Tag Archives: turnip greens

Spring Snarky Thoughts 2014

The Snarky Gardener is ready for the growing season

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The Snarky Gardener at an apple pruning workshop – 3/29/2014

Spring has been a fun and interesting time to be a snarky gardener. I’ve taken in some workshops, and taken in some new edible varieties. Last year was all about growing my own starts and saving seeds. This year so far seems to be about expanding my knowledge, contacts (through Food Not Lawns and the Kent Community TimeBank), and perennial plantings.

In March I took two workshops – one for bee keeping and one for tree pruning. Looks like bees will be a future project though now I’m now a member of the Stark County (Ohio) Beekeepers Association (even have a cool membership card in my wallet). A very passionate group but I’m not quite ready to have so many little lives dependent on me. The tree pruning workshop did pay immediate benefits as there’s an old apple tree way in the back yard. I’m not real fond of getting up on a ladder but the tree is 30 feet tall so not much a choice.  It did produce (small and holey) fruit last year and I’m hoping for better this season.  In early May, I attended a WordPress “camp”, where I picked up new knowledge to help these blog entries and this site be better for you.  I also concluded my permaculture class prematurely as my schedule has been full as of late.

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May 2014 Garden Plan

With permaculture slowly but surely changing my point of view, I’ve taken some steps to make my domain more permanent and perennial.  My two part article written earlier this year discussed perennial plant possibilities and I’ve taken steps to make them reality.  For the Snarky Garden, Egyptian Walking onions, ground nuts, mushrooms, strawberry spinach, and perennial kale (from Territorial) will be added to compliment already established sunchokes, strawberries, corn salad (via self seeding) and comfrey.  The whole north part (top in the plan) is evolving into only perennials.  I’ll never move to a whole perennial garden (I love tomatoes and potatoes too much), but half would be nice. Also, my foraging is getting more serious with grazing of garlic mustard, dandelion greens, hostas and violets picked right out of the yard.  I wanted to do maple syrup, but missed the February/March window, but there’s always next year.

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Garlic Mustard
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Egyptian Walking Onions from the Kent Community TimeBank

Helping Others Through Turnip Greens

The Snarky Gardener has given away dozens of Seven Top turnip packets this season.

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Seven Top turnip greens going to seed

Last December, the Snarky Gardener made the crazy decision to give away his extra turnip seeds. He let 20 or so of his Seven Top turnips go to seed last spring, providing an abundance to be shared with others. So far at this writing, there have been about 35 or so packets sent through the mail (sometimes with other free and paid for seed). He will continue to offer up these wonderfully organic seeds to those who place an online order as long as supplies last (which will probably be another year or so – sigh).

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Snarky Gardener seed packets on display at a seed swap

 

Turnip, Apple, and Sunchoke Soup

In case you have Jerusalem artichokes (aka sunchokes) and don’t know what to do with them, here’s what I decided to make with my own turnips, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, onions, and garlic.  I made a few modifications, including adding turnip greens and not peeling anything (I’m lazy if not anything).  I would make this again so, but alas, I’m out of turnips for now.  Could always buy some at the local farmer’s market.

Turnip, Apple, and Sunchoke Soup

YIELD: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients
1 leek, trimmed
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Fine sea salt
2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 pounds turnips diced plus greens
1 1/4 pounds sunchokes, diced
2 tart apples, cored, and diced
Coarsely ground black pepper or Aleppo pepper
Medium-coarse sea salt

Instructions:
1. Cut leek lengthwise in half and rinse well. Finely chop leek together with onion and garlic.

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2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium heat. Add leek mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add a pinch of salt and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a gentle simmer, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until water is almost completely evaporated, about 15 minutes.

3. Add turnips, artichokes, apples, and remaining 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer until apple is soft and flavors have blended, about 30 minutes more.

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Knobby sunchokes – 11/23/2013
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Turnips (including greens)
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Local apples

4. Puree soup using an immersion blender until smooth. Add salt to taste. Serve drizzled with oil and sprinkled with a grinding of pepper and with salt, if desired.

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Yum! Finished soup

Vegan Potato and Turnip Green Balls

Thanks to Shop.Cook.Make for this wonderful recipe.  I’ve modified it several times over the last 6 months, sometimes using turnip or mustard greens (instead of spinach), green onions (instead of chives), and/or cilantro (instead of cumin).  I finally arrived at that point in summer where it could be made using just ingredients from my garden (except the cumin).  With this batch, I also added a Jalapeno pepper to give them a little more kick.

