Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's Salad Time!

Looks like truly freezing temperatures are gone for this spring so area gardeners are setting out their first and hardiest seedlings. For us, this is the time for transplanting romaine and other lettuces that have been growing in the unheated greenhouse to the raised beds. Should a late frost threaten, just cover lightly with a woven row cover or a light sheet. Most greens tolerate frosts well.

Lettuce is remarkable easy to grow and transplants well. Even the small plants make delicious salads and with a cut-and-come-again planting, you can enjoy several salad harvests from each planting. The photo shows a flat of our romaine lettuce seedlings on their way out to the garden for planting. We like "Little Gem", a little cos type romaine that forms a small, compact head perfect for a personal salad. We also grow several of the lettuce/mesclun (greens) seed mixes so that we have a varied and lovely salad selection. Cooks Garden (http://www.cooksgarden.com) is one of the best suppliers of gourmet lettuce seed. I love that their lettuce and greens are organized not only by flavor but also by season.

The little window box salad garden pictures is one we created to give as a gift. Despite the small size, the box contains a dozen assorted salad greens including several lettuces and arugula. By cutting the plants and allowing them to regrow, this little garden will supply a number of salads. You know, one of the most expensive "gourmet" items in the supermarkets these days are the pre-cut, "baby greens" in those fancy, unrecyclable containers. For just pennies, you can grow your own salad greens in any handy container from now until the truly warm weather arrives. To extend your lettuce season, move the container into the shade when the temperatures hit 80 and be sure to keep the soil gently moist.


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