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This thread relates to this one. Growing in the desert Southwest. http://mrssurvival.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=49595


Starting to harvest. The radishes turned out pretty good. Lot of different flavors. The big white ones were pretty strong. Supposedly the hotness has to do with the amount of water. I eat jalepenos like candy, but the big white ones were too hot for me to enjoy. They had a residual complex flavor mildly reminiscent of horseradish/wasabi. The red and the red/white tasted like normal salad radish. Some of the plants had a huge stalk, flowers, and the bulb was tiny. Do they use up the energy stores of the root bulb when they flower?




We culled lettuce too. The book says to either pull the outer leaves or cut off the whole plant 1" above dirt and it will grow again.


Also doing well are the "greens." Mustard greens, and several kinds of Kale. Mustard greens actually have a very interesting flavor but it's very strong. Best I could describe it was a buttery hot and a little bitter mustard. Too strong to add to a salad, IMO. The Kale was large red leaf, and was bitter. So I made a unilateral decision that they ain't goin' in the salad.


So I go online and read a bit. It seems that they are closely related to broccoli and cauliflower, and should be cooked. Also says freezing kale makes it sweeter. So I read a bunch of recipes and decided on this amalgamation.


heat olive oil.

add minced garlic and minced onion

when garlic browns, throw in the chopped kale and mustard greens

add lemon and pepper (I used lemon-pepper, 'cause I had no lemons)

simmer until they soften - about 5 minutes

turn off heat, add red wine vinegar, toss and eat warm.


Actually turned okay, but it's only been an hour. If I keel over dead in the next few hours - that's why.


So what I get from it, is that the "greens" basically taste like **** when raw, but they are nutritious, so sauteing them and mixing with other stuff (potato, sausage, etc) is a good way to eat them without actually having to taste them. Like spinach, except I like spinach raw or wilted.


My question is - of all the garden stuff, are there any greens that will make me sick? This is an experiment toward survival gardening, so I am interested in nutritional value over taste. I know that tomato plants are poisonous (nightshade family). I'm reading about the radish leaves as edible as well. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/cooking-with-radish-leaves/2014/01/14/4f813ab0-7657-11e3-a647-a19deaf575b3_story.html


Any simple post-apocalypse recipes for greens?








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Potato leaves and tomato leaves are supposed to be poisonous. I haven't eaten them to test this theory. If they are poisonous, I would automatically reject pepper leaves and eggplant leaves because they're related pretty closely.

Sunflower leaves are not poisonous, or they didn't cause me any problem, but they also weren't good enought to eat when better stuff is available.

Sweet potato leaves and vine tips are pretty good. I wilt them with a drizzle of hot bacon grease and have at it. I've also liked them steamed and sauteed. They have plenty of fiber, so plan for that at the other end.

I have put all kinds of crucifer leaves into chicken soup: broccoli leaves, brussel sprout leaves, cabbage leaves. They're good if young, sometimes strong tasting if older.

Squash and pumpkin leaves (and stems) are good boiled, but take a lot of cooking. They might cook better and faster if scraped first.

Snow pea leaves and tendrils are good.

I don't care for radishes or their leaves, but have eaten both before (and doubtless will again) without ill effect.

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Radish can be fried/saute'd and eaten like any veggie if you don't want to eat them raw....the red/white part, I mean. Dunno about the leaves. I'd consider this a Survival Veggie cuz it will grow with the SHORT growing time.


Don't forget wild nettles [pick with gloves] are super nutritious and allegedly tasty after being boiled. Takes the sting out.


DH likes baby greens from growing beets [which you aren't growing...lol ] and turnips. Even very young leaves from turnips are kinda strong for me...unless, as you say, it's for survival nutrition. I like the baby beet leaves. I don't think they taste anything like beets. :shrug:


Kale, collards, Swiss chard.....are all tough texture [especially collards ...you can make shoes outta that leaf! lol ] and strong tasting. All are good nutrition. But cooking makes them more tender. Fried in bacon grease, boiled, whatever? Hadn't tried freezing.


Collards seem to survive freezing weather and HOT weather. They'd be my Survival Green for that factor. ....dunno if they survive voles. <_<


Do NOT eat rhubarb leaves (which are similar looking) ....have always heard they were poisonous but the stupid goats keep eating them. I'm suspecting ....but don't take this as verified....that they actually are like taro plants in Hawaii. They have a crystalline structure which is sharp in the mouth/throat but is nullified by cooking...either baked or boiled. But....I'm not sure.



Spinach....here's a tip: Grow lots and lots when your weather will permit. Pick off the leaves as they mature. Keep ahead of the plants going to seed. I yank off any tops that are trying to do that. What to do with all that? Wilt and dehydrate them. A bit tedious to pull out of boiling water and spread out on drying racks, but when dry, powder them. Might want to remove the stem but I usually just grind that up too....but they can get sharp when dry! I keep bags of powdered spinach and apply to lots of things: scrambled eggs, omelets, hot dish mixtures, pasta dishes, etc. So easy. No need to rehydrate. Good nutrition. Another Survival Green cuz it not only grows here, it can reseed here and becomes a perennial. That's a surprise!


MtRider .....over a foot of snow last week.... But under that snow was much greener pastures! But it IS hard to garden here! :rolleyes:

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Sounds like your garden is doing good.


My experience with radishes, here in the desert, when the weather warms up 90+ they will seed out. One year every radish plant seeded out because I planted them too late - May. I save and use the seeds the following year. Planting them in the fall/winter/early spring. The greens are edible and nutritious, there are many recipes how to prepare them. I have noticed the heat causes them to be more spicy.


This is the first year my mustard has survived the birds and heat. I was surprised how spicy hot the leaves are. Not sure exactly how we will use them. I've been thinking of drying them and using them as a spice instead of as a greenery.


