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I Planted It-W hat Is It?  RSS feed

 
William Bronson
Posts: 1492
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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forest garden trees urban
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My loving wife is not trusting my Identification of plants as "edible greens". Mind you, these are in prepared beds that I have sown with -edible greens.
Going with the idea that "perfect is the enemy of the good" I slung seed everywhere, and labeled nothing. As a result even the identity of the torpedo radishes has been questioned( she thought they where turnips, which they do resemble...)
So could you help me identify the plant I may self planted?
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Wait, I remember this one but I planted it in a different bed..
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Mystery Greens #1
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Mystery Greens #2
 
Zach Muller
gardener
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Location: NE Oklahoma zone 7a
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bike books chicken dog forest garden urban
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I have the same problem all the time, and have even mis IDed and realized later what's what. It is certainly good practice for identifying seedlings and plants. Like right now I am about 90 percent sure I have a bundle of apple trees coming up from seed, but the jury is still out.

The first one in your pics may be a mustard green but I am not positive. Second one is brussel sprout, collard, or some other brassica I am pretty sure.
 
John Elliott
pollinator
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A mustard/turnip/radish of some type? Eating from your own garden means that you are going to have to drop the supermarket aesthetics as to shape, color, form, perfection, and blemishes or insect damage. A radish with a twinned root is never going to make it to the supermarket -- but it's still perfectly edible. Collards with some bug holes are not going to make it either -- even though it makes no difference if your ultimate use is to chop it up and cook it with some onions and hog jowl. And if you saved seed from last year and have some crossed plants, well, who know what they are going to look like.

Since we have narrowed them down to being some variety of Brassica, just pinch off a bit off and taste it. If it's mustard, you'll know real quick. If it's a more mild relative from the cabbage side of the family, you can decide if it would be good raw (like in slaw), or if it's a little tough, maybe it needs to be chopped up and fermented (you can sauerkraut almost any brassica), or you can put it in the slow cooker for some long term breakdown.

Broccoli has a typical story of modern food mass marketing. What gets served in restaurants and offered in the frozen food or fresh veggies section is the first heading of the plant, preferably mostly crown, with little stalk. Most of the stalk is thrown away -- it's great to put into soup or shredded into stir-fry. Leaves are also thrown away -- unless you are Italian, inwhich case the leaves make a nice addition to minestrone. The little secondary headings -- broccoli raab -- used to get turned under. But now they can be an upscale yuppie vegetable, lightly steamed and served cold with some vinaigrette. If you've ever seen a broccoli field after harvesting, you will be amazed at how little biomass actually ends up at the grocery store and how much of it gets fed to cows or pigs, if it isn't just turned under.

If it looks nice, take a taste. Then you can think about what would be the best way to prepare it. If it doesn't look nice, it's still good rabbit/pig/goat/guinea pig fodder. Whatever they don't eat, boil up until it is soft and throw it in the chicken pen. Chickens will eat just about anything.

Maybe with a little more time, the wife will be a little more adventurous with plants from the garden. Don't be afraid to experiment. Try them in all sorts of recipes. Except for trying to make bread-and-butter pickles out of kohlrabi; I tried that a while ago and that wasn't a keeper.

 
William Bronson
Posts: 1492
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
19
forest garden trees urban
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Thanks for your posts, I feel a little better now I know even old hands are apt to have trouble keeping track sometimes.
The sprout in the first picture is totally on board, IDed a sunchoke for her mom today, knows bind weed on sight, loves, loves,loves harvesting from HER fairy garden.
I think a pot of greens is in order, and a new planting, maybe this time I will mark them!
 
Jessica Gorton
Posts: 274
Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
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I'd agree with the potential IDs of the previous posters - in the second case, I'd be shocked if it wasn't a brassica of some sort, and my guess would be a variety of kale (particularly since you said that it was a greens mix). To really be sure, as a beginner, I'd suggest sowing seeds in rows of plants you don't recognize. You'll know right away which are what you planted on purpose and which are weeds/volunteers. And to get good at identification, let those plants go to flower, and then to seed, and take pictures of those stages too. Then you can post them here, get a good field guide or ID book, and/or ask a farmer what you've got.

 
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