I’m glad I did some harvesting on Saturday. This morning we woke to discover that there had been a hard frost in the night, one that actually affected these type of plants – collard greens, kale, cabbage, etc. I have kale and collard greens in my house waiting for me to make chips or freeze them, whichever I feel more inclined to do.
If I freeze them, I’ll be chopping them fine first, so they can easily be thrown into spaghetti sauce or soup.
If I make chips, I will be using this recipe, which is a variation on all the other kale chip recipes floating around in cyberspace.
1. Turn oven on to about 200 degrees.
2. Wash and dry the kale.
3. De-stem the leaves, then chop leaves into chip-sized pieces.
4. Throw them in a bowl and drizzle about 1 T olive oil per 7-8 leaves.
5. Throw in some sea salt and a squeeze of lemon if you have it.
6. Massage the kale with your hands – really mix in the oil and salt – make sure it’s all coated.
7. Oil a cookie sheet, or lay down some parchment paper.
8. Bake for 20 min or so – keep checking them – til they’re crispy.
9. I like to then throw mine in the dehydrator for awhile to really crisp them up. This is not necessary, though. Another variation is to skip the oven and just use the dehydrator. Some people also make a sauce of some type of nut butter and salt and other flavourings, to expand on the olive oil and sea salt taste.
For most of this past spring, this is what my deck looked like: it was covered in veggie seedlings soaking up the sun. Can you see why my greenhouse wish came true?
Here’s my hubby, installing the automatic vent openers in the greenhouse. He likes to use the deck for a good BBQ every now and then. Come to think of it, I think I have a photo of him and the BBQ from this spring….. yep. Here it is:
Not a lot of room there. He had to move a few trays to be able to stand in front of the BBQ.
I also wrecked a good portion of his nice-looking grass when I built Big Bertha.
I probably have the most patient and understanding husband in the universe. He totally got why I needed a greenhouse. I’m planning to increase my seedling production this year by a factor of about 6-7. We don’t have enough decks for that kind of growth, so obviously the solution is to install a greenhouse.
Living things struggle when they don’t have enough space; plants need room for leaves and roots. If you look at the first photo again, you’ll see a white tray by the rubber boots. It’s filled with brassica seedlings – I think Collard Greens, but could also be Cabbage. They look similar at that age. If you look at the black tray with square holes right behind it (farther toward the top of the pic), you’ll see brassica seedlings there too. Compare the size difference – the ones in the white tray are twice the size at least. The reason why? Space. The seeds were all sown at the same time. The lucky ones in the white tray were transplanted to give their roots more room. You can see the effect that had: they are some pretty nice-looking seedlings.
I am so incredibly excited to have a real greenhouse in my backyard that I can stand up in! I look forward to spreading my roots and establishing this kitchen garden business. Thanks to everyone who reads and encourages and challenges me to follow my passions. I’ve got room to grow.