Sunday, April 27, 2014

Making a Salad from Plant Thinnings

Hello Fellow Gardeners!

My garden is in full swing!

The leafy greens pallet is sprouting right along. I planted more seed in the bare spots.

The square foot garden has some new additions.

The root veggies are gradually running into each other.

Peas are starting to grab the fence.

No sign of strawberries yet!

Brassicas lane is moving right along.

Both the bagged and the tired potatoes are sprouting up!

The greenhouse and potted plants are flourishing.
Thyme and Basil seedlings

New additions: Kohlrabi, Okra, Zucchini.

Tomatoes and Peppers

Newly sown Kandy Corn seeds.

My sweet little Tiny Tim mini tomato plant with his clover companions.

No sign of this strawberry sprout either!

Radishes starting to burst out of their trough.

Here's a closer look. So pretty!

Red Leaf and Romaine lettuce as well as the onion scraps I planted over the winter.

And let's not forget my pineapple plant sunning in the corner.

With all this growth, it's time to thin out some plants to make room. I don't do this everyday, but I keep an eye on them. Then, when I feel I have enough to make a salad, I go through and thin them all at once.

Beets are starting to get crowded.

That's better!

Little Buddy loves helping out.

Add some young dandelion greens.

An average gathering. Upper left: Radishes and their greens. Top middle: Arugula leaves. Top right: dandelion greens. Bottom left: Red leaf and Romaine lettuce. Middle: Beet greens. Bottom right: Red leaf lettuce.

Soak them all in water with a bit of vinegar,

give them a good rinse,

and, whala, you have a salad!

I added store bought cucumbers and tomatoes for a garnish. Yummy! The blend of flavors is amazing! The spicy radishes and arugula mixed with the cool, tame flavor of red leaf lettuce, the earthy taste of beet greens, and the wild taste of dandelion greens makes this salad an experience! I have found that heavy salad dressings mask the natural flavors too much for my liking. Though I like to have a bit of something liquidy on my salad, so I am going to try some lightly flavored vinaigrettes and oils.

If you normally eat iceberg or romaine lettuce salads, the strong taste of this salad will take some getting used to. You may want to try just one or two different greens at a time to help your taste buds adjust. Either way, I highly recommend eating your garden thinnings. It will get you eating fresh produce from the garden much faster than waiting for everything to mature. I purposely over plant certain things for this reason. 

Be sure to do your research before eating the leaves of something, though. Some plants, like rhubarb, have poisonous leaves that are dangerous to ingest. Other leaves, like turnip greens, are better off being cooked first since they can have little spines on them that are not fun to chew. (Yes, I found this one out the hard way last year!) This year, I realized that the larger radish greens do too.

This is a great way to get little ones to eat their greens too! Little Buddy won't eat a salad, but he'll eat a dandelion leaf right out of the yard. It's the novelty of it. But use caution here too! Be certain your child doesn't start eating random plants out of the yard...yikes! Little Buddy understands this well so I feel he's safe there.

With that, I wish your taste buds many salivatory adventures!
Happy Gardening!

Jen Hen

This post shared on: New Life on a Homestead

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