“We spent much of this week planning for the rest of the year. Seed order is almost finished now, thanks to Kirsten Liebl. There are some fun new things for 2016. We’re ordering mache, the tender, low-growing, cold-loving green also known as corn salad, or rapunzel. In the eponymous fairy tale, this is what Rapunzel’s pregnant mother craved so badly she sent Rapunzel’s father into the witch’s garden to steal it for her. The witch caught him, setting off the whole long-haired-girl-in-the-tower drama. That is one powerful plant.
We’re also growing a couple fancy-schmancy things like hericot vert, and Belgian endive. Hericot vert are thin, delicate green beans. The good old Fedco catalogue, usually pretty laid back, says these should be picked every 48 hours — or less –, “when pods are still stringless and thinner than a pencil.”
Belgian endive is an old Essex Farm favorite that Kirsten has positioned for a comeback. The seeds are grown out in the field for the season, then the roots are dug up in the fall, and stored until winter, when they are replanted, inside, in tubs of potting soil. This forcing must be done in total darkness in order to get the gorgeous, pale, mildly bitter leafy chicons. It’s a labor intensive magic trick, but so very delicious, especially in deep winter when other fresh leafy things are off the menu.
We’re adding a petite blue hubbard, Blue Ballet, to the winter squash repertoire, and switching over to a variety called Cargo for our jack-o-lantern pumpkins. Mark is advocating for a planting of blackberries to complement the raspberries. Once seed order is finalized, we will get it posted for members…” Continue Reading this Essex Farm Note.