Mandy's Greenhouses / Leafy Greens
Welcome everyone to possibly the “healthiest” section that we offer in the way of terrific greens for your palate! The past couple of years has helped me to re-evaluate what customers really want to eat and buy. Strangest of strange…they prefer to buy “bags of aged Spinach greens” from the store rather than grow their own! The other surprise…they would have “moi” grow out started greens rather than start them themselves! Well…if that is what they want…then they shall have it! We have certainly had great success in this area.
As is always the case, some varieties were favorites and others not so much. In keeping with my customers’ demands, I have decided to discontinue a few varieties (they didn’t perform so hot by me either…) and explore if there are others to consider. Hopefully I am offering some Heirloom varieties as well as Open Pollinated that will become favorites for everyone. This area has certainly an assortment of “eye candy“, as well as “crazy flavors“. I’ve had to encourage customers to “taste” a few leaves to help them in their selection. THAT was FUN for me! Some made faces and others were impressed. Others said their tongues burned! Loads of laughs here! We could not help but admire the different flavors, colors, leaf shapes and textures available.
All the varieties offered below will come as Plants. The majority are annuals in pots 3 1/2″ for $1.50. Usually there will be from 1 to 4 plants per. depending on individual variety. Just for the record – I will still offer few packets of Spinach (and one Collard) for direct sowing!
Perennials like Lovage, Spinach Malabar, Sorrel and a few others will be $3.00 per pot. Check our ORDER HERE section for shipping.
- Amaranth “Red Leafed” – from Japan. “Red Calaloo” in the Caribbean. A tricolored amaranth that is medium green in color with oval to heart-shaped leaves, overlaid with burgundy. Excellent salad greens. Heat tolerant. 50 days
- Amaranth Hopi Red Dye – ancient grains and ancient var. grown by the Hopi Indians. (The native N. A. Indian tribes have offered us so many different varieties of vegetables and grains that I think we could easily loose count! All are wonderful, beautiful and very useful! To that we can be extremely grateful!) This absolutely stunning 6 ft. plant was used as a ceremonial red (safe) food dye and to produce (red!) cornmeal. The entire plant…stems, leaves and flower bracts are a deep burgundy/red/purple! Leaves can be used in salads!
- Arugula “Roquette Astro” – Fast growing, cool-season salad or sandwich greens. Offers up a sharp, slightly peppery taste. Nutty, distinctive flavor. Widely used in Europe, mixed with lettuce and other greens. Best Harvested when young. Pretty garnish. Self seeding and cold hardy. 30-55 days
- Arugula “Turkish Rocket” – This heirloom dates back to 1880’s from Europe. Increasingly popular salad green. Neither mustardy or peppery…in a class of its own. Very cold hardy. Quick to bolt in hot weather, so should be sown in late summer. Surface soil sown only, as it requires light to germinate. Keep moist. Ready in 30 days! A long lasting variety with purple veins.
- Broccoli “Rapini” – a traditional Italian (European) vegetable that produces mild broccoli-like tasty green leaves for early tender greens. Actual heads do not appear. An “all-summer” veggie for steaming or eating raw. Has some spicy tang to the leaves. 60 days
- Celery “Curled” – New for 2013! (aka Zwolsche Krul Celery) A leaf or cutting variety from Holland. This very curled type resembles curled parsley. Can be used either as an ornamental or for eating just like parsley. Aromatic leaves are mild in flavor and can be used in stews, soups or lightly in salads or as a garnish. Plants do not grow as tall as conventional celery, remaining at 12″ tall. Annual.
- Celery “Giant Red (Reselected)” – New for 2013! A vigorous variety “reselected” from the traditional Giant Red. Bred for bigger size, cold resistance and best flavor. Stems are dark pink/rose and beautiful and performs as asked! Easy.
- Celery “Red Stemmed” – this heirloom has been grown since the 1700’s! It offers more robust (pungent/fuller) flavor than regular celery and is excellent in stews & soups. The stalks are thinner than modern day celery with lovely burgundy red and emerald green shading. Plants offer more multiple branching of stems & leaves than conventional celery. Tender in either young or older state. In milder climates, can be mulched to last well into winter. Celery has been known to calm the stomach. (AND a natural breathe freshener!)
