Here's the first Even' Star American Rapa that I've picked this year (the large leaves in the back). I managed to get my timing just right with this crop since the Olive Leaf Rapini that I've been harvesting for the last few weeks has just finished and I'm pulling out the plants. The seeds for this green came from Fedco last year. Here's the descriptive blurb from the catalog:
3490RO Even’Star American Rapa OG (27 days for mesclun, 40 days to full leaf) Brassica oleracea “A real trooper,” according to breeder Brett Grohsgal, for its speed of growth and sweetness of leaf. A vigorous mild-flavored relative of the more well-known kales and collards without the hairy leaves and bitter or pungent taste of most European rapas. This strain, developed in southern Maryland, was selected for strong autumn growth, winter survival, spring re-growth and tolerance to BL and PM. Smooth slightly lobed leaves best when harvested at 9", though younger smaller leaves may be snipped for mesclun. Plants hug the ground much better than collards, helping account for its cold tolerance. Sweeter than most kales or collards, with a more delicate flavor. Though it doesn’t tipburn in heat, it is adapted for cool season rather than summer plantings. MD-certified.It's interesting that the description compares them mostly to kales and collards, I've found them to be more like rapini in flavor and tenderness. I would recommend them to anyone who wants to try a less bitter rapini type of green rather than as a kale or collard substitute.
These plants were started in paper pots on January 18, indoors, than moved out to the garden under a remay covered tunnel. The protection was more to keep the critters from munching than for the cold. I sowed 4 seeds per paper pot, most of which germinated and thinned to 3 plants per pot. I didn't thin again until last week. The plants seem to do fine with some initial crowding, then I start cutting plants at the soil line when they are fairly large. Once I'm down to a single plant in each space then I will harvest just the leaves until the plants start bolting, then the whole plant is harvested. Forty days to full leaf harvest seems to be an accurate timing if you start picking as recommended when they get to 9 inches. I've found that the larger leaves are fine to my taste, so I let them grow longer before harvesting. Now that I'm harvesting these plants I need to start some more, this time it's back to the Olive Leaf Rapini.
The basket also contains tender young fava leaves and some beet thinnings. I blanched the rapa and then sauteed it with the fava leaves and the greens from a large beet that I harvested that day. Another harvest of rapa yesterday was sauteed with Golden Chard along with some pine nuts and currants.
Here's the rest of the harvest for last week:
Chioggia Beets - 14 oz.
Beet Thinnings - 1.75 oz.
Golden Chard - 16 oz.
Fava Leaves - 3 oz.
Green Garlic - 3 oz.
Even' Star American Rapa - 24.75 oz.
Red Florence Fennel - 5.25 oz.
Total for the week - 67.75 oz. or 4 lb., 3.75 oz.
Total for the year - 38 lb., 4 oz.
Eggs this week - 13
If you would like to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting head on over to Daphne's Dandelions, the home of Harvest Monday.