While looking for some growing info, I found out tomatoes and peppers are perennials. I am going to try to keep the plants alive through the summer and see if they will produce next year. In the past I had a jalapeño plant that lived 5 years. Best jalapeños we ever had. Year 3 and 4 we were giving them away to any one who wanted them. It looked like a tree, woody trunk and 3 foot tall, when I forgot to cover it one winter and it froze.


Only two of the tomato seeds I planted have survived the birds/heat. Even with covering them over with wire. Stupid birds (starlings) lift the wire and climb under or will go to great lengths to stick their heads through the wire to get to the plants. They completely decimated my black eyed peas as soon as they sprouted. However, the purple heart peas, a variety of cow peas, are now about 2 inches tall and beginning to leaf out well. They grow well in the heat, last year we got a full pint out of a 2 foot square area.


I planted the spinach too late -February- and it all shriveled up and died, even with watering 2 times a day and sun screen.


Onions and carrots also seem to do good, but like I mentioned in your other thread, we now plan to harvest the following year. Our onions are flowering and I am almost ready to harvest the seeds. My experiment this year, is to leave them in the ground until I need them. A few are already beginning to hibernate-the green stalks are dying. We shall see. I've let a couple of carrots go to seed and plan on planting those seeds in the fall.


Last year, I tried brussels sprouts, kale, several lettuce varieties and the white flies and other bugs ransacked the whole area. Was not worth all the effort I put into it.


Survival gardening, in the desert, seems to be just that. In a pinch, there might be something to eat. DH & I have come to the conclusion, that our garden would not keep us alive. No way, no how. In a survival situation, it takes too much water to sustain and you do not get much out of it for the effort. For me, my garden is always an experimental hobby.

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We're swiss chard fans. Very easy for us to grow in our area and prolific. We cut a few leaves from each plant and the plants continue to produce. We sautee' them with bell peppers and onions and use them in omelets ... being our favorite way to eat them. I love to powder many of our garden veggies and sprinkle it on pasta dishes etc. Not planting this year so will just buy from farmers market and stock up on dried veggies this year :-)

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What I do with collards, which probably would work with most tough leaves, is to stack a few leaves and roll them like a cigar, then cut across the cigar to make ribbons of leaf. These cook up better than chopped leaves, in my esperience. I like to season them with sausage.

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White radishes that I have grown have always been hotter than the red ones.

Sweeter soil usually aids the bester tasting radish. But if they get too hot frying them using takes care of that.


Sounds like you are doing well for your first garden .

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The answer is definitely YES...energy goes to the seed-making.


GP....make note of which types are doing that and don't plant them next time. Or....try one more time in a different season. Could be that variety is just sensitive to the heat you're experiencing. Heat can trigger the plant to "QUICK ...set out the seed so we can procreate!" Prime directive is to multiply.

Looks like you had success with other varieties...or are they all going to seed at this point?


....long white radish (daikon and icicle) does that here EVERY time....and it's not a heat issue. :shrug:



MtRider ....part of your research! :lois:

Edited by Mt_Rider
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We mix mustard and turnip greens. We cook with a bit of bacon and some onion. When it is almost done, we add a bit of baking soda and sugar and that takes some of the bite out of it.


One of my chicks top 10, as they call it....is this:


Brown some hamburger...Maybe a lb...Add some onion and garlic....Add in either a jar of purchased Alfredo sauce or make some homemade. Add some cheddar cheese and some parm, cheese if you want. Then takes some steamed and chopped kale and add to the mixture. We pour this over mashed potatoes or even baked potatoes...I don't have exact measurements, since we made this up...I don't think you can ruin it by changing the quantity of ingredients.

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  • 5 years later...

More great ideas. We love radishes, but the white ones are a bit hot. So I don't plant them anymore. Just the red and red and white ones.  We haven't been doing to much on winter gardening as DH has not been able.  About the only thing he does now is to cook collards at the farmers market his cousin owns.  He does 6 bushels at a time. They can't cook enough of them. They sale faster than he can get them cooked. They sale them by the quart. We took them to one of our church suppers and now they want us to bring collards everytime.  DH is known as the collard man around these parts. 

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Same here, Littlesister. The white ones bolt very quickly. 

Have you tried beet greens, as good as spinach, but less bitter. Non-gmo, heirloom beets seem to last two years in the ground before getting pulpy. That’s two years of fresh greens.  :happy0203:

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Ambergris,  He strips the large stem from the leaf but keeps the small stem on them. Then he chops them. Not real small but small enough to be able to get  as much into a quart container as possible with the juice.  We made the mistake of taking some to our church dinner and now we are stuck with having to take them for every church dinner. They love them.  The market sells them at 9.99 a quart and they can't keep them in stock.  And now with Thanksgiving coming up he will be cooking at least 3 or 4 times a week. They freeze them for the Thanksgiven orders coming up soon.  Time is flying and it will be here before we know it. I for one am not ready.

Annarchy, I don't really care for beets. So have not tried the beet greens. Maybe If I can find some I will try them. You never know. I might like them. 

Edited by Littlesister
about beet greens
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Beet greens taste nothing like beets....IMO.  They are some of the milder tasting greens.  Don't eat the big, ole tough ones tho. 


How does he cook them? 


MtRider  .....just when we got collards to grow up here, the VOLES took over everything!  :mad:  

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Mt__Rider,  The way we cook the collards:  We use jowl meat,  chicken base, salt, ving. and just a tad bid of texes pete. You do not use much as you just want that kick but not to be able to taste it. I can't really tell you how much of everything as I will have to figure it out. We always do 6 bushels at a time. We use a 35 gal. pot. That is a lot of collards. 

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