- Celery “Utah” – the staple of our kitchens here in North American for as long as I can remember! Has always grown easy for me (blanched or un-blanched…) provided I offered lots of moisture and lots of room. Will taste stronger if you grow it as opposed to buying some but that is completely normal. A Naturopathic doctor once told me that radishes and celery are 2 of the best immune boosters one can eat…so be my guest!
- Chicory “Castelfranco” – my Gosh! What a beautiful Radicchio! An old heirloom from (where else…) Italy. These beautiful round heads are a mesmerizing blend of cream and wine/red/burgundy, some darker, some lighter forms certainly possible. Pure “eye candy”! I can see this strain becoming a ton notch seller and a market grower’s dream! Cool moist weather will also intensify these.
- Chicory “Variegata” – (aka Chioggia Variegata) Heads form like lettuce to 6” in diameter. Leaves are a light ice green with intricate patterns of red and maroon flecks. One needs to see it to believe it! Loves cool weather, so plants will perform fantastically in the latter half of the season…thru summer. Cooler weather will bring out the cream variegation better than hot conditions will. More nutrition for the tail end of the season for you!
- Collard “Georgia Southern” – New for 2013! Another heirloom pre-1880. A really popular vegetable from ‘the South”. It offers many healthy nutrients and should be eaten here a lot more, as it is easy to grow. Seed out (4 weeks before last frost) quite thin, or start inside in small pots and later transplant to 1 foot apart. Can also plant as a fall crop just 8 weeks before last frost. Offered in packets….$1.50
- Cress “Upland” – 2010 was a classic case of “try before you buy” event, when it came to selecting new salad greens. Salad lovers really took to the “Wrinkled Cress” offered, due to its peppery-like “kick”! So this year we are offering another “kissing cousin”. Leaves are dark green, rounded and glossy. A little easier to grow and very slow to bolt in hot weather. Must be sown shallow & in bands, as seeds are fine. Fast grower once out, but germination is slow. 50 days from sowing out.
- Cress “Wrinkled Crinkled” -here is a “snappy” number that customers really enjoyed when they “taste trialed” last year. Very peppery and sweet at the same time! Leaves are spoon-shaped (you wouldn’t know it just by looking at it), bright green with super frilly edges. Plants do not grow big but offer fantastic regrowth for multiple cuttings AND resists bolting for longer times than most. 21 days
- Epazote – (aka Wormseed) The likes of this one, I had not heard of till now! It is supposed to reduce gas when cooked with dry beans for soups or re-fried beans. Strong scented foliage, highly esteemed in Mexico & Guatemala for seasoning corn, black beans, mushrooms fish and shellfish. Wormseed oil is frequently prescribed to expel intestinal parasites! Loves hot weather. Dry some for winter use. Plant in full sun, 12-18” apart to allow them to develop larger. Plant out 2 weeks after the last frost…is not cool weather/frost tolerant.
- Komatsuna Red – Strong plants hold themselves more upright, reaching about 12″ tall. This version is quite colorful, with dark maroon on the oval leaf surface, with green underneath! This Japanese “Wow” var. will perform best sown very early in spring, after damaging frost have passed OR in early fall for preferred cooler growing weather. Coolness and summer sunshine will intensifies this var. 50 days
- Komatsuna “Summer Fest” Green – another variety as above listed, only in a beautiful emerald green. These greens are tender and mild…perfect for braising and stir-fries. Great heat tolerance. Prefers cooler growing weather. 50 days
- Lovage – young leaves taste like celery and are used in spring tonic salads, with potato and poultry dishes. The entire plant (leaves and stems) starts out looking (and smelling) like a celery plant, until testosterone starts kicking in later in the spring and the hollow stems (with flowers on top…) reach 6 ft.! The flowers look like those of rhubarb and must be cut off to stop the plant from looking rangy. Plant this one in the leanest soil that you can find. It is here to stay (hardy perennial…) and is a great conversation piece! Folks say it has warming digestive tonic properties and an aromatic stimulant. Indeed it does!
