Gardeners — the days are getting longer and warmer, so we know you’ve got the itch to start playing in your garden beds! There are many crops that you can start planting now. At our Spring Plant Sale (first 2 weekends in April), we will have hundreds of 100% Organic seedlings of the following annuals:
- Brassicas such as kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli as well as mustards and bok choy.
- Lettuces and salad greens like arugula and mizuna.
- Alliums such as leeks and scallions and onions. Long day onions are especially appropriate for Spring!
- Sauté greens like chard and shungiku.
- Edible flowers like bachelor’s buttons, calendula and stock.
- Herbs such as parsley, cilantro and German chamomile.
One of OAEC’s favorite brassicas is kale. Kale is more nutritious than many other veggies, being high in iron and antioxidants, and you can grow it in the warmer months in this part of California. You always need sauté greens, even in the summer to go with your summer veggies like peppers and tomatoes! Plus, kale chips are all the rage — bring them to a potluck and you will be the hit of the party.
- Oregreen and Steely Green: Both are original varieties from a famous breeder in Oregon named Alan Kapuler.
- Shiny Diney, a Doug Gosling original, which is a sport of Lacinato, or “dinosaur,” kale. It appeared among seedlings of dinosaur kale several years ago, and Doug recognized it as unusual. He selected for it over many generations until it became its own open-pollinated variety.
- Frizzy is also a “Dougo original.” It’s a highly dissected Russian Red kale that makes the best raw kale salad because it’s so tender, like endive — no massaging or pounding required!
- Lacinato Rainbow is a cross between Lacinato kale and Redbor. It’s a beautiful, frilly variety overlaid with hues of red and purple.
There are many kinds of ornamental and edible perennials that you can plant year-round in the Bay Area. The OAEC Nursery offers perennials crops at our Seasonal Plant Sales, yet we feature them at our Perennials Weekends, which occur after our Summer and Fall Plant Sales. Come explore our incredible collection of drought-resistant perennial plants, many of which are appropriate for Permaculture Design applications!
Lovage and Alexanders: Featured 2015 Perennials
Celery is difficult to grow in our garden microclimate, so the OAEC Mother Garden grows these lower-maintenance celery cousins instead. The darker-green leaves of these herbs are similar in flavor to celery leaf or parsley with a bit more punch that speaks to the plants’ wilder nature. While not intended for raw munching as we are accustomed to with blanched (and bland) stalks of store-bought celery, these perennial potherbs are useful to have on hand year-round for seasoning broths, stews, and beans or for adding a handful to sauté greens for extra flavor.
- Named after Alexander the Great, Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) is an herb that was planted by the Romans during their conquests and now grows wild throughout much of Northern Europe, thriving in a variety of soil types and temperature zones. Blanching the leaves first tempers their bitterness and brings out a surprising sweetness that pairs especially well with kale and other brassicas. Alexanders is one of the few umbelliferous plants that has a sweetly fragrant flower.
- Originally from southwestern Asia, Lovage is another perennial celery relative which has a strong taste that mellows and sweetens with cooking. It is a delicious addition to soups, lentils and beans and various meat dishes, is surprisingly good in sushi, and is a revelation when paired with fresh raspberries!