Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Season's first salad
Last night, we enjoyed our first fresh-from-the-garden salad of the year: baby spinach, baby arugula, mizuna (Japanese mustard green), and some bunching onions (scallions) that had overwintered from last year's garden tossed with store-bought red onion, black olives, and feta cheese. Dressed with a sprinkle of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and fresh ground black pepper. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!
I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote back in April that my April 13th planting of lettuces and salad greens would be ready in 2-3 weeks. Wishful thinking, I guess (and not reading the seed packet ;-) It's been roughly 5 weeks since planting and though I've been munching on some of the salad greens right out in the garden for over a week now, the lettuces are only just now getting to the point where they can be clipped and harvested. In fact, besides pinching off a leaf here and there to taste, I probably won't harvest any for a salad for another week or two. (Note to self: Plant earlier next year ;-)
However, now's the time for me to think (and act) about succession planting all the lettuces and salad greens that I haven't already -- either with the same varieties or different varieties as taste dictates. I've already planted a second 2 rows of spinach and need to do the same for the rest. Succession planting ensures consistently high quality ingredients throughout the growing season and is one of the mantras of Eliot Coleman's (and really all good gardeners') approach to getting the most and the best out of the garden. As current crops fade, they're replaced by vibrant, tasty, new ones. And one's palate is the beneficiary! I'll be planting new rows of lettuces and salad greens this w/e.