- Mizuna Green – A beautiful salad green of Japanese origin. These prolific plans produce loads of broad light green serrated leaves with white ribs. Shows great cold tolerance. Also a wonderful addition to salad mixes and stir-fries! 40 days
- Mizuna Purple - Could not get enough of the leaf texture and intense color this one has to offer.Finely serrated dark purple leaves with red veins and stems. Flavor is slightly sweet mixed with some mild pungency. Not a strong flavor…just very interesting.
- Mustard “Golden Frills” – here is a pungently sweet taste sensation that travels farthest away from any purple or burgundy in our books! How about bright lemon/lime oval, green leaves with seriously serrated, frilly edges? With varieties available, like these to grow out (knowing how nutritious they are…) how could anyone buy their greens in a grocer, if even one pot is standing empty all summer, by the back door?! An excellent tasty salad green and garnish. 45 days
- Mustard “Japanese Red Giant”– Large (indeed…very large!) beautiful red/purple/green tinted leaves with slightly darker narrow supporting stems. Slower than most other varieties. It has a delicious, strong, sharp, almost garlic-like mustard flavor! Tasty stir-fried or boiled and makes a great (?) pickling variety. 45 days mature 21 days for first greens
- Mustard “Osaka Purple” – of Japanese origins. These majestic plants will grow to 12 -15″ tall, producing very attractive mustard greens. Dark purple leaves are round, savoy-textured with white veins…nice! Flavor…med. hot. It is recommended that young leaves be eaten fresh and older, be steamed or sauteed. Produces greens all season. 65-85 days
- Mustard “Ruby Streaks” - I fell flat on my face for this one! Super attractive var. with deeply serrated and frilly leaves offering a pungent, yet sweet taste. This is an outstanding vegetable with its eye-popping blends of green/purple and dark maroon! Late summer & fall sunshine seems to bring out the “heat” in this one. Texture sensations on the tongue? You can only imagine! 45 days
- Mustard “Scarlet Frill” – Very much like our above feature, only difference is a dark red/burgundy/green color palette. Attractive leaves are very ruffled/serrated, taste and very spicy. A perfect “customerizer” for any salad. 47 days
- Mustard “Suehlihung” Green Serrated – a Brassica rapa…japonica form. Can be grown from very early spring till late summer. Keep most greens spaced 2-4″ apart so each has room to expand and show its “stuff”. This variety is modestly fringed and slightly wavy. Plants are medium green, offering moderate amount of branching. Proved itself as slow bolting. A “kissing” cousin to “Golden Frills“. 45 days
- Quinoa “Temuco” – New for 2013! After my brother-in-law brought out a dish of this “grainy” vegetable for our annual summer family gathering AND was bragging about it soooo much (…we are just skeptical conservative Europeans!) I decided to investigate this variety. Indeed there is a ton of this stuff (variety wise…) out there, ripe for the picking. “Southerners” just “love” their grains! Sooo…I decided to trial some last year. As customers saw it in pots…they started telling me to rip out the darn “Lambs Quarters” showing up in a few of my pots! Well! I best have a “look see” what this thing was supposed to look like! Darn it anyway…it DOES look like this weed! AND this summer proved it, as the huge seed head started maturing! Now I know I have a few (maybe more than a few…) escapees. So will have to check them out next year! Ah…come on. Don’t be afraid…it is just grains!
- Pac Choi “Red Choi” - I have seen plenty of green varieties offered over the years, but never seen a red form before! And that is what this G.H. is about…offering always the bizarre and unusual. A versatile 12″ x 12″ plant, pretty enough for the flower patch with its wide strong colorful deep burgundy leaves or the pot! Young-ings start out dark green with maroon veins, late changing to solid maroon at maturity. 50 days
- Pac Choi (regular) – (aka Pak Choi, aka Bok Choi) New for 2013! A staple of many Asian markets and always easy to find these even in our own store vegetable markets. BUT it wouldn’t it be nice if the next bunch was harvested straight from your garden, next summer! These have a mild mustard flavor with background sweetness. Very popular in most Chinese “greens” dishes. Stems are light green & thick, bearing heavy dark green foliage. These are also a prime favorite of Flea beetles…so be prepared to do some row cover cropping!
