Jan 19, 2014

The Mâche Pit (Valerianella locusta)

Mâche is a gloriously hardy edible French green, also known as corn salad. I have overwintered some, and not the coldest cold snap we had here killed it - or even slowed it down.

I planted these "Ed Hume" mâche seeds in late September. I thought it was almost too late to plant the seeds, but did it anyway. They germinated quickly but grew very slowly. The plants started maturing right around Thanksgiving. I served a bed of mâche leaves with carrot slaw on top. Delicious! To harvest, the whole plant is taken. Roots are trimmed off. I harvested half the bed, and let the rest carry on into winter.

I will definitely plant this delicious mini-lettuce again in late Fall 2014.

To have vibrant green freshness like this, when so much else is dormant, is nice as an edible and visual treat.

Also thriving in the January garden is super-hardy salad burnet (Sanguisorba minor). I really like the burnet! I plan to pot up the volunteers. Deer absolutely will not touch this stuff! Not one bite. I have started a row of this up on the driveway, unirrigated and patrolled by deer.

When salad burnet is not blooming (which it does all spring and summer, well into fall) it has fresh ferny leaves. It will all get a haircut in early spring. Below is some thriving during a cold snap.

Below is a tiny self-seeded burnet start, cuddling with a thuggish rosette of shotweed (Cardamine hirsuta). Shotweed (AKA "land cress" or "flickweed" is a dreadful garden weed that has enjoyed this dry winter. It is a weed that MUST be pulled or hoed before it blooms. If the matured flowers and seed heads are disturbed, it shoots a cloud of seeds up into your eyeballs. Hate that.

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