A great summer kale
The last two years I have been growing a Portuguese kale from Territorial Seed Co. called Beira Tronchuda. You can find it called Tronchuda Beira at Renee’s and other names from other companies I’m sure. It’s a tall plant with big paddle shaped leaves and white ribs that looks more like Collard greens than the usual kale. The leaves are thick and tender and mild flavored and stay that way all summer long! When all the other kales get tough and strong flavored in the heat of summer this one stays lovely and tender. It’s very easy to grow and in my garden it has not been attacked by aphids at the end of summer like all my other brassica plants, so that makes it even more appealing.
It’s the main ingredient in Caldo Verde – the Portuguese National Soup – along with potatoes and sausage! I have not found much talk of this kale and it’s ability to be sweet and tender in mid-summer as well as mid-winter! So I thought I would mention it for those of you who are looking for tasty greens for summer eating! It’s fast becoming my favorite kale!
Green beans are a favorite food of mine and the only veggie that I successfully freeze for winter eating. The last few years I have narrowed the beans I grow down to two really tasty ones, Fortex – a pole bean that can grow nearly a foot long and stay sweet and tender, and Dragon Tongue, a multi-colored fat flat meaty bush bean. I don’t usually bother with bush beans because their growing season is so short, but Dragon Tongue is so prolific that I manage to get enough to eat as well as freeze. And I like it so much I have made an exception and give it a bed each year now. Fortex is also wonderfully prolific and just keeps producing until frost. It’s a stringless gourmet French filet bean and I grow it for the flavor!
I’m sure everyone has favorite tomatoes that they grow. Here in southern Oregon we have had a couple summers in a row that were not really tomato-friendly. I try new tomatoes every year trying to find varieties that are tasty as well as reliable in our often un-reliable summers. Tomato plants dislike heat as much as cold and just stop producing if we get too many hot days in a row!
One tomato that I have grown for many years now, seems not to care if I grow it in too much shade (I grow them in a new place each year), or too much competition or if the summer is not tomato-friendly! They are an amazing breed! Sungold tomatoes just keep pumping out those sweet little gold nuggets all summer long! I truly can’t find anything negative to say about these wonderful little tomatoes – except I suppose it would be nice if some were slicing size! I have taken to planting them in different parts of the garden so as folks wander around there is always a Sungold nearby to graze on!
I have to put in a good word for one of my favorite fruits, because it is so carefree to grow and so truly yummy to eat fresh and dried. Italian Prunes are a plum variety that are great to eat fresh because they are sweet all the way to the pit, free-stone (not STUCK to the pit) and not super juicy so you don’t end up with a sticky hand and chin when eating one out in the garden.
This year we finally got enough to dry a few quarts! It’s really easy to dry. You just slice it in half and pop the pit out and dry it for a few hours – turning it over mid way!
I had to work to find a way to keep the critters (raccoons, possums and rats) from eating them first (which they did last year – all in one night!!). I tied a big piece of deer netting to the tree’s trunk and fanned the netting out in a big funnel shape attached to the lowest branches all around! It worked!
We like this fruit so much that I planted a second one last winter. I mention this prune because I think it’s not very well known and rarely seen in the markets. People likely have a prejudice against “prunes” as well. It’s really high in nutrients so it makes a great healthy snack all winter. I just love the taste!
A few pictures from this years garden
Enjoy the holidays wherever you are and whatever they are for you!