Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Sunday, November 1, 2009


If you follow this blog, you know that I am sort of crazy about greens (this week’s photo is what I harvested this weekend, which included some lovely and tasty nasturtium blossoms and a few pimento peppers). This is the time of the year to plant and harvest great greens in central VA. I started planting some greens in August, and planted more every few weeks, up to a few days ago. I will continue to plant them every few weeks into December, maybe later. Of course, my greatest greens triumph this fall is arugula, which volunteered.

So, what am I planting? Pinetree Gardens winter lettuce mix and their standard lettuce mix, mustard greens, kale and chard. The plants look healthy, large and leafy and we have been harvesting them for about a month. It is not too late to plant more, especially if you can provide a little winter protection, like a clear, plastic sheeting tunnel, a cold frame or even a cloche for individual plants, made from a plastic soda bottle or milk jug (cut the bottom not all the way off, using the outwardly folded, but still attached, bottom to anchor the bottle in the soil with a landscape pin. Cover individual lettuces with the bottle cloche, making sure the cap is off. This will extend your season significantly).

What do I do with these greens? 1. I braise them in a heavy-bottomed pan: heat olive oil, add greens, garlic, chopped onions and ¼ cup stock, wine or balsamic vinegar. Put on the lid and cook until the greens wilt (you can caramelize the onions first, then add the greens, garlic and liquid for a different flavor). You can vary this by adding shredded carrot, mushrooms, celery. 2. Tonight I made orichette pasta by hand (you can use store bought). I took a glass baking dish, put about 1 T olive oil in it and put it in a warm oven. I sited onions, garlic, herbs and dried tomatoes (from the garden too!) in olive oil in a pan on the stove top. When that was done, I took roughly torn chard and arugula, put in the glass baking dish, added the onion mix, the cooked pasta and topped it with grated Parmesan cheese. I let the cheese melt and warm through-YUM! 3. I will often chop the greens and add them to soups near the end of cooking, finely chop them and put them under the tomato sauce on a home-made pizza, eat them in a salad, and sauté them and fold them into an omelet with cheese.

Happy gardening! And eating!


Anita said...

Your recipes sound absolutely delicious!

I like your blog picture, too - bright and colorful.

Judy Thomas said...

Thanks Anita- I hope to post more quick recipes soon! If you grow vegetables and/or fruit, you need to know how to cook and preserve them.