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Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

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PNW: March 2014

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Post  Marc Iverson 3/26/2014, 2:08 pm

We had a rep from Territorial Seeds come down and give us a talk. Everyone who came got a choice of one of two or three seed packets. I chose a swiss chard called Lyon with a picture on the front of rainbow colored stalks. Digging through my refrigerated seeds the other day, I found I had already bought what was explicitly called Rainbow Chard from another company. And a week or two ago I couldn't resist buying a Territorial Seed packet of "perpetual swiss chard." I love the idea of perpetual/perennial anything.

So now I have three packets of swiss chard and I'm not even sure how much I like swiss chard.
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Post  CapeCoddess 3/26/2014, 2:52 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:
So now I have three packets of swiss chard and I'm not even sure how much I like swiss chard.  
That's pretty funny, Mark. I just bought a couple packs myself but am not have good germination rates this year for some reason. I like swiss chard very much, but not raw. To me it tastes soapy raw, but is delish steamed, sauteed, stir fried or in soups.

I suppose if you try it and find you don't like it, you could use it for next years swap.  Very Happy 

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Post  Marc Iverson 3/26/2014, 2:59 pm

If that's something done on this board, I haven't tried that yet. Did you do that last year?
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Post  boffer 3/26/2014, 6:47 pm

gwennifer wrote:...I picked up a few goodies from Territorial Seed Company I'd like to share with my PNW peeps:...
I direct seeded Marketmore 97 in June last year; they were prolific and not bitter.


Marc Iverson wrote:...And a week or two ago I couldn't resist buying a Territorial Seed packet of "perpetual swiss chard."  I love the idea of perpetual/perennial anything...

I've been experimenting this past year with Perpetual, Fordhook, Rainbow, and Bright Lights chard.  Perpetual grows the fastest, and will be the only chard I grow when the other seeds are gone.  All types survived a week at 12-15°.  The leaves didn't make it, but the plants started re-growing when the temp stayed above freezing.  They were protected from the rain but not temps. (under a hoop)

We don't care for the taste much, so we use it in soups and stews.
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/26/2014, 6:55 pm

If you grew so much of it and still want to keep growing it even though you don't like the taste much, chard must be pretty great in its own way, right?

I'm glad to hear that the perpetual was so successful for you. And fast-growing; our seasons can be fickle here, and the daily temperature fluctuations dramatic, so I'm all for fast-growing when I can get it.

Did you leave the perpetual in the ground to keep producing? I'm curious how much of a fighter the plant is.
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Post  boffer 3/26/2014, 7:46 pm

It's supposed to be good for us, and can tolerate heat as well as cold.  By putting it in soups and stews, we get the nutritional value, and it adds a nice color and texture, without the taste.   I'm even considering  CC's approach: drink lots of green smoothies to balance out the Fritos and Milky Ways!    Razz   

I'm growing kale too, and I don't like the taste of it either!  Kale survived the same temps without losing its leaves, and it's growing again very well, too.


2 chard plants in one square planted last August.
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/26/2014, 8:10 pm

Tolerating heat sounds pretty good to me. I wonder if it can take the summers here, where the rule of thumb is that it doesn't rain all summer, and where a month or two of temperatures in the 90's or low 100's is common.

P.S.: I love being able to use "where" correctly for a change, instead of feeling I should use the often more awkward "in which."

Kale I like eating sauteed and I'm trying to like growing it. I was so excited about growing an especially winter-hardy and winter-producing veggie last year, but our winter killed off almost all of mine and stunted the two or three survivors. But I grow like you do too -- at least partially because vegetables in general or some particular vegetable is supposed to be so good for you. I want to make vegetables the mainstay of my diet. When I've done that before, I've always felt in better health and been more, er ... regular.

And speaking of stunting, I noticed my backyard brussels sprouts the other day. One of them is doing nicely, I suppose, in a burlap bag full of MM, and the other is a couple of inches high. Both were transplanted at the same time last fall from the same flat. But went through the coldest winter here in 30 years. But before it did, the tiny one had ALL of its leaves chewed off by something, and probably some of its roots, I'd guess. His third brother, of whom we try not to speak because it brings tears to the eyes, was sucked right down into its root hole last fall by what must have been a vole or gopher in our heavily-fenced, dog-patrolled back yard. I hope little Stunty grows well, if only in memoriam for his lost little brother.

