Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Doing things the chard way

You know someone is a nerd when they start making puns about vegetables.  Today's honor goes to Brazoria County Master Gardener Jim Molony, who penned a Bay Area News feature title "Chard for life: Under appreciated green good for you, easy to grow"

Nerdy or not, what he says in this article is true, and then some:

While most greens, including lettuces, collards, kale and cabbages, to name a few, tend to bolt or fade as soon as the hot Texas summers arrives, chard keeps right on going until the very hottest part of the summer, and even then it usually doesn’t die, it just dies back a bit and then returns as good as ever in the fall.

I'm not a southern girl but I love my greens done southern-style (but not over-cooked), and chard can be difficult to buy (mustard greens and kale tend to be more common).  Even when I would buy it, it tended to be very bitter and very expensive (about $4.00 per bunch at Whole Foods, which historically has had some of the better-quality stuff).   A year and a half ago when I stuck a couple of bunches of "rainbow" chard into my garden, I didn't have high hopes for their success.  I figured it would be bitter and would fail to thrive (because it's a cold-weather vegetable), but I like to experiment, so what the heck.

To my surprise, it turned out to be some of the best-tasting chard I've ever had, not bitter, and the original plants I installed eighteen months ago are still producing table-worthy servings.
It's also photogenic. 
This yellow stuff fared best over the awful summer of 2011.
The red stuff didn't stand up to the summer heat as well,
but bounced back in the fall.
This is what the original chard mostly looked like,
before it was selectively bred to produce colors.
So there you have it, for those of you who are gardeners - and I'm constantly surprised by the number of people in Centerpointe who are gardeners.  We don't have a formal gardening group going in the neighborhood at this point, but here in Section 9 alone, our gardeners include a fruit tree specialist, an Ag student with an extensive vegetable array, a family growing ethnic Asian vegetables, a stay-at-home Mom currently starting up a new vegetable garden for her kids, and of course your blogger, champion chard-grower (but actually I just stuck it in the soil and let nature take over from there), and those are just the gardeners I know about.
Yes, we DO eat some of our landscaping,
thanks very much.  :-)

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