Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Planting Mustard and Kale

The cool winter weather is lingering in northern Florida and the home improvement centers have plants that are more suited for fall than spring.  The shelves are loaded with collards, broccoli, and cabbage.  The down side of planting the cold weather plants now is that they will not be harvested in time to give way for the spring garden.  However, I ended up with a 9-pack each of mustard greens and kale.

Mustard Plants
If I were to sow mustard seeds, they would take about 9 days to germinate and 50 -70 days to maturity.  The mustard greens are ready to plant and if nothing else, I will let them bloom to attract the neighbor's bees that he got during the recent cold spell.

I should have named the Back Forty the Serendipitous Garden because I never know exactly what to plant.  It depends on what is available at the garden centers. 

On the spur of the moment, I picked up kale.  Why?  I heard that Dr. Oz talked about it on his TV program, celebrities use kale in their smoothies, and kale is served in salads in fancy restaurants.

I have often mixed kale, mustard, and turnips in the garden and used the greens for cooking  Sometimes I have put them in the freezer after blanching, draining, cooling under running water, and packing the greens in quart size bags and put them in the freezer.

So the other day, I set out nine plants each of mustard greens and kale after turning the soil and making holes large enough to hold the plants.  They looked pretty nice in two straight rows.  Is this for the winter garden or for the spring garden?

Tip of the Day:  To prevent slugs from crawling up the plants and breaking off the stems, remove top and bottom from a small can or cut the same shape from a plastic bottle and set it down in the soil around your plant.   I have yet to try this myself but I have had many plants broken off in the past.

Thank you for visiting my blog. 

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