The most recent issue of Mother Earth News has an article titled How to Easily Grow High-Yielding Greens. I was attracted to Groninger Blue collard-kale and Loose Leaf Chinese Cabbage. It took an Internet search to find Fertile Valley Seeds. ~~ Have you had any experience with these garden veggies?? Personally, I love salads!! I plan to concentrate on salad items in my Garden Tower.
From Carol Deppe and her Fertile Valley Seeds, an excerpt:
GREENS, EAT-ALL GREENS GARDEN VARIETIES
Most of the greens I grow are not heads or buds like cabbage or broccoli. Those are excellent for shipping and storage. But for home gardeners they are not nearly as productive per unit space or amount of labor as growing certain varieties of leafy greens in a pattern I call the “eat-all greens garden.” My new book, The Tao of Vegetable Gardening has an entire chapter about the eat-all greens garden and the varieties I’ve found that work for it. I discovered the Eat-All Greens Garden approach with Green Wave Mustard by accident about 20 years ago, and have worked on developing the approach and finding additional varieties that will work with it since then. I think this approach and these varieties have the potential to completely transform the growing of nutritious greens everywhere from the small urban garden to the commercial frozen greens operation. The Eat-All Greens Garden approach is particularly appropriate for small gardens, however, as it permits growing lots more greens per unit space available. The basic characteristics of good eat-all varieties are: 1) They grow very fast and very vigorously so that a crop can be produced in a month or two, and the land can produce many crops per year. 2) The entire top of the plants—stem and leaves—is edible and tender, so you can harvest by clear-cutting the entire top of the patch with a serrated kitchen knife. 3) The varieties are so vigorous that when the seed is broadcast at appropriate density the plants outgrow and shade out weeds. No weeding is required. 4) The varieties are upright in growth habit at proper spacing so that they stay clean and no washing in the kitchen is needed. (At least in areas with clean air.) With the harvest being 100% edible and already clean, prep time in the kitchen is minimal. The minimal labor in both the garden and kitchen makes the eat-all crops the ideal greens for blanching and freezing or drying for winter. These varieties should also be much more economical to produce as commercial frozen vegetables than spinach. All have more substance to them than spinach, and all are tastier as well as much easier to grow and process. 5) The eat-all varieties all produce a large amount of biomass for the amount of space—up to half a pound of edible harvest per square foot in just a month or two. Three of the eat-all varieties may be planted in early spring. This early planting combined with the fast growth means you can harvest an entire eat-all crop and then use the same land later in spring for tomatoes or other warm-season vegetables. The thinnings and baby leaf stage of eat-all greens can be used raw in salads or sandwiches. I use the full-size main eat-all greens harvest in stir-fries, soups, stews, and as “messes o’ greens.” (For a “mess o’ greens,” boil very briefly, drain, then dress with salt and pepper and something oily or fatty and something sour. Examples: oil, vinegar, and Italian seasonings; meat drippings and vinegar; fried bacon, bacon grease, and vinegar. Or lemon juice or sauerkraut instead of vinegar. Or dress greens with salt, pepper, and vinegar or lemon only and serve under a chunk of fatty fish such as baked salmon or canned herring. Or use cooked cold greens with your favorite salad dressing.) I also dry eat-all greens for use in winter soups and stews, as delicious herbal tea. With eat-all crops, it’s easy to grow all the greens you need for summer and freeze or dry enough for a family for winter with minimal space and labor.
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**GRONINGER BLUE COLLARD-KALE (Brassica napus) New Introduction to this list and to U.S. This is my new favorite kale of all time. In extensive tests of kales, this is the only one I’ve found that meets the criteria necessary to be an eat-all variety. Most kales do not grow fast enough or have enough biomass as young plants, and/or do not have central stems that are succulent. Groninger, has the purplish stems and leaves of other Red Russian types. However, the leaves are whole and undivided. And the plants grow much more rapidly. And the young plants produce a tremendous amount of biomass in a short time, and the entire plant is succulent. Excellent flavor planted in spring and used in summer or in July for harvest fall, winter, and spring. This is a Dutch heirloom that apparently has been grown primarily using the eat-all style for centuries. All the best characteristics of both a collard and a kale. Groninger overwinters well in both maritime Oregon and continental Canada. In the three years I have grown it it overwintered with no damage at all and made huge 6 foot high flowering bushes in spring. Grow for eat-all in beds from mid-spring on. Can also be grown with the same style as ordinary kale. (I thank William Dam Seeds for preserving this heirloom in Canada as part of their Dutch-Canadian heritage.) At least 1 TBS. seed — $5. 1 pound of seed — $150.
*LOOSE LEAF CHINESE CABBAGE–TOKYO BEKANA (Brassica rapa) Good eat-all variety. Very vigorous, fast growing, unfussy loose leaf cabbage that is mostly leaf instead of stem. Distinctive yellow-green color, great flavor, and crunchy texture. Great in salads or as cooking greens. 30 days to eat-all stage; 45 days to loose heads. I think this variety is the best Chinese cabbage for salads. It’s also great in stir-fries, soups, and stews, and should be excellent for kimchee. I’m guessing that Tokyo Bekana is more nutritious than most Chinese cabbage since it is more leaf and less stem. Flower scapes are also edible. Color is so beautiful I find myself using Tokyo Bekana as a catch crop partly just to add more of its glorious splashes of bright chartreuse to the landscape. Plant late spring through early fall. At least 1 TSP. of seed — $5.