I must admit I’ve always considered salad something you eat before you start on the real meal. Since we’ve tried growing lettuce and greens I’ve changed my opinion. Iceburg lettuce was really the only kind of lettuce I was familiar with and to me it tastes like nothing – just something to hold your ranch dressing and croutons. I have discovered that fresh-from-the-garden salad greens actually have flavor; and it is very good.
We’ve been working on our garden beds and amending our soil which is very acidic, not to mention all the huge rocks. After we dig out the rocks we’ve added lime and peat moss, shredded leaves and chicken manure compost. This is our third year in the garden and we are starting to see good results. One of the new crops we’ve started planting here are greens; lettuce, kale, spinach, mustard. I’ve been really surprised at how easy it is to grow. I tried some lettuce in Bakersfield and it didn’t do well at all. Shriveled up and died in the heat.
Here the mild summer climate is perfect so I’ve planted several varieties of loose leaf lettuce. I’ve also discovered lettuce has some really interesting names. Flashy Butter Oak Lettuce is above. I haven’t tried Drunken Woman Frizzy Headed yet. I did plant Devil’s tongue and Green Deer Tongue- very tasty. Flashy Trout’s back is good and Speckles is one of my favorites.
When I plant every three or four weeks we have greens all summer. You can just start to see the new seedlings sprouting next to the established row.
I’ve purposely planted way more greens than the two of us can eat. Some we share with our neighbors – who doesn’t like fresh salad greens? The chickens love the greens too and they are very nutritious, so I cut some and toss them to the girls every day. Those hens really fight for their share. Less chicken feed to buy and the greens are better for them anyway. The egg yolks are a nice bright orange.
The best part of gardening is having fresh produce readily available. From the garden to the table in minutes.
Rick was very skeptical when I first presented him with a salad that included flowers. The borage and nasturtiums are not only edible but very tasty; the nasturtiums especially have a peppery flavor, and add some nice color. Now we have salad as a main dish – though it does still need ranch dressing (thousand island for Rick) and croutons.