Even though it’s been less than four weeks since we started planting our vegetable garden, this weekend we were able to enjoy its first bounty: a delicious spring leaf salad. Although our other veggies such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and potatoes are weeks away from hitting our plates, the salad seeds that we planted in mid-May have sprouted in full force! You can see the diversity of salads we planted: a seed mix with several varieties of green leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, bok choy and kale seedlings.
Also popping up is the row of beet seeds planted at the same time. These tender young beet greens taste amazing in salads and are full of nutrients including protein and fiber, essential vitamins and minerals (phosphorus, zinc, vitamins A, C and B6, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese) and antioxidants. Beet greens have more iron than spinach and are generally more nutritious than the roots themselves! So, don’t throw out those greens: use them in salads or look for delicious recipes to use up the mature greens.
The planted salad seeds that are sprouting now are quite bunched together and need to be thinned out. Replanting individual sprouts to roomier quarters will encourage them to grow to larger heads and leaves.
Try this: to avoid run-off when watering your garden, dig small “trenches” around the plants. Fill these trenches with water which will get absorbed by the surrounding soil and plants as needed.
So, if you have a garden, get out there and see what greens are ready for picking and eating already. If not, there’s still time to find a small plot of earth (even a colander, old pallet, plastic pop bottles or bag of Miracle Grow will do) and plant some lettuce seeds. In a few short weeks you’ll have beautiful greens to toss with your favorite vinaigrette dressing for a delicious, nutritious and fresh first harvest.
What bounty have you harvested from your garden already?