Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


In the Garden: Season’s Gleanings

December vegetable gardens are impressive. Though our backyard plot is small we have rainbow chard, rutabaga, kale, broccoli, purple cauliflower, romaine and if we wanted to we could embellish a salad with an edible nasturtium. Seriously.


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We have nasturtiums growing and blooming voraciously in the front yard which is a little scary. It can’t last much longer, a few freezing nights will surely be their undoing. And we have a few more tomatoes harvested in October that have been sitting on the window sill, now slightly shriveled, but juicy and very good on a December BLT. The trick is to decide and plant in summer for winter’s veggies. They require little attention once they get going and provide a huge culinary and nutritional bang for the buck.

Winter’s herbs are used in small amounts almost daily: rosemary, thyme and sage, which are getting scraggy, parsley, borage, which will surely be gone soon, and bushels of bay leaf.

And there’s the Farmer’s Market where you really see the depth and breadth of autumn/winter produce grown in the PNW. I bought fennel bulb the other day along with squash, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, mizuna, onions . . . I have moments when I say to myself “damn, this stuff is expensive!”.  I counter that voice in a couple of ways: I know it’s less expensive environmentally speaking when transportation costs for what we receive cheaply from around the world are factored in; and, I can be more thoughtful about my use of local organic produce and eliminate waste that we westerners are prone to.

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Sowing seeds in imaginations this winter for next summer:  consider planning ahead, say July or August, and planting something for a winter garden next year. In the meantime, thankfully, there are Farmer’s Markets year-round.

December nasturtiums 5 December nasturtiums 1 tomatoes in Dec-  1

Plum Forest Farm, Vashon Island, emails regular updates of what they have available seasonally.  Here’s an excerpt from last week’s note:

We got an early start on our Friday harvest and the farm stand is already stocked with:
Pac Choi
Bulbing Fennel
Winter Squash
Cinderella Pumpkins.

And as I send this out, I’ll be adding:
Cherry Jam
Raspberry Jam
Dried Plums

Last spring we visited and then posted this field trip report:  A Ramble Through Plum Forest Farm

Winter Vegetable Gardening, from The Westside Gardener, a blog dedicated mostly to vegetable gardening.

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3 Responses »

  1. We get a weekly produce delivery from Terra Organics, which is very convenient as well as opening my taste buds to new vegetables. I’d never had root veggies (beside carrots) before and now I know that I really like them! Parsnips, rutabagas, beets, all yum!

    Not so excited about Swiss Chard though. I’ll eat it, but I’ve never found a recipe that makes me excited about it. Any ideas? The best way I’ve had chard is sauteed with bacon and onions.

  2. Luneray, yes, we must feature Swiss Chard and its alternative preparations sometime soon. Like you, I usually just steam chard w/bacon, onion, shallots. Thanks for input.

  3. Stunning picture of that purple brassica, whatever it may be! We too have a nasturtium, in the backyard, that has completely taken over the bed. Strange stuff.