- Radicchio “Rossa de Treviso” – Heritage variety that looks like a glossy deep red and green long leafed Romaine lettuce. During hot dry summers, moisture must be maintained or growth will be slow. Prefers cool weather, during which immense size and color will develop. Use either cooked or raw in salads. A nice yummy suggestion…brush with olive oil and grill quickly on low and partner with Bruschetta. 90-100 days (or sooner for younger greens)
- Radicchio “Verona Red” - Starts out as a short leafed Romaine, later changing to a butter-head form. Eventually the plant produces (loose) open heads…10-14” in diameter! As it is a cool weather lover, the fall chill intensifies the leaf color to a superb deep burgundy with dark emerald splashes. Indeed it can handle considerable frost (as witnessed) keep plants in this family at least 14 to 16” apart, one from another for growth. 90-100 days (or sooner for younger greens)
- Sorrel regular – (aka Rumex acetosa, aka Sheep’s Sorrel, aka Kleiner Sauer Ampfer, aka Petite Oseille, aka Schapenzuring…) Native to Europe, norther Africa and south west Asia. This one Oma & Opa and my parents used extensively, come early spring when not much else (besides winter onions…) was offered. It has been in my family for as long as I can remember. We called it “Sour Rhubarb” or “Sauer Rumpel”. It was a staple of summer soups. If one eats the raw, young leaves in the spring, they will taste somewhat sour/lemony (needs some getting used to…) This distinctive flavor will impart into soup and stews. Raw young leaves can be used as greens in salads sparingly, unless you like the tangy. A long tap rooted perennial that is unbelievably hardy, offering fresh young leaves when all other plants are still asleep!
- Sorrel “Blonde de Lyon” - an improved form of the above with lighter green coloration, heavier stems and thicker leaves. Grows slower than the above listed, but just as hardy.
- Sorrel “Red Veined” – (aka Rumex sanguineus, aka Bloody Dock, aka Red Veined Dock, aka Bloodwort, aka Bloody Sorrel ) Said to be a British native. Has the same sharp, tangy flavor as the others. Only this one comes with some added flare. Long tap rooted perennial featuring a rosette of elongated dark emerald green leaves with distinctive deep red or purple veins. Best harvested when leaves are young, as older leaves become tough & unpalatable. Will (sometimes) winter over if planted in a prepared permanent bed. And if that is not enough…known to seed out gently. For some reason acts like a biennual in my garden…lasting about 2 years and then dies out. I am tho always left with a few “babies” scattered around. I just have to watch and not step on them! Treat just like the green form. 55+ days for young harvests.
