Just as March came in a like a Lion with a snow storm and new lambing in the barn, due to the pressure change, they just love to have little ones in the worst weather possable, thankfully it was a older ewe and she had them safe and sound in their bedding area in the big barn.
So here is my Opps, as you know, we retired the truck and are down to the van for the moment, I was off the farm all day at my eco-farm, and hubby was gone all day on sunday at his writers workshop, and he has been at work this week during the day and somehow, its March 1st, and I never did get my last Feb $10 dollar a week challange shopping done, which means that I am entering into this with a really bare bones in regards to fresh food in the house (and that’s a understatement!)
I am heavily debating on if I am going to cut myself some slack and go use my allowed funds or if I am going to slap myself for just not finding the time and now I am just going to have to pay the price..
Which brings me to the garden part of this post: I am going to talk about one of my favorite winter greens, both for in the house growing(works well in a cool house) winter Sowning in pots and for winter cold frames.
Mache or Corn Salad or Lambs lettuce.. Different names-Same Plant!
A little history: Corn salad was originally foraged by European peasants It has also been used as food in Britain for many centuries and appears in John Gerard’s Herbal of 1597 but only became commercially available there in the 1980s. It was grown commercially in London from the late 18th/early 19th century and appeared on markets as a winter vegetable.
Mache so far has done well overwintered in my cold frames and even better in a cold frame in a cold hoops house. This green is very soft for use, its never going to give you a nice crunch in a salad but it has a lovely nutty flavour that I really enjoy.
One of the best things about this plant is that it is very easy to save seed and also to self-sown it in the gardens giving you a wonderful fresh crop in the spring, if you have not winter seeded them, the rule I like to use is if I can work the soil enough to plant peas, I can plant the seeds for Mache. The only thing is that with most plants that will easily self-sow, it will happily plant itself where it was not expected but as it goes by seeds, its still easier to control then those that spread by their root system.
Now I would love to be able to give advice on which kinds to grow but I got free seeds at the local free-cycle group years ago and have been growing it ever since, and it came with no breed to go with the name, so I can’t.. I think? it is might be Vit. They will never get very big, you are harvesting what most folks would consider at mico greens stage, however, you don’t have to do each leaf, you can cut and clean and use them in their little bunches.
Having said that my books all say to start Mache 10-12 weeks before the last spring frost in your cold frame or hoop house, and 6 to 8 weeks for direct sow in the garden, this plant does not do well in the heat of the summer, but you can start again in the fall, with 6 to 8 weeks or so before the first fall frost date (however I have pushed this one, I have gone as close as 4 weeks and still had good results) As you would guess this is a very healthy green, its very high in Vit A along with a number of others..
Warning: Chickens, Ducks, Rabbits and every other four legged critter on a farm loves this green and protection must be given or else you will find your chickens devouring it with gusto as soon as it comes up or just when you think fall planted, overwintered crop is perfect for spring harvest, if given a chance the chickens will clean you out!
Lunch- Pasta leftover from last night, pasta with fresh greens(grown in pots in the house) and homemade pasta sauce “jerk” flavour 2011
Supper-Ground Hoggot (1 year old lamb), Potato’s(storage from garden 2011), Fried Onions(fresh ontario)/Green Peppers (freezer from garden 2011)
Drinks/Snacks-Water, Coffee, Mint Tea, Poppy Seed Cake