My outdoor garden beds have been providing me with a steady supply of the usual winter suspects: kale, swiss chard, spinach, collard greens, leeks, and tasty brussel sprouts. Oregon, especially the Willamette Valley, is fortunate to have relatively mild winters and we pretty much live on brassicas from November through February.

This is the first winter I have had the pleasure of gardening with a greenhouse, which has added some new veggies to the mix. It was built from a kit recently at the Urban Farm and it has stayed packed full of plants since the last nail went in. The greenhouse has been producing crisp lettuces and tons of spinach. My outdoor spinach and lettuces just haven’t grown much since the cold set in.

I am also trying out tatsoi for the first time this season. It’s an Asian green that can withstand really cold temperatures, down to about fifteen degrees (F). Tatsoi has a nice, nutty flavor similar to boy choy. We have been using it in stir frys with lots of garlic, salty cashews and tofu with just a dash of sesame oil.

Unfortunately, all my plants seem to be bolting already! I guess they are so cold-hardy that they really don’t want to grow in mild weather. We have been enjoying a week of sunshine and mid-50’s, but I think that means the end of my new winter friend.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson