Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Clansgian at wmconnect.com
Sun Feb 21 13:25:47 EST 2010
Just back from the garden and the first real view of it since November.
Most winters there are ample days to play around spading and raking beds,
removing haulms and weeds, etc. But this year since mid October the ground has
either been subject to gale winds, under half a foot of snow, or both, and
worse. At noon it's already 60 degrees and bright sunny.
Last fall before the 'Three Years Winter' set in, I had all and sundry
brassicas growing as winter greens, kale of various kinds, collards, broccoli
sprouts, and such. Most winters there's at least a taste of green all through
the winter from those. Not this winter. The snow even dashed down the
stockiest and hardiest collards and black palm kale.
Some years back I began to grow all manner of oriental greens in the
gardens. Bac Choi, Joi Choi, and I'm not sure I recall them all. One, though, we
grow quite a bit of, tsa-tsoi (also rendered ta-tsoi, tat-soi, and sever
others). By the bye, soi, tsoi, choi, and other spellings are attempts at
transliterating the Chinese word for cabbage or brassica.
Ta-tsoi grows as a tight rosette of spoon shaped leaves with the bowl of
the spoon the deepest green and the 'handle' bright white. Mostly we've grown
it in the spring where it will get the size and shape of a teacup and then
quickly bolt to seed. It grows in the summer with the rosettes getting
smaller and smaller before they bolt as the weather gets warmer.
It is simply one of the most delicious greens there is, equally good raw
and cooked. The leaves and stems are thick like a succulent and so you'd
expect that it would not stand up to freezing much, although it is reputed to be
a very cold weather crop.
Well, last fall I managed to get a fairly large bed of seedlings out before
the bad weather beplagued us. All through the winter this or that green
would succumb. First the mizuna and rocket, then spinach and lettuce, then
mustard and kale, and finally the black kale and collards. But every time the
snow would recede a bit, there would be this dark green poking out of the
The snow and ice have finally retreated revealing a garden that has heaved
and pitched with the frost for months and without descrimination taken down
every living thing.
Except the ta-tsoi.
The rosettes are the size of dinner plates with all the leaves hugging
close to the ground, deep green and no sign of any type of damage whatever.
Like most of these oriental greens, you'd have to work hard and not being
able to save seed. Ta-tsoi bolts easily in warm weather and presents you
with neat pods of seeds that closely resemble radish seed pods, about that size.
More information about the Homestead