Spring Salad Greens

    • Bare root fruit trees, grape and berry vines, and ornamental trees and shrubs are still available and can be planted right away.
    • Roses should be pruned if you haven’t done so already. Remove all old leaves on and around the bushes and spray with neem oil to prevent early pest and disease problems.
    • Blueberries make delicious fruit on attractive plants that you can use in the orchard or the landscape. Choose varieties now.
    • Thin raspberry canes to 4-6 inches apart. Cut back remaining canes to 3 feet tall.
    • Clean out bird houses. Remove old nesting material and scrub the inside with a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water.

Spring Salad Greens

The crisp, chilly days of early spring are the right time to start planting early salad greens. These colorful leafy greens love cool, sunny weather and you will be picking them for the table in just a few short weeks.

As well as growing many types of lettuce, add variety to your salad with other greens such as rocket, mizuna, baby spinach and the classic mix of salad greens called ‘mesclun’. Mesclun mix typically includes endive, corn salad, rocket, chicory and various leaf lettuces in different colors – all in one seed packet.

If you’re not familiar with some of these, here are a few descriptions. Curly endive has curled leaves tinged with yellow and green. They are slightly bitter in taste, have a crunchy stem, and add a lot of texture to salads.

Arugula, possibly the best known salad green, forms the basis of many salads. Originating from the Mediterranean, this green tastes more peppery than bitter and is especially associated with Italian dishes like pesto.

Endive has a unique oval shape, soft satiny texture, and slight bitterness that makes it a great addition to any salad.

Radicchio grows as a small, deep-red-purple head, like cabbage. Its bright leaves are colorful in salads and when cooked, the red-purple hue turns brown and what was once bitter becomes sweet.

Escarole is a mildly bitter leafy green that is large and crisp. It is often used in soups and paired with beans, and is popular in Italian cuisine.

Baby beet greens can be grown in the early spring. When the leaves of the beet top are immature, they are tender and slightly spicy. The purplish-red veins are visually striking and can dress up any salad.

Asian salad greens are easy to grow in cool weather. Mizuna is a Japanese mustard green that has a relatively strong pungent flavor when compared to other salad greens. The small jagged edges that make mizuna look like miniature oak leaves add a lot of texture.

Tatsoi has small, rounded leaves with a mild, mustard-like flavor. Their texture is similar to that of baby spinach.

Depending on the exposure and temperatures of your garden site, it may be better to start seedlings indoors or in a cool greenhouse and then plant them out in about a month. When plants are about one inch high, you can begin thinning and eating the greens. Use scissors to cut or snap off the shoots. This will prevent the roots of the remaining plants from being disturbed and give the plants room to thrive.

Greens love cool weather, so take advantage of the sunny spring weather, and start something growing in your garden.

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