice of chitting starts so early in the season. Maybe it is just to give me something to do while I wait for spring to properly arrive.

Winter Sown purple cone flower

Winter Sown purple cone flower

No progress in the winter-sown containers. Even the sweet peas are still asleep.

In the garden the first 4×8 box has been planted with an abundance of all kinds of peas, fava beans too. They went in under the increasing light of the 2nd quarter of the moon before it became full. There is a row of squares that I plan to plant with carrots in this 3rd quarter, while the moonlight is still strong but daily waning.

Leeks, Celeraic, parsley, chard, kale and a bit of fennel.

Leeks, Celeraic, parsley, chard, kale and a bit of fennel.

Spring eggs are here! They smell amazing in the morning. Just in time for spring eggs, parsley and chives put out tender green shoots. Winter food gets a fresh taste with hardy kale, fat leeks, celeriac and the last of the winter carrots growing in the garden. Occasionally a bit of precious green garlic finds its way to the table. Tiny baby fennel adds a sweet licorice flavor when there isn’t any basil. There are even a few small potatoes volunteering in the old potato patch.

-I want to start a batch of wild yeast for biscuits. I have so much jelly to use before summer. Should be perfect with green omelets (from all the spring herbs!) Sourdough starter is one of those low maintenance, high return projects that should be perfect for a farmer with a day job.

Fixen what the wind blew down.

Fixen what the wind blew down.

March came roaring in on the South Wind. Had a few repairs to make in the morning. Saturday, March 2; how can the sky be as gray as Rays sweater but the sun still be shinning through? It is a blustery day, rain, shine and back to rain again. 55 to 60 degrees today and back down to the upper 30’s tonight. Sunrise at 6:47, setting 11 hours and 8 minutes later at 5:55. Fantastic!

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Under the fading Wolf Moon

The last two weeks of January and the first two weeks of February tend to be the most winter like in Everett, Washington. I read about snow in Robe Valley, home to us for nearly 25 years. Everett proves to be more wet than cold in 2013. We have not said good-by to the fading Wolf Moon, it could still get cold.

Still dreaming and planing

Still dreaming and planing

The Toy Box is keeping winter food ready for us. Celeriac, leeks, and kale. The hens have been resting, molting, but the occasional egg can be found in the nest box. Spring is coming but the pile of blankets on the bed tell me it is too early to plant or bring home chicks. Even so, I hear bird song on dog walks. My soul is ready to leap into farm girl life but my head tells me to rest a while longer. Maybe that is my right brain and left brain interacting. The flat of onions in the kitchen window smooths the gardening itch. Their spring green and black crowns give me something to fuss over while the days are still short and the school day is so long.

Seed from 2010, looks like the crisper drawer is a good place to store seed.

Seed from 2010, looks like the crisper drawer is a good place to store seed.

Peas will be the first seed into the garden, but not under this moon. That does not let me off the hook. The box they will live in is still full of leeks and celeriac that I hope to harvest this weekend. If I can get one of the boys to help me I’ll move the chicken tractor to that box so that the girls can work their magic. They will eat the weeds and grubs while turning and fertilizing the soil. Chickens are amazing. City birds connect me back to my roots.  Maybe while the girls do their work I’ll find the strength to turn that compost or make soil blocks for salad greens.

Anticipation

Anticipation

Season 4 coming soon. Today (February 1, 2013) at the Toy Box: Clouds still wintering overhead but not weeping. 50/36. Sunrise at 7:35, nine hours and 34 minutes later comes sunset and Sabbath at 5:09

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