I've got three more down at my neighbor's garden. They're all red ones, and I'm really looking forward to seeing if any of them produce well and help validate my idea to keep growing crops in the winter.

I suppose the onions will do that even if the brussels sprouts won't, though. They went in in the fall, were under row cover all winter, and look not all that big yet -- leaves are maybe half a foot -- but still pretty good. Anyway I'll keep trying, but I'm hungry for success!
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Post  CapeCoddess 3/26/2014, 8:26 pm

Those are some beeeeauuuutiful chard, Boffer! Thanks for the heads of on Perpetual. The Rainbow always does great for me but I'm having a terrible time getting the Fordhook to germinate this year. Direct seeding seems to work better for that one. But I'll look for Perpetual. I'd love to try it. Does it taste like soap?

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Post  boffer 3/26/2014, 8:37 pm

Kale, collards, and chard all taste like...well...weeds!  Rolling Eyes 
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Post  FamilyGardening 3/27/2014, 1:15 am

boffer wrote:Kale, collards, and chard all taste like...well...weeds!  Rolling Eyes 

thats what are family thinks too.....taste like weeds/and dirt  rofl  I suppose we do not care for the *earthy* splendor of these fine veggie greens...... PNW: March 2014 - Page 5 1280598131 

one thing we have found though.....if we dehydrate them, and then add them to soups/stews and such....the flavor is ok....still a bit earthy....but palatable....

an added benefit to the dehydrating that is a pleasant surprise, our baby chicks are going nuts over them!  PNW: March 2014 - Page 5 274447 

this year our goal is to dehydrate as much as we can, to provide some nice healthy greens for our hens during the winter   chicken dance 

happy gardening
rose
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Post  sanderson 3/27/2014, 1:38 am

FG,  Thanks for reminding me!  My daughter is down-sizing because she's moving and she gave me her dehydrator!!  And here I was all set to buy one.

I love collards, chard, kale, bok choy, and spinach.  They each taste like "a different weed."  DH and I just polished off a soup that included my own chard, bok choy and kale.
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/27/2014, 7:30 pm

I love that "green" taste. It's one of the things I like so much in green beans, broccoli, and brussels sprouts.

Just finished the final classroom day of our master gardener's class. Now only the 70 volunteer hours remain to be completed. But I've already done I guess a dozen of them. We have till October.

I signed up to go into Walmart and Fred Meyers during their upcoming plant sale days and help their customers pot up the plants they chose; to help man the table at the local farmers market on a few upcoming Saturday mornings, and to help out in the plant clinic on a few days too. Also I guess I will be getting involved in a school and maybe the master gardener's spring fair and/or perennial sale. Most of these things tend to be only a couple of hours at a time, but eventually they'll add up.

I'm so glad to be done with the written final. A gal in class said she finished it in eight hours. It took me more than twice that.

Got more raves on my chutney from another lady I gave some to. "Phenomenal" is a good thing, right? Very Happy I guess I hit on a lucky item; everybody seems to like it. She brought me some of the home-canned tuna she made from some her husband caught wild. Will try tomorrow and let her know if I liked it at our Saturday greenhouse hours.

Today for our last day I also brought in some potato salad and marinated bacon-wrapped water chestnuts. Good reviews; never any leftovers on anything bacon-related. You could wrap bacon around a pencil and people would be lining up to eat it.

No gardening the last few days, but I look forward to getting back to it. Went to check the beds I use at my neighbor's house on the way back from class and saw the cloth from my small hoop house was in shreds. There were also some fairly large animal paw prints across my onions. Oddly enough, I don't think anything was eaten in my hoop house .... but then again it occurs to me that I didn't check the miner's lettuce. Probably because I didn't see it ... probably because it was eaten ... Anyway, I'm glad my brussels sprouts were left intact. But I have to re-cover the house right away, because cabbage moths are out.

