The Q&A Archives: Dirt Like Poor Flavor Of Leaf Vegetables

Question: I planted lettuce, kale, and broccoli, among other early vegetables. Do you have any idea why those three particular vegetables all taste like dirt? (There is no other way to describe their flavor.) Of course I washed them carefully before cooking, and have had no problem of this kind with anything else I've ever grown in the garden. (Tomatoes, potatoes, parsley, arugula, etc. etc. etc. ) I know it sounds like a strange question, but maybe it's a more common problem than I think, and someone actually has an answer for me.

Answer: Those particular plants all grow best in cool weather and very rich, evenly moist soil and flavor will deteriorate if there is a hot spell or if the soil is allowed to dry out or if their growth hesitates for any reason. They will also be less tasty as they prepare to bolt or go to seed -- an event that can be triggered early in the season by an unusual weather spell. You might find that this was simply an "off" year in terms of weather or you might find that your soil needs some further improvement, or that you need to be more careful about watering.

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