Another update from our Farmer Mary Beth about our garden and why we should all be thankful for food.
As we all crowd into kitchens and around dining tables, prepping, chopping, baking, cooking, and devouring the nap-inducing Thanksgiving buffet, there is no better time to share a garden update giving thanks for our food. We are thankful to you all at Cooking Light for recognizing the excitement and the education behind growing your own. We are so thankful that you chose us as partners for the adventure! After yesterday’s delivery of three crates of greens, turnips, radishes, peppers, and eggs, perhaps you are also able to enjoy the harvest with your own families this Thursday.
Our Cooking Light garden has audibly sighed with relief as the days are finally below 75 degrees, while the nights are dipping into a few frosty lows. The extreme high/lows are not ideal for broccoli and cauliflower, though any leafy plants such as kale, mustard, turnips, cabbages and chard love this weather. We harvested turnips yesterday at 6:30am, eyeballing the thermometer reading of 34 degrees. For any of you who think it sounds so charming, so romantic to have a glorious vegetable garden…you are right. However, let’s be real. I’m not always skipping down the hill with butterflies on my shoulder, filling my basket with glossy peppers and juicy tomatoes. Yesterday, in the dark of the morning, I warily pulled the first thing I could find: my husband’s fleece sweatpants, which are about six inches shy of a decent ankle-grazing on me, IF you think fleece pants could ever be decent. Bundled in layers of old sweaters you’d wear only to paint walls or pick muddy turnips and a wool scarf so lip-curling ugly I never had the heart to re-gift, I trudged out to the turnip patch. David cut bundles of greens while we we laughed about newlywed farmer romantic moments like this. Twenty frozen fingers later, we have 40 pounds of perfectly round Snowball and Golden Globe turnips in the crate. That’s the bluebird-singing-butterfly-on-your-shoulder moment — when you realize after waiting for eight weeks with trepidation and worry and chasing off voles, there’s a perfectly heavenly round, earthy sweet turnip under there.
Of course, I also learned that we could have had more turnips for the taking had I spaced them farther than the recommended 2-4″. Not every plant developed roots but yet a massive “mess” of greens, as we like to call them in the South. I also confirmed what we already know for our Birmingham climate: radishes adore early spring and late fall. We picked the most perfect, plumpest Watermelon radishes of the year yesterday.
Radicchio is a fan of the chilly nights. The photo shows the deeper red coolers that flush with cooler temps. Small heads are beginning to form. Bright Lights chard is still small yet but will be one of the most brilliant plants of the garden well through summer next year. Expect more of that!
New this year is Blue Fizz kale. A cross between my favorite Lacinato and the popular Red Russian kale that you see in many ornamental pansy-filled landscape beds around town, this green-blue lacy kale is one I’m anxious to read taste-testing reports on. Stay tuned for cabbages and cole crops.
Thanks for the comments on our newest farm baby. We’ve named her Millie!