fresh salads

This is the time of year for watching, weeding and picking. The garden is green and the plants are growing quickly.   The urgency to get seeds in the ground is gone and it is more about monitoring, maintaining and enjoying the harvest.   While I still need to build my cucumber trellis and stake my tomatoes, I am able to spend much of my time pulling out the weeds that compete for sun and nutrients and even enjoy the beginnings of the harvest.

Trips to the garden are to check daily progress. The constant rain has been great for the garden, it is lush and the early crops are ready to be picked.  Friends who drop in for dinner get a fresh salad picked minutes before the meal.

Fresh Salads
This month, growing greens seems appropriate. This year I discovered Vesey’s Baby Leaf Blend , it’s a really nice mesclun mix that you can pick for weeks. Where last year I made the mistake of planting just one crop, this meant I didn’t get a steady crop.   It all matured at the same time and all went to seed mid July.  I was not able to keep up with the huge crop, and it all turned bitter at the same time.   This year, I seem to have figured out a more manageable plan.  I plant a fresh batch of seeds every three weeks and start picking when the leaves are 3-4 inches tall. Just cut the leaves at soil level and you’ll get two to three harvests.   The first batch planted in May is doing very well and I’ve been picking from this batch since early June; the second batch, planted early June is just coming to maturity; and the late June batch is just beginning to sprout.   Using this cycle should give us fresh greens right through until fall.

One other challenge I’m facing with the greens is keeping away the pests.  To date I’ve used ground egg shells to keep them at bay.   I have my kids grind down the dried shells in the mortar and pestle and then once fine, I sprinkle them around the borders of my lettuce patch.  This has kept the slugs away.