Winter Greens

Despite low temperatures and frosty mornings, we are continuing to harvest some winter greens from the garden.

Cavolo nero and pak choi harvested December

The Cavalo Nero, as always, makes a great winter vegetable, with a robust flavour with a hint of sweetness. Unfortunately, though, the pak choi is really bitter – not sure whether this is a trait of the variety, which is different to those we grew and enjoyed through the summer, or a symptom of malcontent.

Pak choi and cavolo nero leaves

Whatever the answer, it’s a shame, as the plants look crisp and fresh, seeming to stand up to the weather well so far.

Netted Christmas tree standing against the house

For more seasonal greenery, this weekend we bought our Christmas tree from a local farm, which will stand out in the garden for another week before we bring it into the house and dress it. We always choose a Norway Spruce; while the fine needles may drop everywhere, the sweet scent vividly conjures up childhood Christmases for us both, so there’s no contest from its no-drop no-scent cousins in our eyes – although the fact that it will stand on a sweepable slate floor probably helps! The smell in the car as we drove it home was quite delicious.

Ladybird dress

With less demands on our time from the garden, I’ve been spending some time sewing; one of my latest projects being this ladybird dress for my god-daughter’s first Christmas. I have a few other gifts still to finish, and various bits of baking, not to mention cards to write and send, so free time is something of a luxury of late.

That reminds me: I must order some ladybird poppy seeds for next year…

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19 thoughts on “Winter Greens

  1. My Black Tuscany has not done well this year, plus one of the batches I was sold as plug plants turned out to be cabbage! Shame about the pak choi, as you say, it looks really good, maybe it’s better cooked? Christina

    • We usually only grow mustard red frills, and that in summer, though I did sow giant mustard in the unheated greenhouse a month or so ago so we may get to see how it tastes after a freeze once it’s grown. Kale is said to be sweeter after frost, and we’ve had a few now.

      I wondered if it was the frosts that made the pak choi so bitter, or a general disagreement with the weather… it’s not really known as a winter crop.

  2. Somehow we managed not to grow cavalo nero this year and I am really missing it. I love the look of the little dress, so simple! I rather like the way the winter releases me from the garden to knit and crochet and read and do all the things that I tend not to do in the summer.

    • Ah, cavalo nero is one of my favourite vegetables, though we somehow managed to only raise a few plants this year – more next time!
      I agree – lovely to be released from the winter garden to relax and create indoors.

  3. I am really tempted to try the Cavalo Nero next year – I love (eating) any dark green veg and this looks so tempting. Does it have a really long growing season – when did you start it off? The pinafore is lovely too – and it’s great to have got the ladybird button for it. I was amazed at the range of buttons available when I was looking on eBay for the Hello Kitty and cupcake buttons for Elder Daughter’s garter – I want to make myself something with baking accessory buttons!

    • Ah, do try Cavalo Nero; both handsome and tasty, what’s not to love. I sowed these back in the spring, and there have been harvestable leaves since the summer, so it does have rather a long growing season indeed, invaluable in our garden.
      There’s a lovely choice of buttons out there, isn’t there? I want a needlecord pinafore with ladybird buttons for myself!! 😉

  4. Oh there’s nothing quite like the smell of a Christmas tree – well worth all the sweeping up although slate must win over carpet any day. What a shame about the pak choi. Which variety is it? I think I would be tempted to put it down to variety rather than unhappiness. Your god daughter will look most festive and bright in her ladybird dress and can be sure of being unique.

    • I’ll have to double check the pak choi variety. Oddly, I nibbled on the leaf of one of the remaining plants still in the ground, and it didn’t seem bitter, so perhaps it was just an anomaly… We’ll have to try more.

  5. I envy you your smell of Christmas from the tree – nothing quite beats it, but we will be away from just after Christmas so no real tree for us this year 😦 Beautiful little dress for your god daughter, lucky girl! Good job you haven’t loads of winter gardening to do! Such a shame about the Pak Choi – mine is going great guns, though some of it is bolting, and still tasted good in a stir fry if a little strong in a sarnie. Maybe it is the variety? I have helpfully noted mine down as being “golden” pak choi…

    • Ah, sorry that you won’t have a tree at home, but hope you have a lovely time away. We’ll have to try the pak choi again, as a leaf I picked off one of the other plants a few days ago didn’t taste bitter at all… it’s a mystery! We definitely enjoyed our summer pak choi, which was an earlier variety.

  6. Your Cavalo Nero looks magnificent, we have some Pak Choi still growing, I haven’t picked in a while, but I’m curious to know if ours tastes bitter as well. Lovely sewing 🙂 Bx

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