"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Friday, October 23, 2009

A Little Help Potting Endive

Penelope giving my lovely wife instructions on how to properly pack endive roots ↑

With a little help from our trusty assistant and self-proclaimed Master Gardener, Penelope, we were finally able to get some of the endive pulled and packed into pots for storage. Little red headed Penelope has been a step ahead of the rest of the flock since day one. We can take her into the garden without worrying about what she'll get into as she just likes to keep us company. This never works out too well with the other birds who immediately seek out the garden's forbidden fruits. They must be very jealous of her as they are only able to watch from afar as we dote on her. She is a very affectionate girl, the minute you kneel down she will hop onto your leg seeking attention...chicken love, it's a Northern Idaho thing.☻ If these crazy birds ever get setty I hope it's her as she is by far the most intelligent of the bunch, and that's not saying much.


After carefully pulling the endive so as not to break the roots, we cut all the greens off and put them into a large pile slowly feeding them out to the chickens over the next few days. Piled up like this the waste greens will stay fresh for over a week in fall's cooler temperatures and provide the birds with a valuable source of nutrition. The roots are then layered into small pots for storage. I finally figured out that if you lay the pot on it's side it is much easier to place the long rooted endive into them...it was Penelope's suggestion of course. I will take these pots out of our root cellar and into the much warmer upstairs one at a time and enjoy the forced greens in the middle of winter. The roots can also used as a coffee substitute - Poor Man's Coffee.

Forcing = the art of raising plants, flowers, and fruits at an earlier season than the natural one, as in a hotbed or by the use of artificial heat. In our case this applies to winter salad greens - Forced To Provide.

A substitute for this root, both for forcing greens and a sorry cup of dried root coffee, is the common dandelion.


21 comments:

Heiko said...

Can I borrow your "bird" some time?

Anonymous said...

This may be a silly question, but as I am new to the world of gardening, I will ask... Why don't you eat the endive greens yourself rather than giving them to the little chickys?

Paige

granny said...

Hi Mr H.I have a dvd called "The Victorian Kitchen Garden" that I think you would find interesting.Not sure if is available in the States,but a google search,or maybe ebay,might help.Its a British bbc television series about the restoration of a victorian walled kitchen garden, full of information,I think you would enjoy.
The Victorian Kitchen Garden,with Peter Thoday and Harry Dodson.

Matron said...

chickens and chicory! You're a poet and you don't knowit!

Mr. H. said...

Heiko,

You may indeed borrow the bird in trade for some of those fine grapes you seem to have an abundance of.:)

Mr. H. said...

Paige,

Although we do use many endive greens in our daily salads they do not freeze particularly well. So faced with a large surplus of the greens we simply enjoy their nutritional benefits via the chickens eggs. They do make for a most interesting tasting quiche though.

Mr. H. said...

Granny,

I have seen the video! It really is great and we are able to watch it on You Tube. Harry Dodson is my hero.:)

Mr. H. said...

Matron,

Well what do you know, I guess I am.:)

granny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
granny said...

Well there you go! I just knew Harry Dodson was your kinda guy,lol.

LynnS said...

And just look at that fantastic soil!!! Do you have loamy soil there?

I've also wondered if you grow green cover crops on any of your rows?

Mr. H. said...

Granny,

What I would have given to study under him. I do have a wonderful book "The Victorian Kitchen Garden" by Jennifer Davis that goes into detail about the kitchen garden in Bershire.

Mr. H. said...

Lynn,

We have a nice sandy loam that most crops love to grow in. Our biggest soil issue is keeping the water in the soil...very sandy.

We do grow a cover crop! A very traditional cover of weeds. Seriously, I stop weeding in late August and let them take over and then till them under in the early spring. It does help that many of the weeds are clover.

I also started sheet mulching everything last season and loved the way it worked. I cut all my dead crops and let them fall where they are. Some, like corn, I have to painstakingly chop into little bits first.

Check out my post 1/29/09 post "Much Ado About Compost" sometime and you can read more of my crazy thoughts. Keep in mind that I have only just begun experimenting with this.

Stefaneener said...

Nice! We once had a chicken as personal as Penelope, although I don't recall her being very self-restraining about the garden goodies! Good to have company.

Enjoy your endive.

Naomi said...

Penelope is sweet! My chooks would rather 'assist' me by digging holes and pruning lol.

Mr. H. said...

Stefaneener,

Penelope is a giant among chickens, she knows that the best treats are to be had by hanging out with us.:)

Mr. H. said...

Naomi,

They do like to prune. I remember when one of our silly birds got into the garden this spring. She ate all the tops off the carrots in a square foot area, kicked some dirt around and then proceded to leave me an egg. Too bad I didn't notice the egg until a week later.

Silke said...

I grew up calling endive (the salad kind) "chicoree," the French word for chicory. Daniel and I used to love drinking the Cafe du Monde coffee, which is part coffee, part chicory. Hmmm, I just looked up chicory (Wegwarte in German) in the German Wikipedia and found out it's also called Zichorie. :) Silke

P.S. Penelope is a beautiful chicken! I think she knows it...

Mr. H. said...

Silke,

I thought that because of where you lived that you would have tried a little chicory coffee. I have only tried the kind we make.

Yes, Penelope is very aware of her beauty. We actually had to install a mirror in the coop so she could gaze at herself in the morning. It's a sorry state of affairs over here in Idaho.

I'm kidding about the mirror of course.:)

Silke said...

Your story about the mirror reminds me of where I used to ride our horse growing up - there was a big mirror on one side of the big hall we used ride in so we could check our posture, etc. Except that we could never see much because the stable's peacocks were always posing in front of the mirror... I bet Penelope would love to gaze at herself! ;) Silke

Mr. H. said...

Silke,

Now I'm laughing.:)

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