Church of Vegetables. Lettuce Pray…

I think the saying goes: Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage. Lettuce pray.  I certainly feel the magic of creation when I am starting seeds, praying for germination and that chickens don’t discover the seed starting racks!

Saturday May 28th Green Lab welcomes you to Tomato-mania which just became a Veggie-mania!! We will be at the garden from 9am – 2pm. There will be a chicken keeping class at 10am with a potluck. Plant sale going on all day. Today I met a fabulous Urban Homesteader from Winnetka Farms at the Artisanal LA event. He had a crazy good variety of Italian Heirloom Seeds!! I was relatively reserved in making my purchases…but I guarantee the selection will impress gardeners at all levels of skill and commitment. Here are a few of the heirloom varieties that we can add to the selection of tomatoes at the plant sale in May:

Cantalupo di Charentais
This well known French melon variety is world famous for its dark orange,sweet and fragrant flesh. Fruits are smooth-skinned and weigh about 2 lbs. You won’t find Charentais in your grocery store — it’s thin skin and high sugar content make it fragile to ship when ripe. Enjoy its vine-ripened perfection straight from your garden. If starting seeds indoors, don’t move out until late spring.

Wild Red Chicory
Chicory, wild of the fields is an open plant that grows close to the ground and has white stems and red center with green serrated leaves. Use young in salads or cooked. Sow direct in rows or broadcast sow autumn into spring.

Zucchino Striato D’Italia
Italian Striped has dark green fruit with light green stripes and light ribbing. It has an excellent taste with many flowers on a large, vigorous plant. A good producer and does well in cool weather. Good eating quality even when quite large, but best when picked small.

Nero di Toscana Precoce-
Black Tuscan Cabbage. Used to make the Florentine National dish called ‘Ribollita Toscana’, a stew made the day before. Kale chips or you can pan-fry it with olive oil, pancetta or bacon, and garlic. Elegant Kale.

Nettles-
The Italians love their nettles.  Make ravioli, soup, frittata or even pesto with the prepared greens.  Be sure to blanch them to tame the stinging aspect of the little hairs on the leaves!

Peperone Topepo Rosso
Round red pepper, about 2 inches wide. Sweet and fleshy. Eat fresh, roast, or pickle. The type of pepper you see pickled in Italian delis.

Zucchini, Bolognese
Short thick fruit, almost halfway between a typical zucchini and a round one. Medium green with light speckling. No ribs. Same great taste and texture as all Italian zucchini.

Basilico a foglie di Lattuga
“Lettuce-leaf basil”. This is a vigorous plant with large leaves and a milder taste than Italiano Classico. Use it to  put on a sandwich, wrap a slice of tomato with mozzarella cheese, or on bruschetta. Can be grown in containers.


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