Rosslyn Gardens: Time to Reseed the Greens

Spinach seedlings in a raised bed... in August?!?!
Spinach seedlings… in August?!?!

It’s time for a late summer gardening update. The August heat’s been great for cycling and wake surfing, and for fast-tracking veggies (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, squash, melons, corn, artichokes, cucumbers, leaks, broccoli and Brussels sprouts) after a rainy June.

But hot, hot days also pose some challenges, especially for the leafy green vegetables like lettuce and spinach which are especially sensitive to high heat. Too much baking sun for too long and both will bolt before your eyes.

Over the last week I’ve pulled up and composted all of the remaining greens. And this weekend I replanted.

Nero di Toscana kale seedlings in a raised bed.
Nero di Toscana kale seedlings in a raised bed.

In addition to a new crop of lettuce and spinach, I’m experimenting with greens that I normally plant early in the summer. I would’ve planted kale and Swiss chard at the same time that we put in most of the other early summer vegetable transplants, but an incredibly rainy June didn’t offer amenable growing conditions. By the time the rains passed at the beginning of July, I was racing to try and catch up, and the kale and Swiss chard fell by the wayside.

So I decided to plant both now.

I expect that neither will reach maturity before autumn frosts stunt their growth, but I’m curious to see how they fare. The seeds emerged almost overnight, and I figure even premature kale and Swiss chard will be delicious to eat in late September and early October. I stuck with my favorite kale, Nero di Toscana, but I’m trying two unfamiliar varieties of Swiss chard, Fordhook Giant and Magenta Sunset.

Swiss chard seedlings in a raised bed.
Swiss chard seedlings in a raised bed.

In the second and third photographs kale (left) and Swiss chard (right) flank a row of beets, the only veggie I didn’t compost in this raised bed.

Although I love eating beets, we receive more than enough in our farm share from Full and By Farm, so I grow beets for their “green” instead. Including these beautiful violet black leaves in a salad adds welcome color and a slightly sweet earthiness that everyone seems to enjoy.

I’m confident that the spinach and lettuce seedlings will be ready-to-eat by the end of the month, but the kale and chard are a gamble. I have no idea whether or not they’ll be large enough to eat before frost up some…

I’ll update you when the time comes!

About virtualDavis

A writer, storyteller and unabashed flâneur, George Davis (aka virtualDavis or G.G. Davis, Jr.) is the author of Rosslyn Redux: Reawakening a home, a dream and ourselves, a transmedia chronicle about rehabilitating an historic property in the Adirondacks with his bride. He blogs about storytelling, poetry, doodling, marginalia, flânerie, publishing, and other creativity-inspired esoterica at virtualDavis.com; posts sometimes exhilarating, often unnerving, occasionally euphoric, and always pollyanna "midlife mashups" at 40x41.com; chronicles his sailing adventures (and misadventures) at Sailing Errant; and delves into matters of parenting, babylandia, and childfreedom at Why No Kids? George formerly taught and coached at Santa Fe Preparatory School and The American School of Paris, and he co-founded and launched Maison Margaux: "Paris à la parisienne" in Faubourg Saint-Germain. He currently owns and operates Adobe Oasis in Santa Fe, New Mexico with his bride. George meanders on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube and Flickr.
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2 Responses to Rosslyn Gardens: Time to Reseed the Greens

  1. Christina Byrd says:

    Hi,
    I recently found an old letter written by my Great Grandmother in April 1939. In it was a seed list which I am trying to duplicate as closely as possible to plant an heirloom garden. She had on the list Lake Champlain Muskmelon which I have not been able to locate. Have you ever heard of it or something similar that might still be around today?

    • virtualDavis says:

      Thank you for bringing this wonderful fruit to my attention. Prior to reading your question I’d never before heard of a Lake Champlain Muskmelon. But now I too am intrigued! I found a reference in the February 1, 1919 issue of the Market Growers a Journal. I’ll keep looking, and please let me know if you learn anything further. Would be fun to find seeds from an heirloom seed banks d propagate them once again on the shores of Lake Champlain… 🙂

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