Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Patient Garden Crops: Chard. Fordhook Chard.
So, I want to like chard. It's immensely patient. Last year, I bought a six-pack of rainbow chard seedlings and made them wait and wait and wait for me to plant them, until I was sure they were dead. But they forgave me and grew. They kept growing, all year, while I ignored them. Well, I occasionally gave some leaves away, I think, but I didn't eat any myself.
They survived the winter and grew again this spring, while I ignored them. I tried to pull them out and the big roots said, "Yeah, right," in a display of patience that might be more accurately described as stubbornness. Only when the weather turned hot in their second summer did they finally bolt. We cut them down to the nub, and even then, they resprouted salad-quality leaves. Finally, a few weeks ago, I wrestled them out once and for all--I think that the bolting diluted their stubbornness.
A grand success in terms of patience. A complete failure in terms of food. I don't like chard. At least, I don't like big cooked chard leaves.
But friends like it. And I like it fine in restaurant salads. And the nice man at the food pantry assures me that they'd be happy to take any extra. So I'm going to plant some seeds of Fordhook chard.
Look! Fordhook chard! Pretty! (Image from Territorial, the folks that I ordered the seed from.)
Fordhook is described as having huge leaves, and therefore the very young leaves are also reputed to be extra-large. My theory is that I'll plant it at a fairly narrow spacing and keep it cut for those baby leaves, but when I inevitably let it get out of hand, then I'll just cut it for big leaves and give them away, and wait for the plants to sprout the baby leaves again. The net result would be--if all goes according to plan--salad greens that find summer heat not too upsetting. Patient salad greens.
Dig for Plenty Image: Wikimedia Commons.
Chard Image: Territorial Seed Company.