Abundance, an overflowing fullness. We are grateful for the abundance in which we farm. Abundance of living soil, abundance of community support, abundance of strong plants that give nourishing food season after season.
This week's farm share celebrates all our overflowing fullness in the form of a bumper crop of Tendergreen mustard spinach. It's the large, delicate greens bagged up apart from the rest of the share to help keep it fresh and crisp! My recommendation? Tear it up into a salad, toss just a bit of extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper onto the mix and enjoy as simply as possible. Mustard spinach is one of my farm favorites... a very polite savory that combines salty and buttery flavors in one tender leaf. And don't let those juicy stems go to waste either! Chop them up into your salad for an extra crunch or throw them in a quick pickle and snack on them throughout your week. Of course, you can definitely cook these greens as well as any other. They're excellent in soups and stir-fry's! Here's a lovely little recipe for cooking up a quick side of mustard spinach, too.
So, how do we farm abundance at Sown & Grown after all? Farming with compassion means that every step of our practice is labored over with love. From care of our soil to sowing of our seeds we're constantly challenging ourselves to grow stronger and root deeper. Our greenhouse helps ensure abundance in overlapping and bridging seasons. We mix small batches of our soil by hand to ensure quality. We sow each seed with care and precision. We regulate water schedules and apply with agricultural molasses (for microbes) and dehydrated seaweed (for root growth) as necessary for the healthiest seedling development. By growing in the greenhouse, we're able to monitor and regulate growing conditions a bit better than in the field, especially when transitioning between seasons. This method enables us to plant crops ahead of time. Pictured below are flats of newly germinated collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, and pak choi's. We'll be ready to transplant these little guys within the next two weeks!
In addition to greenhouse transplants, we also direct seed in certain crop rows. Pictured below are our Tendergreen mustard spinach plants you'll enjoy from your farm share this evening! In between seasons, we practice a method of over-seeding to push bumper crops of baby greens. As the row fills in, we thin plants out to create enough room for the remaining plants to grow to maturity without overcrowding. By the end of this process (3 - 6 weeks) we still end up with a full row of the desired crop but were also harvesting bounties of the baby greens while the plants grew to maturity... effectively doubling or tripling the total harvest we're ultimately able to provide.
Ultimately, our goal is to cultivate a full farm ecosystem that becomes self-sustaining. When we follow nature's patterns and methods, our plants grow strong and healthy on their own. Below is a photo from harvest this morning. These are Roselle plants that have effectively been growing "on their own" for the last two months... no water except the rain, no food except the nutrients and microbes that already exist in the soil. Each plant stands 5 to 6 feet tall, plentiful with greens and soon to be overflowing with the edible calyxes too! She is truly an incredible plant to fiercely withstand our Houston summers.
Enjoy your bounties this week and thank you, as always, for championing your local farm. Buen provecho!