Saturday, November 24, 2012

Kale growing again after late night deer feast

We actually had time (and warm weather) to clean up our family garden this past week after finally getting all of our 2013 garlic into the ground and mulched. Here are a few updated photos of our kale:

Our cleaned up family garden with the remaining three kale plants in the middle of the photo. The 60+ dead heirloom tomato plants plus the 2011 corn stalks are finally pulled out! And my husband is finally grinding the dried corn from the 2011 corn and making corn bread - delicious!! - far superior to any cornmeal or cornbread mix in the stores.  

The curly kale that the deer topped and ate most of the side leaves. You can see where the kale leaves are starting to grow back, little leafy nubs where each leaf was previously. Interesting, as I was cleaning up, I found tiny leaves perfectly intact on the ground. I wondered if the deer spit them out, but my husband wondered if they were just sloppy or clumsy chewers! 

The large and beautiful Red Russian kale plant that we will feast on for several weeks still, even with a bit of snow predicted for tomorrow morning. 

Close-up view of the Red Russian kale with rain drops from the short rain shower the night before this photo was taken the next afternoon. I was surprised by how long these drops lasted! 

The Lacinato kale variety was the one plant that was completely demolished by the deer. There was no post-mortem photo of it. The solar-powered battery that powers the electric fence around our family garden failed, leading to the brazen and successful attempt to crash over (through) the fence. Thankfully the battery was still under warranty with the replacement 'in the mail'. Of course my husband still needs to replace the missing fence, just one of the many winter projects on the list. :)

I had a fleeting thought about naming our farm The 365 Day Farm, but even I thought that might sound a bit overwhelming, and I want to be here! (PS - we did take Thanksgiving Day off, so I guess we could say we are The 364 Day Farm). But wait, if we do get chickens, geese, and goats, there is no 'day off' so we would be back to The 365 Day Farm. :)

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate, 365 days of the year!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD

Friday, November 23, 2012

Brassica Biology!

In case I have to confess (i.e., in case you have not noticed or come to your own conclusions), I am an unabashed science geek meaning that in addition to loving to taste, eat, and share recipes about kale (and its many Brassica cousins), I love knowing 'all things science' about kale and nearly everything else, from its nutrient and phytochemical contents to its health benefits, including all about how it grows or doesn't grow well and even how it affects the growth of other plants.

I don't have time to post everything I read about (or the questions I ask myself), but I just had to share a blog I found this morning (from finally reading some of my kale alerts) along with some posts on this blog about, what else?, Brassica vegetables.

I love having a background in both biology and nutrition, but somewhere in-between those two college degrees, my husband taught me how to cook, how to taste food, how to grow food, and (deep, dark confession here!) how to really, truly love and enjoy food, all foods as food, not just as biology and nutrients (he also has one degree in biology but has been way ahead of me, and way ahead of the current curve, of re-thinking nutrition to emphasize foods - d'oh! - not just nutrients), so how lucky am I?? Answer - I am both very lucky and very grateful. :) :)

So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for the readers of my kale blog (~1,000 of you are visiting this blog every single day of the year, even holidays - who would have guessed?!) and I want to share this great blog I just found called "The Botanist in the Kitchen - where botany meets the cutting board", along with their recent posts about Brassica vegetables. I have actually printed these posts out so I can read them in big print, at my leisure, underlining, making notes, adding sticky notes with questions, ideas for my own growing, projects for students, and blogging, etc, etc (I told you I love kale and other Brassicas and that I am a 'geek').  Here is the main blog and the three recent Brassica posts:

A repeat photo of my 'baby kale', now more like teen-aged kale and other spicy salad greens like arugula, mustards, baby bok choi, my two parsleys, and even some 'still hanging in there' nasturtiums. Today my baby greens may be experiencing the true end of summer (haha) as yesterday's very very unseasonable 60+ degree day on Thanksgiving Day dives down to the 30's complete with a stiff wind from the north bringing both snow and sleet. We had a very lovely home-grown Brassica salad for our Thanksgiving meal yesterday, which could not have been more local or fresher, with even my mother commenting on how beautiful and tasty these greens were.

All hale kale! I hope some of you enjoy reading the other articles I found (above) as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you!

Where kale is more than decoration on my plate!

Diana Dyer, MS, RD