Monday, May 10, 2010

Giant

No, I'm not talking about the 1956 James Dean flick -- I'm talking about chard! Lookit this giant leaf of chard. This variety is called 'Fordhook Giant' and now I know why! (That's a quarter on top of the leaf) This one leaf is 17 inches long!
'Fordhook Giant' chard

These chard plants are over a year old. Despite last summer's drought and last winter's freezes, they are still putting out sweet, tasty, tender, HUGE leaves. Our favorite way to prepare chard is a quick saute in olive oil with lots of garlic and chopped onion. YUM.

As I went out to harvest this bounty, Jack mentioned me he chased off a bunch of grackles today that were "eating our chard." Hmm, I thought, I didn't know grackles ate chard. It didn't take it long for me to figure out what the grackles were eating. It wasn't the chard, it was ON the chard!
Caterpillar on chard
I showed Jack the caterpillar and suggested that next time he sees a buncha grackles in the vegetable garden, he might want to leave the grackles alone to do their job. Let 'em earn their keep, so to speak. Love 'em or hate 'em, grackles are great bug eaters. Yeah, they might eat a few earthworms, they might eat some butterfly caterpillars, but they might eat some bad bugs too. Whaddya gonna do? It's nature. Sometimes, you can't control these things.


Words and photos © 2009-2010 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

9 comments:

  1. Wow those are huge leaves! Well, at least the grackles are earning thier keep. :-)--Randy

    ReplyDelete
  2. My goodness what other veggies are you growing in your garden? I can't wait to see the size of your tomatoes...:) Seriously, the chard looks so healthy and I bet it is delish.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, tomatillos, peppers, pole beans, squash, potatoes...is that it? Yes, I think that's it. The tomatoes are just starting to set fruit. Nothing's really established except the chard. Once you plant chard, you always have chard. Chard is Forever.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have one of those too. One is enough! However, I have not been picking, thinking that the leaves would be quite tough. Must give them a try. I planted it last year.One of my chard went to seed, which I have never seen before.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'd love to grow chard. Thanks for the post. And advice about letting grackles do their thing!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I've never grown - or eaten chard, but this is the second post I've read in the last week about how good it is! I'll have to try it. You're looks really healthy!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lancashire rose, I haven't been picking either, and two of our four chard plants started to go to seed this month, too. I just chopped the plants down to the ground, and did a taste test to make sure the leaves were sweet and tender before we cooked them. I fully expect the chopped down plants to come back.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The chard looks great! I just growing them for the first time this year. What a gorgeous gorgeous leaf.

    Now, off to figure out what a grackle is...

    ReplyDelete
  9. Wow, that is fabulous you have had the chard plants so long. Such an interesting concept that is is never cold enough to kill them :) Lucky you to have grackles to eat the bugs.

    ReplyDelete