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Spring Salad

April 16, 2012

Although much of the country is getting a premature heat wave, up here in the Pacific Northwest we are getting another rather cool wet spring for the third year in a row.  The garden is still too wet to cultivate in most areas.  However, last year’s industry is still paying off.  

I finally removed the row cover from the salad beds to give them a little more air. The lettuce heads are slightly odd-shaped because of all the side leaves that have been harvested for salad over the winter, but the center heads are now maturing nicely and it’s hard to keep up with their growth even with salads every day.

My fava bean cover crop is blossoming. It got flattened by the snow a couple of weeks ago, but you wouldn’t know it now. The mizuna I mistook for arugula seed last fall is flowering among the favas and providing fodder for the bees. Soon all that will go back into the soil.

Several weeks ago, I started a few seeds under my plant lights.  With spring seemingly here, it was time to set some of them out.

This nice tidy new bed is the future’s promise.  A few summer broccoli, Napa cabbage, and some new lettuce starts will supply food in a few months.  More lettuce went in as seed and peas are seeded along the fence behind.  In another bed, I managed to plant carrots, beets, and transplanted seedling onions. Even with the early spring starts, there will be little new crop to eat for a couple of months.  Instead I’ll still be relying on last year’s plantings for a while yet.  There are still plenty of kale and collard rabe growing everywhere.  There is also the Swiss chard that hid under the row cover most of the winter, which is looking really tasty.

And then there are all of the big cauliflowers that I keep patiently waiting for…

The salad beds are keeping me happy for now.  Below is a photo of the small salad bed with a nice variety of greens in it.  The mache in the center of the bed is going to flower, but remains a delicious  salad addition.  In the front are a couple of heads of radicchio that have been slow producers. I expected them to grow more over the winter, but they mostly just sat there. The curly endive, however, has been a great tasty salad addition. But it is the four-seasons red butter head that has been the most prolific contributor to the salad plate. (Click any photo to enlarge.)

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Robin Scott permalink
    April 17, 2012 7:32 pm

    I’m really inspired by your winter/spring garden!

  2. Charles Kittleson permalink
    April 18, 2012 12:55 pm

    Those greens (and reds) truly are inspired, Gary–with just a bit of remay! Our only overwintered leafy greens are kales that look to be from Dr Seuss: A little fringe atop a waist high stalk–off of which, green smoothies.

    Meanwhile, your oak limbs are still ‘hanging’ fire. The tree guy has a major backlog from the snow damage. I’ll let you know.

  3. April 19, 2012 5:26 am

    That’s all looking tasty! Our warm weather has gone away, too and it seems like the garden has stalled or at least slowe down considerably. I’m hoping when it does warm up again it does so gradually and doesn’t cook the few tender greens that are just poking up.

    • April 19, 2012 6:54 am

      Hi Shadycharacter, I’ve noticed that usually the PNW gets the early start on the season, but around May the East starts getting warm and moist and your gardens will overtake ours in our slower maritime climate. Good luck with your new bees! Looks like you got them the hard way!

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