Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Mâche is the bomb!

Mâche. Far and away my favorite salad green! It is also known as corn salad, as it can grow as a weed in cornfields. It is lovely when it is raw and wintry outside, it has a terrific almost succulent texture, and delicious almost floral flavor. It needs the sparsest of dressings - simply a red wine vinegar and shallot vinaigrette would dress it up nicely. Its succulent texture makes it seem almost creamy, and some have even called it the mayonnaise of the leafy green world. Whatever you call it, it is unique, beautiful, and delicious - all qualities I look for in my world of food. The picture at left is our first mâche crop in March 2007. We usually plant it in February and by March we have a crop. It germinates only in cool weather, and grows best in it. That's why we're always dismayed when we get that first hot spell in April, the mâche bolts, and it's over! Talk about short season! SO. In order to satisfy our bellies for a longer duration, and due to the spring-like weather we've been having, we decided to go ahead and see if we could plant some now, get it going, and have a crop earlier next Spring - and if we keep having this mild weather - perhaps even sooner! Today was sunny, cool and dry. Perfect excuse to go do some planting, and give the cabin-feverish dogs some much-needed running time! Off to the farm to plant mâche!

This year we're trying Large Leaf Round & Verte de Cambrai mâche.

Spence tilled up some nice beds.

The dogs observed...

...and played in the newly seeded and prepped beds.

I hand-watered with a watering can. Mâche definitely needs ample water to germinate well - we've planted it in the past without watering hoping the water present in the soil was enough - sparse germination resulted. So - hopefully we're off and running! I can taste my salad already!

1 comment:

julierubaud said...

I planted it around this time last year in an unheated house and it wasn't ready until March. It germinated and grew to about a half inch and just sat there until the days were longer. But it tasted great once it finally did grow. In France, they transplant it in soil block which they just lay on the ground and then over head sprinklers water it in enough for the roots to stretch into the earth. The elevated seedling, in its block, gets lots of air flow and is really resistant to disease. It's a nice system if you can rig up overhead irrigation for a little while.