Growing Salad Greens
Spring is a great time for growing salad greens, the weather is cool and damp, just what they love. Plant edible flowers along with the greens so you can enjoy them in the garden as well as in your salad. Greens fit into your landscape, be they baby greens or grown to mature heads.
The easiest way to start to grow your salad greens is to grow baby greens, which will be ready to harvest in about 6 weeks.
- Order seeds for baby salad greens under the name mesclun mix or make your own mix by purchasing individual packages of
seeds of 3 or 4 types of lettuces and a few types of greens such as: spinach, chard, mustard, rocket, or finely curled endive.
- A garden bed about 10′ by 4’ provides a generous amount of baby salad greens for 3 or 4 people.
- Harvest your baby greens by taking kitchen shears and cutting across the bed about an inch above the crowns of the plants. Cut only the amount you want at each harvest.
- If the weather is cool, in the 40 to 70 degree range, if you lightly fertilize with a balanced fertilizer like fish emulsion and keep the bed moist the greens will regrow and you can harvest baby greens again in a few weeks.
Mesclun is a French Provencal term for a salad that combines many flavors and textures of greens and herbs. The object is to create a concert for your mouth by including sweet greens, slightly bitter leaves, and peppery greens like arugula or mustard. Greens like crispy romaine and velvety bibb lettuces give textural excitement contrast.
Pick enough salad greens to serve 6. Six large handfuls is usually a good measure. Use a seasonal selection from your garden of many varieties of lettuces; add young leaves of greens such as spinach, mizuna, arugula, mache, radicchio, sorrel, and frisees; and a few leaves of herbs such as Italian parsley, chervil, or mint. While its not very traditional, when in the garden you could pick a few blossoms of edible flowers such as nasturtiums, calendulas, and Johnny-jump-ups for a garnish too.
2 to 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic or wine vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
5 to 6 tablespoons virgin olive oil
Optional: 6 or 8 edible flowers for garnish
Wash greens and dry in a salad spinner. Refrigerate until serving time. In a small container, mix the vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper and blend in oil to taste. Just before serving, toss the dressing gently with the salad, garnish and serve. Serves 6