Friday, November 14, 2008

Fall Harvest and Leaves

This week I had a nice little harvest of fall veggies. I chopped off the big chard leaves, for a great stir fry. I'm guessing this is the last of big leaves for me. Monday the cold weather is supposed to hit in force. By midweek we are supposed to have lows in the mid 20s. Brrr. This is below normal for us and my trusty weatherman was saying we will probably have below normal temps for the rest of the month.

The cold temps will probably take out most of my lettuce. This week I picked just a few small bunches, but early next week I'll probably pick most of what is left before the freeze.

The tatsoi (the huge green rosette in the top photo) has really come into its own this fall. It grew well in the spring and the fall, but it was small. Now the plants are getting twice as large as they used to. They love this weather. Their taste has really improved too. They are more mustardy without being sharp. I made Asian chicken soup with them yesterday. I chop up the stems and let them simmer for a while. The leaf part I cut in two and put in the bottom of the bowl, then pour the hot soup over them. That cooks them perfectly. They still have structure, but are slightly wilted. Yummy. In the summer I would always eat them in salads, but now that it is cold soup seem so much more appropriate.

This week I also hauled some leaves back to my leaf bin. As I come home from the store I pick up leaves that others have so nicely packed up for trash removal. The towns around here all do composting, so the leaves are packed in nice compostable brown bags. I look for places with mostly oak leaves.

On my way home I usually have a choice of oak, maple and pine needles as those are the most prevelent kinds of trees in the area. Pine needles take forever to compost and are highly acidic. Maple leaves have chemicals in them that prevent seeds from germinating well. I don't mind some of these, but I don't want most of the leaves to be maple. Especially since my own maples tree leaves end up in the pile. So I pick oak. Oak isn't too bad. It is a bit too acidic and takes a lot longer than maple to decay, but I'm going to use my leaves for composting the grass clippings next year not for leaf mold. So that will speed up the break down a lot.

When I get home I dump the contents into my bin and shred the bags too. Even if oak leaves were on top sometimes I find other things on the bottom (including maples leaves and pine needles). Once the whole bottom half was filled with pulled out plants. So I dumped those on the compost pile instead. More green stuff is always good. The empty pack of Marlboros however was not appreciated and I fished that out for the trash.


  1. Your greens look wonderful and I bet that chard will make a great stir-fry, I love greens in a stir-fry.

    That is too bad about the weather, it is getting to be that time of year though, sadly. We are expecting our first flurries tomorrow, I am still in denial.

    What a neat tip about the soup, I would have never thought to lay the greens at the bottom and pour the hot soup over them, that is a wonderful idea!

    Hahaha, about the pack of Marlboros, who would want to compost that?

  2. The majority of leaves available to me are oak as well....Composting gurus don't like them, because they take longer to decompose - but in my opinion, they are fine for a "more relaxed" composter such as myself. It will happen in due time. The marlboro pack is something that I can relate to. I found 2 cigarette butts in the bench planters that I constructed for my wife over the summer....of course, she did it!


  3. I mainly have maples & sweetgum tree leaves in my area. They compost pretty well. That's neat that your city uses those brown bags for the leaves. We rake ours to the curb loose and a truck with a vacuum comes & sucks them up.

  4. Your greens do look very good and would make an excellent stir-fry! Enjoy them!