The weather is cold and rainy and just miserable. It feels like it should be March or April instead of nearly June. So, what’s a gardener to do when you never know how long you’ll be waiting for summer? Last year I started experimenting with cold season crops and it has been just the thing to get me through the rut of dreary, damp, spring days.
Beginning in late March I started planting some seeds for radishes, spinach, kale, and swiss chard in my home garden. I’m not even a huge fan of these foods but sometimes after a long winter my patience runs thin. I have already harvested almost 2 pounds of fresh food from these crops alone! While the kale and radish leaves go straight to the bunnies, I have grown fond of the rather obscure swiss chard.
Swiss chard doesn’t get a lot of love so if you have never had it, I encourage you to give it a try. It grows well in Ohio and can even behave as a perennial if the winters aren’t too rough. Most farmer's markets will likely have it available in early-late spring. It is remarkably similar in taste and nutrition to spinach.
My favorite way to cook chard it is to sauté it in a skillet with a bit of olive oil, fresh garlic, and salt. I like to stir it in with pasta and parmesan cheese or eggs and Cajun seasoning. It’s a great way to add a little locally grown love to your diet while we wait (im)patiently for the rest of the garden goodies.
Stay warm my friends,