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Vegan Potato and Spinach Balls

3 Potatoes (any type)
3 cloves of Garlic
2 or 3 cups of Spinach fresh or frozen (or any other leafy green) – I used turnip greens
1 tbsp Basil
2 tbsp Chives – I used green onions
2 tbsp Parsley
1/2 tsp Cumin
2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast (optional)
3 tbsp White Wine (optional)

Chop the potatoes in big chunks and boil until done but very firm (about 6 minutes). Add some salt to the water if you want. You can use frozen spinach. Just make sure to get all the water out before cooking.

Chop the Spinach (or other greens). Cook in a pan with the chopped garlic and the wine (or substitute for water) for 3 or 4 minutes until it’s soft.

Chop the herbs (if fresh). Dried can be used also.

Mix everything in a bowl, (including the nutritional yeast if you have it on hand) and let it rest until it’s cool enough for you to touch it without burning your hands.

Then proceed to make small balls (like meatballs). Use cooking spray in the pan.

Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees.

Spring 2013 Lessons Learned

It’s been an eventful 2013 spring for the Snarky Gardener.  He has learned humility and patience, especially since it’s taking forever for everyone to know how wonderful he truly is.  Mother nature has given many lessons this year, and it’s possible the Snarky Gardener won’t make the same mistakes next year.  Here’s the summary of highlights and lowlights (is that really a word?) for this spring.

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Fenced Back Yard Garden – 6/13/2013

Starting my own plants

This year started with much (probably too much) enthusiasm as January can make a gardener in Ohio a little nuts.  Overall it went well, with lots of tomatoes, and basil plants to plant and trade.  I do need to improve on starting dates, labeling, and hardening off.  All of these issues come down to one thing – patience.  I tend to want to start seeds earlier than they should be, forget to label and/or record properly, and to rush plants outside too soon.

Spinach was a little hard to get germinated (maybe one in two seeds actually sprouted).  I used the AeroGarden starter kit, so maybe spinach just doesn’t do very well with that system.  I’ve done some research on soil cubes and could go that direction for spinach and others next year.

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Frosts and freezes

Last year we in Northeast Ohio got spoiled with an early spring with warm weather in March and April.  This year we had freezes and frosts into late May and I lost quite a few tomatoes and peppers.  I’ll make a concerted effort not put out the majority of my frost intolerant plant until late May next year.

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Frosted tomatoes – 5/25/2013

Groundhogs

This is the second year I’ve had issues with groundhogs in my garden.  Last year in July, a little guy (named him Woody) terrorized my garden for a week or two until I finally caught him in the act of trespassing and theft.  He took out half my early corn and green beans before I was able to finally capture him.  Let’s just say that he’s in a better place now.

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Woody – 7/15/2012

This year the fun started earlier in late May as a momma and her little one moved into Woody’s old house, which is a burrow under a stacked pile of pine trees 5 feet behind my garden. It began with a few carrot tops missing and culminated with the loss of spinach, peas, kale, broccoli, and even Jerusalem artichokes. I called in the experts this time as my own trapping efforts were getting me nowhere. First morning we had a raccoon, who had been stealing my trap bait of corn and apples. My trap is obviously cheap and worthless. Since the raccoon, we caught two more raccoons, Mama and another baby groundhog.  On July 4th, I added some 3 foot chicken fencing to the north side with 1 1/2 feet on the ground and 1 1/2 feet attached to the current fence. This will keep future groundhogs (there will be more) from digging under (crossing my fingers).

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Bucky – 6/20/2013
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Mama caught fleeing the scene outside my garden – 6/21/2013

My long-term plan is to remove the wood either by having the landlord move it or by acquiring a chain saw.  The cleared area will make a good place to expand my composting efforts.

Overwintering and collecting seeds

I overwintered several different plants this year, mostly because I wanted early spring produce.  Carrots, kale, onions, mache, and turnips all made it back for 2013.  I let the kale, mache, and turnips go to seed with a concerted effort to collect the Seven Top turnip green seeds.  I ended up with a giant bag of turnip green seeds on 7/14 (more than I’ll ever use), so if you want some, just let me know and I’ll figure out a way to get them to you.  I’m still planning to collect tomato and bean seeds for sure, with a possibility of collecting peppers and eggplants this year too.

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Seven Top turnip greens flowering with plans to go to seed later.