Collards, Lettuce, Onions

Lettuce, collards, and much less visible onions

Lettuce, collards, and much less visible onions

11/28/2013 ~ I planted the collards and onions, above, outside in a huge pot a few weeks ago. The abundant lettuce, the light green seedlings, are all volunteers.

I meant to bring the pot in before snowfall, but that didn’t happen. When the snow fell, the collards had sprouted, and the onions, from Egyptian Walking Onion bulbs, were coming up ~ maybe not as vigorously as I’d hoped, but then I planted them rather more deeply than usual. The plants don’t look as if they grew any bigger after the snow fell. But, on the other hand, they appear to have survived the snowfall and low, 17* temperatures.

These are the wonderful Collards that fed me all summer and most of the fall

These are the wonderful Collards that fed me all summer and most of the fall

Today, the 28th, I’m bringing in the pot, as well as the pot of collards that I grew from seed planted last spring. I’ve picked the collard plants nearly clean, leaving tall, thick stems with a crown of a few leaves.

Collards are really good with a few caraway seeds added while cooking, and even better if you have a potato to add to the mix, along with onion and celery.

I had no idea I would love collards so much. But then, in London they were popular in the spring, and called, “spring greens.”

 

Collards I brought in from outside

Collards from outside

12/16/2013 ~ The collards I brought in from outside survived the snow and have been growing, not fast, but steadily. The leaves look bigger than they would if I’d taken the picture from the same distance as the first picture.

I found an article that said collards could grow to three feet high, so I’m hoping for more collard meals from this group, given tehn are about a foot high now.

Aren’t they neat looking?

Volunteer lettuce ~ the larger leaves sprouted outside in the high desert sun, the thread like stems are seedlings sprouted indoors with Solatube

larger leaves sprouted outside, thread like ones sprouted indoors w/ Solatube

 

12/16/2013 ~ The volunteer lettuce in the pot of newly planted collards and onions is in stark contrast to the seedlings that came up outside. Notice how the lettuce seedlings (top picture) that came up outside in full, high desert sun are squat, close to the ground, and have a look of forming a head of lettuce. In contrast the new seedlings are the thread like stems that abound in the picture at left, each with their pair of tiny leaves.

 

 

 

Collards on 12/26/2013

Collards on 12/26/2013

12/26/2013 ~ I’ve thinned out the collards that were not doing as well. Perhaps there wasn’t enough root-room for so many plants.  And, I added Azomite to the soil. I poured on a bit of the “rock dust” then forked it into the soil. Now, to wait and see if there’s a descernable difference in growth in the days to come.

People who reviewed Azomite on Amazon said they could see a difference in just a day. I wonder if that can possibly be true, that plants would so quickly respond.

I also transplanted a couple collard seedlings and a few lettuce seedlings from the crowded pot under my large T5 lamp, to the plantless pot under the T5. The soil in the plantless pot contains Azomite, Mycorrhizae, composted mulch and some previously potted soil.

I will be able to see if the Azomite makes a difference to the collards’ growth, since some are planted with Azomite, right next to ones without Azomite.

1/1/2014 ~ I can’t say the collard leaves were huge, or even “big” but they were crispy when I picked them and they smell very good added to my black eyed peas, Better than Bouillon Organic Chicken Base, brown rice and spices. Very good indeed!

So far, the collards seem the most eager to grow indoors with the minimal light I can provide.

1/4/2013 ~ I’ve been out of peanut butter for a couple days. Peanut butter is my protein of choice for breakfast, without it I feel starving. Yesterday I actually got shaky without protein to sustain me. Same thing was beginning to happen today until I remembered that last spring I used to lunch on my deck: eating lettuce, Indian Spinach, peas and radishes from my huge pots. On days I’d forget to have my “trowel tossed salad” I’d get to feeling so uncomfortably hungry.

That memory spurred me to have a few collard leaves, some celery and a few dandelion leaves, along with two amino acid capsules, and I feel vastly better. Happiness!!!

Celery Safir and Strawberry Spinach are doing quite well in my Collards pot

Celery Safir and Strawberry Spinach are doing quite well in my Collards pot

I’m beginning to think that if I want to grow veggies indoors during the winter my best bet might be to see which ones do well in the indoor light and low heat, rather than trying to grow veggies I would most like to have on hand.

The Celery Safir in the picture is the same group of plants that are showing as brown in the first picture of the collards after I brought them in, with snow all around their stems (above). I cut the celery back, which in the past has always been the first step to a new batch growing.

The Strawberry Spinach comes up all over. It looked beautiful last summer, with the “strawberries” it forms, but I failed to take a picture while it was at its prime, later it wasn’t as spectacular and I decided to wait for the next flush of beauty.

The “strawberries” taste like spinach, so… I’m not a fan.

However, it reseeds like crazy from those little strawberries, and the seeds seem eager to grow indoors. So, perhaps I should rethink this plant and begin to appreciate it as spinach rather than a would-be strawberry.

Lettuce and collards are flourishing under the large T5 lamp

Lettuce & collards flourishing under T5 lamp

1/9/2014 ~ Lettuce and collards, above are the same ones shown in the first photo on this page. They are flourishing, assuming I don’t care that the lettuce leaves are a little thinner grown under the T5 lamp, than they are when grown in sunshine. I’ve thinned the lettuce several times.

The onions are making me happy. They took ages to come up, making me fear that I’d killed them by planting their bulbs too deep.

collards growing well under T5 bulbs

collards growing well under T5 bulbs

1/23/2014 ~ My collards are growing really well under the two, long T5 bulbs. Which is really good because the collards that were tall plants outside are beginning to look a lot less happy.

I’ve been thinning them, hoping that would improve their vigor, but it hasn’t seemed to help.

So, I’m not picking not just the leaves but the whole top part of the plant for dinner. They are Delicious with curry and lentils. Fresh collard leaves in the curry mix makes all the difference!!!

I’m beginning to wonder when I can plant some in a pot that lives outside.

2/6/2014 ~ I just had a totally Lovely salad, quite a nice sized salad, made of lettuce grown here in my living room, with the help of my Solatube and T5 bulbs. Happiness!

CollardsCrop

Happy collards in the sunshine

6/23/2014 ~ This is one of the collards from under the T5 lamp. The leaves have grown huge outside in the sunshine.

It’s provided me with several excellent meals, and the promise of more to come.

I’m attributing the gigantic leaves to the rock dust I added.

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