- Spinach “American” – Spinach originated in Persia and quickly spread to India, China and finally Europe. It is prized for its buttery, crisp flavor. Prefers cool weather, so seed directly in very early spring. Bolts quickly in warm weather, so pick leaves young. This variety is a long standing Bloomsdale type. Compact 8” tall, thick, deep green, savoy leaves. Very slow-growing and slow bolting. Heat and drought resistant. Excellent quality for early spring sowing in “long day” areas (southern states). Great fresh, raw or canned. Plant every 15 days. 45 days Packets…$1.50
- Spinach “Bloomsdale” – Dark green, glossy and delicious leaves. The “standard”, since 1925. Will perform better in hot weather than most, providing it has abundant moisture. Prefers cold weather. Sow very thinly… as early as possible. 45 days Packets…$1.50
- Spinach “Haldenstein” – a Swiss winter heirloom from Haldenstein, Graubunden where an entire village has grown it since before WW1. An old fashioned, prickly-seeded (oh my…are they ever prickly!) large-leafed form that HHS tells us is extremely rare today. Leaves are triangle-shaped and serrated (just like the seeds…) Packets…Rare $2.00
- Spinach – Heather’s Uncle - back for 2013! My gardening friend, Heather Cline offered these to me in 2007. The seed looks just like it should belong to parsnips! She insisted that it is a true spinach form. The leaves certainly look like a semi-wildish form of Spinach. AND they taste like Spinach! This particular family has many peculiar relatives (judging by the seeds…) and this one seems to be no exception! One certainly worth trying, as there is no limit in the amount of seeds offered for next years sowing, once you acquire it. Thank you Heather! Packets…$1.50
- Spinach “King of Denmark” – (aka “Olympia” ) Large dark green leaves with a broad, rounded quilted appearance. A cool weather vegetable. Best early spring or fall planted. Likes cool, rich, well-draining soils. Bug and disease resistant.Try a 2nd sowing for a fall crop. Requires lots of moisture and nitrogen, therefore won’t do well in our hot summers. Contains vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and Iron. Packets…$1.50
- Spinach “Malabar Asian Green Vine” – There seems to be differing opinions as to where this one originated. Countries taking credit are India, Italy and Indonesia. Vigorous climbing vines from summer till fall. Super heat lover, therefore very frost sensitive. Vines have beautiful thick, glossy, shiny, heart-shaped emerald green leaves. Mild “Swiss Chard” taste. Use leaves and stems sparingly in salads. Has been suggested to use as a stir-fry. Trellis recommended as it becomes a very long 12 ft. vine! Needs full sun and moist soil to look its best. Plants only. 85 days
- Spinach “Malabar Asian Red Vine” – (origin as above) This variety’s leaves & stems have an distinctively beautiful red/purple/green color combination… quite attractive in flower gardens. As with the other, leaves are very thick, succulent, glossy and heart-shaped. They love the heat, staying sweet and tender all summer long. Keep well feed and offer plenty of moisture. Stronger flavored than the green variety. Plants only 85 days
- Spinach “New Zealand” - Not listed in any Seed Savers journals! However, definitely a heirloom by all standards! Found originally growing wild on the shores of New Zealand by Captain Cook when he first discovered the island. Natives had no use for it! Sir Joseph Banks brought it back with him and introduced it into English gardens in 1772. A succulent annual of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and S. America. They claim it is not a true spinach. That it is related to the “ice plant”! When regular spinach and this one are both cooked, the 2 are virtually indistinguishable. Well…it has flown around this continent for some time and remains quite popular. An “Everbearing” variety that is hardy and tolerant of heat & drought! Harvest the pointy leaves until frost. Seeds are huge on this one! Packets…Rare! $2.00
- Spinach “Strawberry” – (aka Strawberry Spinach Blite) Been around for a long time in Europe, since commercially available in England. (I first saw a few small plants of this growing near my wood pile several summers ago and then again growing wild behind a friend’s cottage”across the line”. And as many of you know, curiosity got the best of me & I did some research. And now YOU can grow this strange curiosity…but with great improvements…) Use nutritious triangular, toothed-leaves raw or cooked/steamed like spinach. A short time later chubby red bumpy “raspberry-like” clustered berries (make sure they are very dark red ripe for best flavor) are produced in the axial of the leaves. The fruits are edible raw, but (to some…) maybe bland. A very attractive garnish (to surprise your guests!) in salads. A very showy, compact plant of only 8” x 8” tall. This is an annual. Be diligent and do not let it go to seed…as it will produce copious amounts! Is easy to control…yet hard to find. Plants only 55 days
- Yukina Savoy – leaves form a compact thick rosette…upright and vigorous for improved “baby leaf green” yields. Mild taste for salads and stir-fries. Grow 12-18” apart. Heat & cold tolerant. 21 days for baby greens 45 days till maturity
Within these pages you will find some of the most unusual vegetables (plants and seeds) from all corners of the globe, as you will not find anywhere else! Welcome...be amazed and enjoy!