Tag Archives: mustard greens

North Florida gardeners, it’s time to start seeds for the fall garden!

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Even now it’s still so hot outside, it is time to start thinking about the fall garden.

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Here’s some seeds I started this week: broccoli, cauliflower, kale, collards, kohlrabi, and Swiss chard.

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Some of the seeds have already started coming up, 5 days later! Even though it’s still so hot, the seeds germinate quickly in the warm weather, and will be ready for transplant when it finally starts cooling down a bit.

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I also planted a few patty pan squash. I may also plant some zucchini and yellow squash too.

Next month I plan to direct sow my mustard greens, turnips, rutabagas, and even try some carrots again. It seems like I try carrots multiple times a year, and something always seems to destroy them. I also need to get some herbs started this week: dill and cilantro.

I also want to have plenty of fall and winter bedding plants, so I’m going to start snapdragons & pansies from seed. For the cost of a few packets of seed and my time, I hope to have plenty of color through the winter.

I am really anticipating the kale and mustard greens. The kale is so good for you and I love it sauteed with a little bit of butter and garlic as a side dish. The mustard greens are fabulous in stir fries. Oh, and I really want some turnips too. Turnips, although a root vegetable that I don’t see often used, is really good, especially roasted.

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That reminds me, I need to plant some radishes next month too. Maybe for Thanksgiving I can make some Colorful Roasted Turnips, Carrots and Radishes.

Do you live in a climate where you get to have a fall garden? What are you planting?

Quick Stir-Fry Recipe with Mustard Greens

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I love to throw together a stir-fry as a quick and healthy dinner. All you really need is rice, a meat, and some random odds and ends of vegetables to make it work.

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Stir-fry with Mustard Greens

Here I used chicken, onions, bell peppers frozen last fall, carrots, and fresh mustard greens.

The mustard greens added such great flavor!

While the rice is cooking, I cook the meat, then begin adding vegetables. I start with the vegetables with the longest cooking time (like carrots), then end with those that just need a quick saute (mustard greens).

I typically just make my stir-fry seasoning to taste using the following: garlic, chili powder, soy sauce, pepper, powdered ginger, and a drizzle of sesame oil.

So quick, yummy, and nutritious.

If I didn’t think ahead to make something in the Crock-Pot (like fajitas!), I like to make something like this.

What’s your go-to quick dinner?

North Florida Gardening March To-Do List

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I love spring! I think the cold nights forecast for the next 2 nights will be the end of the cold nights, so I have some gardening plans.

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The garden by the shed has given me great harvests for mustard greens, and I am looking forward to harvesting 36 cloves of garlic later this year!

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The large garden is still producing plenty of kale, collards, and mustard greens. The pole bean teepee is gone; this year I’m going to try ‘Merit’ corn in that square. Anybody tried that variety?

If nothing else, I hope it looks neat. I plan to have ‘Purple Queen’ zinnias and marigolds around the box.

'White Egg' turnips

The ‘White Egg’ turnips have done fantastic for me. I need to let some go to seed, but it’s hard to stop pulling them once you start!

Time for more roasted veggies– yum!!

Here’s my to-do list:

1. Plant green beans, squash, cucumbers and corn. I’m going to plant seeds from cucumbers that I grew last year- they made great refrigerator pickles!

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2. Harden off tomato plants. If you are starting your own plants from seed, you can check out my seed-starting tutorial here and then read about hardening off seedlings.

3. Start eggplant and  peppers.

4. Plant flowers like zinnias, marigolds, and cleome. I love to have flowers in my vegetable garden! They are beautiful and attract pollinators.

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5. Plant out my sugar snap pea plants. I had so much trouble last year with the squirrels that I decided to start my peas in flats, even though direct seeding them technically is better. My local seed source did not get any in time for me, so I just planted the few that I saved from last year. We’ll see if I get any, as it’s going to be getting too warm for them soon.

6. Hang netting on the fence for cucumbers.

Easy DIY Cucumber Trellis

Wow. Was that really my garden last year? I love being able to look back and see what I grew last year, and to plan to improve this year.
I hope you plan to grow something this year. Start small, and enjoy the journey!

