Grow a salad now

If you have a dedicated vegetable garden space or raised beds, chances are good that you have already sowed lettuce and radish seeds. Fortunately, those with little or no gardening space or experience can also get in on the fun and satisfaction of growing some salad components.

Choose large, but shallow bowls, equipped with holes for drainage, or the sort of large pots typically planted with ornamentals. Purchase a good quality potting soil and fill the containers. Sow with lettuce or mesclun seeds, and perhaps even try some of those radishes. (Mesclun is a mixture of salad greens; a mix might include oak leaf lettuce, endive, arugula, baby spinach and more.)

Wait a week or so to plant another set of seeds. That delay will extend your harvest prospects.

Water the plantings well, and commit to keeping the soil moist. If we get a stretch of exceptionally hot weather, you can move the containers out of direct sun. In general, however, the spring sun will be fine for these cool-loving crops.

As your crops grow, thin them to the spacing recommended on the seed packets. Consult the seed packet, too, for the anticipated time when radishes will be ready to pull. For some varieties, that may be as little as 21 days if weather is favorable.

When the leaves of salad greens are 3-4 inches long, use sharp scissors to snip out the longest leaves. Let the plant stay in the soil to develop new leaves. You should be able to harvest 3 or 4 times before the plant is exhausted. The leaves that you harvest this way will be exceptionally tender.

If you want to plant a more head-forming variety such as baby Bibb, simply leave those plants growing until they are ready to harvest whole.

On another note: Our spring ephemerals in the woodlands are finally blooming! You should be able to see spring beauties, Dutchman?s breeches, and bloodroot this week. Trillium, bluebells and May apples will be coming soon!