Crossing my fingers that my spinach back in the containers at home will sprout and that I'll finally get a little success with spinach. Last fall/winter was a bust re spinach.
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Post  sanderson 3/27/2014, 9:56 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:

never any leftovers on anything bacon-related.  You could wrap bacon around a pencil and people would be lining up to eat it.
.
 funny post
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Post  Goosegirl 3/27/2014, 9:59 pm

sanderson wrote:
Marc Iverson wrote:

never any leftovers on anything bacon-related.  You could wrap bacon around a pencil and people would be lining up to eat it.
.
 funny post

I would probably try it!  rofl rofl rofl 

GG
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Post  gwennifer 3/27/2014, 10:26 pm

Marc Iverson wrote:
never any leftovers on anything bacon-related.  You could wrap bacon around a pencil and people would be lining up to eat it.
IDK. I went to a party once and the gal was serving bacon wrapped dates she'd just pulled from the oven. I didn't try one. Looked/sounded like a waste of perfectly good bacon to me.

Veggie confession: I bought asparagus for the first time and steamed some and ate it for dinner. I'm not in love, but found it to be completely decent and easy to prepare, so will definitely add it to my rotation.

boffer, regarding kale: one summer I was buying packages of Earthbound Organics baby kale from Fred Meyer pretty regularly. I would add just an ounce to an eight ounce salad, trying to get myself accustomed to the taste. I discovered that the packs would often contain different kale from one purchase to the next. Some are definitely easier to choke down than others.
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/27/2014, 11:00 pm

gwennifer wrote:
Marc Iverson wrote:
never any leftovers on anything bacon-related.  You could wrap bacon around a pencil and people would be lining up to eat it.
IDK. I went to a party once and the gal was serving bacon wrapped dates she'd just pulled from the oven. I didn't try one. Looked/sounded like a waste of perfectly good bacon to me.

Sounds like you don't care much for dates. I'm indifferent about them, but bacon-wrapped dates are surprisingly good. The flavors and textures go together well. Only thing is that the bacon/date combo is so rich, both in concentrated flavor and in its thick, chewy/gooey texture, that I almost immediately hit my limit. Two may be more than enough; even one may feel like a warning not to have another.


boffer, regarding kale: one summer I was buying packages of Earthbound Organics baby kale from Fred Meyer pretty regularly. I would add just an ounce to an eight ounce salad, trying to get myself accustomed to the taste. I discovered that the packs would often contain different kale from one purchase to the next. Some are definitely easier to choke down than others.

Sauteeing or steaming them makes all the difference, IMO. Really mellows the flavors a lot. I'll eat spinach raw or cooked, but kale isn't as flexible. At least to me.

When kale is really good in salad or even as a salad alone is when you've stripped the leaves, steamed them, then plopped them in ice water for a few minutes to keep them crisp and colorful. Then it becomes more like an especially flavorful lettuce, a little firmer to the teeth but still tender.
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Post  FamilyGardening 3/28/2014, 2:23 am

Goosegirl wrote:
sanderson wrote:
Marc Iverson wrote:

never any leftovers on anything bacon-related.  You could wrap bacon around a pencil and people would be lining up to eat it.
.
 funny post

I would probably try it!   rofl rofl rofl 

GG
 lol!  the only thing I would be worried about is if the pencil was non-led  What a Face
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Post  Goosegirl 3/28/2014, 7:26 am

FamilyGardening wrote:
Goosegirl wrote:
sanderson wrote:
Marc Iverson wrote:

never any leftovers on anything bacon-related.  You could wrap bacon around a pencil and people would be lining up to eat it.
.
 funny post

I would probably try it!   rofl rofl rofl 

GG
 lol!  the only thing I would be worried about is if the pencil was non-led  What a Face

Eat the bacon and use the pencil as a toothpick!