Are you excited for spring to come? What are you anticipating the most? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Know anybody in North Florida or in zone 8 that is thinking about starting a garden? Feel free to email them this post or share it with them on Facebook using the buttons below this post.

Happy gardening!

Savory Sauteed Mustard Greens

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I think mustard greens are beautiful. I love the looks of their frilly, vibrant green leaves.

I like to eat them too.

David from Florida Survival Gardening recommended them as  his favorite greens. I found some seeds for a great price, and so planted about 25′ of them. Good thing I ended up liking them!

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They do have  a peppery, mustardy taste when raw, but they become sweeter when cooked. They are much more tender then collards and kale, and cook faster than either of them.

However, they still hold up well in cooking.

Here’s what I like to use to prepare them: 1/2 cup homemade chicken or turkey stock(I make mine in the Crock Pot), diced onion, a bunch of greens, and a bit of salt.

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First, saute the onions in the stock until they are translucent.

Add the torn greens a little at a time, wilting each batch down as you go.

I don’t believe in cooking these vibrant greens until they are a dull grayish olive green- yuck.  Just wilt them until soft and cooked through.

Salt to taste, then garnish with bolted pak choi. 🙂

Savory Sauteed Mustard Greens

If you really want some delicious flavor, add some of the vinegar from pickled jalepeno peppers- so good!!!

I could eat a whole bowl of them prepared in this simple way. The flavor is so rich, especially with the homemade stock.

I love to eat nutritious greens in our Florida winter, when fresh tomatoes and buttery squash are a distant memory.

Eating seasonally is so delicious! I save so much money by growing much of my family’s vegetables. Maybe one day I will have a mini orchard and provide much of our fruit too, but for now vegetables are a good start.

Mustard greens are quite easy to grow, even in North Florida’s poor soil. Maybe you’ll try them too?

February To-Do List

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Will spring be early this year? I sure hope so.

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Until then, I am enjoying delicious greens from the garden. The collards pictured above have survived our light frosts pretty well.

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Turnip harvest have been good, and the mustard greens and kale have kept us supplied with veggies.

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I have been pleased with the ‘White Egg’ turnips this year. Despite being planted too closely, they have still produced many turnips. We ate the thinnings as greens, and now they are bulbing up nicely, no succession planting needed.

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The shed bed has been producing mustard greens, and the garlic is progressing nicely.

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Broccoli has been a bust. Again. Last year I blamed myself, the weather, and the soil and decided to try it again.

This year, I blame it on the variety. I’m going to spend a little extra and get a named variety or hybrid for next time. Do you have a favorite variety that you recommend?

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The pac choi is bolting, and I welcome the cheery yellow flowers. I plan to let my mustard bolt too, I’m hoping for an impressive display from them.

My to-do list:

1. Start tomatoes and flowers on Valentine’s Day. Last year I had spring fever so bad…do you remember the strange place that I sprouted seeds?

2. Make marmalade!! I love it so much on homemade bread, with hot tea to accompany it. That combination makes me feel cultured and British. 🙂

3. Sketch out a garden plan. I hope to have most of my crops and seeds planted by mid-March, and then to just let them do their thing.

4. Get more green bean seeds. I’m going to buy some in bulk to save money. Maybe this year I will save some seeds from them. Saving your own seeds is a great way to save money in the garden. You can also get seeds for free; check out my popular post on How I Get Free Seeds.

5. Plant out sugar snap starts. Last year I figured out too late that the squirrels were digging up my peas. I found a few peas that I had managed to save from last year, soaked them, and planted them in flats. Hopefully it’s not too late.

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Are you ready for spring? I have to admit, I’m not quite as stir crazy as I was last year; maybe it’s because I have so many crops actively growing and maturing.

We are supposedly in for some cold weather this week. If you have raised bed gardens, look for a post soon on how to cover your raised bed.

Are you going to try any new techniques or varieties this year? It’s never too early to plan!