“Mache” Pit

Since today was 80 degrees, about 35 higher than the seasonal norm, the whole family was out rooting around in the flower and vegetable gardens. The vegetable garden is my job, and so between planting some peas, parsnips, radishes, and salad mix, I had the time to see what had survived our rototiller last October. The answer: mache! (It sounds just like the word “mosh”, and don’t let anyone tell you differently.)

(We pushed the ratty dishcloth out of the picture especially for you guys.)

Mache is an interesting little plant. It is one of the most cold-hardy greens you can grow, surviving happily under two feet of snow and weather surpassing -20 F, as ours’ did. It dislikes heat, goes by the name “corn salad”, and never gets much bigger than the leaves you see here. They’re very mild and sort of nutty, and they’d do very nicely with some other baby greens and a gentle dressing. And cheese. Everything is better with cheese. (Our plan: grocery store romaine + mache + blue cheese dressing.)

It’s easy enough to grow and delicious enough that I’d suggest you plant some in November for a spring harvest. If you’re dubious about the fact that plants can survive a freeze, I’d recommend that you check out this post from a local school’s unheated hoophouse team. It’s a pretty decent explanation, and one that translates nicely for thinking about growing stuff through the winter. Hopefully we’ll be seeing more greens soon.

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