GG
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Post  gwennifer 3/28/2014, 10:22 am

I can't figure this forum out. I post free seeds, expensive seeds from a local grower, and get no takers. But a post on bacon wrapped pencils generates a whole page of discussion and replies.  Rolling Eyes 

You are correct Marc, I don't like dates. But I've also never cared for the mixing of sweet and savory in any application. (Like the popular practice of adding mandarin oranges or strawberries to green salads.  tongue )

Green onions are starting to unfold themselves. I tried pre-sprouting some peas per a suggestion someone else posted on a different thread, to fill in the holes from my previous planting. Wrapped them in a couple of layers of wet paper towel and put them in a ziploc bag on top of the fridge for a couple of days. It worked, but I wasn't quite sure how to plant the silly things and haven't seen any of them show up since planting. Every time I go out to to check for new sprouts and don't find any my three year old kindly explains to me "That's because it takes a long time". Ah, yes. Patience mommy.

Happy Friday everyone!
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Post  AtlantaMarie 3/28/2014, 1:13 pm

Well, Gwennifer, I guess we know what's important, don't we?   lol! 

Free seeds?  Seed Exchange?  I'm open!  Windmere was kind enough to send me some Borage seeds the other day.  I've got all sorts of stuff from Baker Creek and Burpee (heirlooms).  I'm open to sharing!
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/28/2014, 2:31 pm

gwennifer wrote:I can't figure this forum out. I post free seeds, expensive seeds from a local grower, and get no takers. But a post on bacon wrapped pencils generates a whole page of discussion and replies.  Rolling Eyes 

Well, you can't eat most seeds, but you can eat bacon-wrapped pencils! Very Happy

Seriously though, I suspect many people are much like me -- they already have so many seeds they couldn't plant them all if they had the next 3 to 5 years to do it. Very generous offer though. And not that even MORE seeds isn't always attractive, but at a certain point I know I need to stop getting more seeds even if they're free! Myself, I didn't even see your offer, by the way. Lots of posts to get buried under ...


You are correct Marc, I don't like dates. But I've also never cared for the mixing of sweet and savory in any application. (Like the popular practice of adding mandarin oranges or strawberries to green salads.  tongue )

Ooh, I love that. I think that was one of my most important food discoveries -- that you can combine foods "across the spectrum" or in unconventional ways like that. It's one of the things I really like about Thai food -- that flavors come up in combinations unexpected to a western palate but that still (at least for me) work out surprisingly well. I love a spinach salad with orange sections in it, and spinach with a raspberry viniagrette dressing is a classic combination, even if I can't spell it. Wink To each their own though.

Green onions are starting to unfold themselves. I tried pre-sprouting some peas per a suggestion someone else posted on a different thread, to fill in the holes from my previous planting. Wrapped them in a couple of layers of wet paper towel and put them in a ziploc bag on top of the fridge for a couple of days. It worked, but I wasn't quite sure how to plant the silly things and haven't seen any of them show up since planting. Every time I go out to to check for new sprouts and don't find any my three year old kindly explains to me "That's because it takes a long time". Ah, yes. Patience mommy.

I did the same thing with peas and had very poor germination. The same packet yielded either 100%, or very near, germination when the pea seeds were just stuck in the soil.
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Post  donnainzone5 3/28/2014, 3:07 pm

Chopped, steamed kale with bacon, perhaps?
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/28/2014, 3:19 pm

Sounds pretty good. I also like a little chopped green onion or red onion in a simple leaf salad, too. That plus leaves are all the flavor notes you need for an especially simple salad. Yesterday I clipped some lettuce and mache and boosted the flavors with a little chives I cut too.

Of course, bacon is almost always a successful addition to most anything, but then more work and time is involved. My family all has high cholesterol and heart attacks, so I keep bacon out except as a rare treat or when preparing food for guests and party appetizers. Perhaps absence also makes the heart grow fonder.
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Post  CapeCoddess 3/28/2014, 3:29 pm

Mmmm...collards sauteed in bacon grease!  I think that's how they do it in the south.
 drooling 
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Post  Marc Iverson 3/28/2014, 3:47 pm

Yeah, when I was a kid, it was on the tail end of when it wasn't uncommon to save rendered chicken fat and dip into it whenever you wanted to fry something. I've known a few people who save bacon grease too. Refrigerating it never happened. Just left it out in a jar or a tub. Also, chicken bones were turned into broth that flavored anything that needed liquid.
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