Tuesday, 5 June 2012

salad greens in the garden

This cool rainy weather has been very good for the greens in the garden. They're really looking very beautiful and healthy.
The greens bed June 3. The Russian Red Kale from last year is in bloom on the right.
Many of the lettuces I grow are heirloom open pollinated varieties. They are really very obliging if you let them bloom and go to seed. Then in the early spring there are all kinds of volunteers that come up exactly when the timing is best. Lettuces for spring are often the leaf ones ranging from the purest chartreuse, like Black Seeded Simpson, through different shadings of both red and green to the deepest wine red.
Black Seeded Simpson - always the first to plant in the spring.
These heirloom lettuces with their delicate leaves aren't meant for shipping and keeping well so they're a bit tricky to harvest and keep at their best. The best strategy is to harvest early in the morning before they absorb the sun's heat and still dew covered, wash immediately after picking in cold water, spin and immediately put them in the crisper portion of the fridge.
Red Oakleaf
I like to add manure and compost to each row or transplants or seeds, water in and then immediately mulch with grass clippings to maintain cooler soil, keep the moisture in and the weeds down.
Red Deer Tongue, an heirloom bibb lettuce

Merveille de Quatre Saisons, an heirloom leaf lettuce
Later as it becomes time for the summer lettuces the best for withstanding heat and resisting bolting are the red ones and sometimes the romaine (or cos) and bibb types with their more fibrous leaves.
Lolla Rossa

Prizehead, an heirloom leaf lettuce
The peas, spinach and fava beans
But there is a place for hybrids, some bred for  heat tolerance and others for new variations like the Bordeaux spinach with its red veins.
The new hybrid spinach, Bordeaux with its red vein
And soon the whole process will start again as these first lettuces bolt, bloom and go to seed and its time for the summer lettuces.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing!!! The greens look so beautiful, and I bet they taste even better!