Seedlings and Storms

Look what happened here today!

After a few weeks of warm, sunny weather, we’re back in a cycle of rainstorms, complete with bonus hail. Frozen stuff doesn’t often fall from the sky around here, so it’s pretty exciting.

Last month, I did a post about starting seeds, including information about the fungus attack that threatened my new sprouts. I thought I’d follow up to let you know that everyone is doing fine.

No more fungus!

I transplanted all of my starts from cell packs into bigger pots about a week ago, after they had developed one or two sets of true leaves. (True leaves appear after the the sprouts put out their two baby leaves, called “cotyledon” leaves.) You’d better believe that this time I washed all my recycled containers well, to minimize the chances of recycling diseases along with the pots.

Now I am tackling a new experiment, which is trying to raise them in this pop-up greenhouse that my mom lent to me . . .

In recent years, I have raised seedlings in the sunroom off our kitchen, which  has worked great but can be overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like the apple trees in The Wizard of Oz: You just know those dozens of plants are watching you. I thought it would be nice to set up a space where the plants could spread out and I could make a mess if I had to.

So far the greenhouse is great, except in last night’s storm it almost blew right off the deck. (Again with the Wizard of Oz theme; it’s been a long time since I watched the cyclone scene.) Inside, a set of metal shelves fell over and very nearly crushed my table of seedlings. I did lose two plants — and my celery starts tumbled to the ground, but somehow they landed right side up and I think they’ll be fine.

Survivors!

When I set up the greenhouse, I thought I had sufficiently weighted down the edges, but now I know differently. The thing is like a big balloon. (The instructions warned about this, but did I listen?) Stewart was outside with me at 10 o’clock last night in the pouring rain, driving big screws into the surface of his beautiful redwood deck to hold everything in place. (I know how much he loves that deck. Who needs Valentine’s Day?)

All in all, I think the greenhouse is great, and I’ll report on how it works out as spring progresses. (If you want to check them out, these greenhouses are available in lots of shapes and sizes from FlowerHouse.) I put a ceramic heater with a temperature regulator in there and I’m also trying to keep the space appropriately ventilated so things don’t get soggy. I can tell it’s going to take some practice to get the climate just right and I hope my seedlings turn out to be hardy and forgiving!

Finally, while I’m here talking about vegetables, I should mention that I have not forsaken my monthly veggie challenge.  February’s veggie is bok choy! I kind of like bok choy, but I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. If you’ve got a favorite way to serve it, I’m open to suggestions!

Bok Choy

Creative Commons License via Flickr: arsheffield

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11 comments to Seedlings and Storms

  • Shae- if you need help with your veggie challenge I have a great book for you…I know this is my second book recommendation for you (I have a slight book problem). Anyway…it is called Asparagus to Zucchini and it is published by the Madison Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, but you can find it on Amazon. The first year we had our CSA we had more Bok Choy than I thought we could ever eat. There are about 10 Bok Choy recipes in that book and I made them all! The book was invaluable for all the other veggies we received as well.

    This recipe was my favorite:

    Sesame Soy Braised Bok Choy

    1 head (or 6-8 baby heads) bok choy

    2 Tbs peanut oil

    1 Tbs grated ginger

    1 Tbs minced garlic

    ½ cup chicken stock

    1 Tbs toasted sesame oil

    2 Tbs soy sauce

    2 tsp rice vinegar

    1 tsp sugar

    Salt and pepper to taste

    2 Tbs sesame seeds

    Trim the root end off the bok choy. Slice the leafy portions of the plant from the stalks. Chop both the leaves and the stalks, keeping the two piles separate. Heat very large, heavy skillet or wok until it looks hazy over the surface, 2-4 minutes. Add peanut oil and swirl it to coat the pan. Add bok choy stems; stir-fry about 5 minutes.

    Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry briefly. Add bok choy greens, chicken stock, sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until bok choy is tender and glazed with sauce, 5-8 minutes.

    Remove cover, sprinkle with sesame seeds, increase heat to medium-high, and cook until excess liquid evaporates, 2-3 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste.

    Makes 4 servings

    • Shae

      Wow, Nicole, thanks for taking the time to type out the recipe for me. It looks wonderful. I just ordered a copy of the book, too. (Don’t worry about handing me to many recommendations. I also have book issues.) I requested your recommended donut book from the library, because I really shouldn’t own that one (!), but I think it’s safe for me to have this one on my shelf, especially considering this year’s veggie theme. Thanks, again!

  • There’s this, a summer staple at our house (I often omit the Napa cabbage and simply use all bok or joi choi, depending on what I have on hand):
    http://localkitchenblog.com/2009/07/17/so-what-soba-noodles/

    Stir-fried with chicken:
    http://localkitchenblog.com/2009/07/07/chicken-joi-choi-stir-fry/

    Or there is this awesome no-mayonnaise slaw from 101 Cookbooks; I will often use half: half Napa cabbage & bok choi:
    http://localkitchenblog.com/2009/08/08/lime-peanut-cole-slaw/

    We get a LOT of Asian cabbage from our CSA in Spring & Fall. It’s a constant battle to use it up, to tell you the truth, even though I love it. I will saute it like kale or other leafy greens; add to fritatta, pasta dishes, lasagne, make soup. It’s really quite versatile.

    • Shae

      Kaela, these are fabulous links, thank you. I will definitely be doing the soba noodle salad this weekend. I brought home noodles and a few heads of baby bok choy just today, to start experimenting. The slaw, too, looks amazing. Heck, they all do. You rock!

  • Val

    We had 30mph+ wind gusts here in the midAtlantic this week and I was chasing my plastic greenhouse covers all over the yard. Finding the space to do all of this right is a challenge. I only have 2-pronged outlets in my guest room, so my seedlings are going to be camped on the dining room table for a while.
    I love bok choy, but Nicole beat me to it, as I also mostly saute it in peanut oil and do an Asian noodle thing. Cooking the fleshy stem first is key, as the greens cook so quickly.

  • Your blog never ceases to inspire me — I had no idea the canning and jamming world was so varied. By way of thanks, I’m passing along the Stylish Blogger Award to you. If you’d like to read about it and pass it on, I’ve posted about it here: http://midwesternexposure.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/better-than-flowers/

  • Shae

    Thank you, Yankee! I am genuinely touched that you just popped up and did this. And I just thoroughly enjoyed my visit to your lovely blog. Much, much appreciated.

  • twobythesea

    I wondered where you went. I now can follow you via facebook I guess. But don’t know if that is a “friend thing” or not.
    Anyway I love your blog and don’t want to loose it.
    I agree with the rest that an Asian vege tastes better with Asian spices and lots of garlic.

    • Shae

      Pat, I’m glad you found your way to my new home! The Facebook follow is just a “page,” not a friend request. But if you had subscribed in some other way, you can refresh your subscription using the little “subscribe” button over to the right. Quite a few people are just catching up with me after they thought I disappeared. That’s been the only downside of moving, but it seems to be slowly righting itself. I’m going to try a bok choy recipe today! (I keep saying that, but today I mean it.)

  • You might have this bok choy challenge all covered already. If not, this might be helpful: http://steamykitchen.com/2112-bok-choy-stir-fry-recipe.html

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