How to grow komatsuna Stir-fried komatsuna with honeyed chicken
If you want to try komatsuna you will probably need to grow your own as it is not common on market shelves. Seeds seem uncommon too – I only found two varieties available through Kings Seeds: a green komatsuna called Mustard Spinach and a red variety, Komatsuna Red Leaf F1. The red variety was developed for baby leaf production, and mine were low growing and less vigorous than the green variety.
Komatsuna, like other fast-growing brassicas, needs high levels of nitrogen and water to crop well. An open site is preferred and soil should be fertile and moisture-retentive. Work in plenty of organic matter and cover with mulch, preferably organic, to conserve moisture.
If plants seem less vigorous than expected, a seaweed liquid feed will boost growth. About a month after planting is a key time for supplementary feeding. METHOD Dry roast the coriander seed and grind to a coarse powder. Dry roast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds then cut, grind or use the food processor (like I did) to break them up into small chips, about the size of rock salt crystals. Mix the ground coriander, seeds and salt and mix together. Cut the chicken into bite-sized cubes. Chop or crush the garlic. Heat the oil in a large pan or wok and add the honey to the oil. Add the chopped chicken and garlic to the hot oil and honey mixture and stir-fry until about half cooked (3-5 minutes). Drain off any liquid and reserve – you should end up with about 1-2 cups of combined oil, honey and water from the chicken. Put the udon noodles in a pot of boiling salted water for a few minutes and stir to separate the noodles, then drain and set aside. Return the drained chicken to the heat, add the soy sauce and toss well. Continue stir-frying until cooked (another 3-5 minutes), adding the ground seeds and komatsuna stalks about 1 minute before the chicken is cooked. Add the drained noodles and stir to bring them back to heat. At the end, add the komatsuna leaves, stirring several times to mix them in and then remove from the heat. If using older leaves, stir-fry on heat for 1-2 minutes. Pour over the reserved liquid, stirring once or twice, then serve.
There are many good reasons for mowing the orchard in summer: ease of fruit collection, free air circulation around trees, neat, tidy aesthetic looks, and easy access to flowers by bees and other pollinators.
But there some good reasons not to mow too. By leaving it you can: • grow hay; • create predator insect habitat; • allow wild flowers to attract pollinators; • plant and harvest medicinal herbs; • improve the soil fertility using a pastureimproving ley.
Long bits you leave to grow over summer can be mown off later at the end of the year, and the mulch raked around the trees.
On our block in mid-summer, we hand weed around the trunk of our trees, then mow around the base to make sure no damage is done by the weedeater, freeing the immediate area around trees from the direct competition of long grass. The resulting mulch helps to retain moisture. Our geese are kept out to keep them off the fruit, then allowed back in during late summer to strip all the grass seed.
You might use a weedeater, a scythe, or a comfy ride-on mower, but it’s always easier to leave some un-mown strips. Just miss a few passes on the ride-on and leave a tall strip of grass to go to seed along the rows of trees. If you have a huge commercial orchard, leave the edges and headlands (field corners) uncut to encourage wild flowers, insects and pollination. You can cut it all short again in the winter after grazing to stop it coming away in weeds.
But for the summer season, a mixed herbal ley can benefit both trees and animals on the block. A mix of fodder is good for grazing animals who need variety
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