|Favas n’ peas|
It’s a blessing and a curse to live in a year round growing climate. Winter here in Southern California is the most productive time for most vegetables. It also means that there’s no time off for the gardener or the soil. In the interest of better note keeping, what follows is a list of what we’re growing this winter in the vegetable garden. We’ll do an update in the spring to let you know how things grew. For those of you in colder climates these would be “cool season” vegetables and it’s never to early to start planning.
For just about the tenth season in a row we’ve sourced all of our seeds from two venerable Italian companies, Franchi and Larosa. Why? You get a ton of seeds in a package and they’ve always, without exception, germinated well and yielded beautiful vegetables most of which can’t be found in even the fanciest restaurant in the US. Frankly, every time I try another seed source I’m disappointed. I also like Italian cooking with its emphasis on flavorful ingredients prepared simply–no fussy sauces or complicated recipes.
First off an endive and escarole mix from Franchi Seeds recommended and sold to us by our friends at Winnetka Farms. Looking forward to this one.
“Cicoria Variegata di Castelfranco”
A bitter and beautiful chicory, also recommended by our Winnetka pals along with:
“Lattuga Quattro Stagioni”
A butterhead type lettuce.
Arugula “Rucola da Orto” from Larosa seeds.
You can never plant enough arugula, in my opinion.
Rapini “Cima di Rapa Novantina”
I grow this every year. It’s basically my favorite vegetable–much more flavorful and easier to grow than broccoli.
A large plant resembling kale. You eat the leaves and flowers. Used in “Minestra Nera” or “Black Soup,” which consists of this vegetable and cannelini beans. More info here.
Fava and bush peas
I’ve rotated in legumes in the bed we grew tomatoes in during the summer. The fava came from seeds saved by the Winnetka farm folks and from our own garden. The bush peas are “Progress #9” from Botanical Interests.
Chard “Bieta Verde da Taglio”
A tasty, thick leaved chard from Franchi seeds.
Dandelion greens, “Cicoria Selvatica da Campo”
A truly idiot proof vegetable. Bitter and easy to grow.
Parsnips “Prezzelmolo Berliner”
The first time I’ve ever tried to grow parsnips.
Radishes “Rapid Red 2 Sel. Sanova”
Mrs. Homegrown complains that I never plant radishes. This year I addressed that grievance.
Beets “Bietolo da Orto Egitto Migliorata”
A repeat from last year, these are tasty red beets.
Buck’s horn plantain also known as “Erba Stella”
An edible weed.
One of my favorite plants. It’s begun to reseed itself in the yard. Useful as a tea and a green.
For more information on when to plant vegetables in Southern California, see this handy chart. And let us know in the comments what you’re growing or plan to grow during the cool season.