Friday, March 9, 2012

Tale of Two Greens (Chard and Collards)

Red Swiss Chard
Two other greens from the garden that have performed well are Swiss Chard and Collards. They have overwintered beautifully with little or no protection. IMHO they are beautiful and they make me feel good about gardening every time I open the gate and see them there poking over the top of the concrete block bed.

The Swiss chard is my favorite. I married a Yankee guy from Western New York. I kid you not, Western New York is every bit as rural as Arkansas. The people up there are just as crazy about hunting, there are just as many farms and two lane country highways going through little burgs no one has ever heard of. There are also Mennonite buggies, and apple orchards and roadside vegetable stands but that's a different story. Anyway... my mother-in-law introduced me to fresh beets and beet greens. These had never graced my childhood garden or table.

The only beets I ever saw served as a child were sitting on the “seconds table” School lunches had commodity foods that you could serve yourself at our lunches, things like raisins, beans, butter, honey, beets, grits etc. I think this was one of the ways that the government used up the foods from farms that were subsidized by the agricultural subsidy programs. Very few kids ever went for seconds from the seconds table. I realize now that a few who were really hungry did and those who were picky or had strange tastes (that would be me).
Anyway, as an adult I discovered I loved beets and chard. Believe me, if you can eat a mustard green or turnip green, then you can eat a beet green or chard, they are much milder than mustard or turnip. I can't tell the difference taste-wise between beet greens and chard. They look different, the chard is a larger leaf and fleshier, but they taste much the same.

The other greens are collards. This is the pick of one of my co-gardeners in this shared garden. His mom dried collards for him to take with him when he hiked the Appalachian Trail (see Minimal Intentions blog link this page). That's how much they like collards. I don't remember how he said they prepared them.

He can pick chard if he wants and I can pick collards. I like collards but he doesn't like chard much, hmmmm..... . The key to community gardening is to communicate really well and frequently and then just don't worry about the transgressions or misunderstandings. Let them go. Sounds simple but it takes some work to care but not clench.


  1. Wise words for community gardeners, especially at the end.

    On another note, my hubby says that beets taste like dirt. I, on the other hand, LOVE beets. So a friend of mine told me how to cook them in a way that he might like them. She told me to cook them whole, wrapped in foil, and serve them with salt and feta cheese. She says it's a whole new flavor than what one might expect when eating a beet. We shall see. I have not tried it yet but I will.

  2. Sounds great. I will definitely give that a try. Thanks for sharing it!