I would love to say, “Welcome to my poteger,” but in good conscience, this little plot of ground isn’t worthy of that name. However, it does have a classical combination of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I can’t call it an English cottage garden or Colonial kitchen garden. But it is convenient and close to the back door. It’s just a flower bed – a strip of dirt in a sunny area at the foot of our deck, but I do call it my salad garden this time of year.
If you can tell from the first picture, I’ve snipped a pile of lettuce leaves for a lovely dinner salad, and I’ll be able to do this for the next three or four months.
Let me show you the details.
I’m growing broccoli along with the lettuce and herbs. It hasn’t put out any florets yet, but when it does, I will pinch them off early and toss them raw into the salad. If any survive to a decent size, I enjoy it steamed.
You also see buttercrunch lettuce in the picture above. I’m growing four types of lettuces, all of them with subtle flavor variations, but I can’t describe them with precision. When they are outfitted with dressing, it doesn’t matter anyway.
A little spinach makes a great addition to a salad for an extra nutritional boost. I’m not growing enough in this container to make a stand-alone spinach salad, much less cook it. For that, I’ll have to buy it at the grocery store.
If only oak leaves could be cooked! We could feed an army.
You also see the little patch of red leaf lettuce to the right of the spinach container, behind the pansy. Its curly leaves and variegated bronze colors look pretty, but I like its mild flavor also.
I have both green and red romaine. The red is self-sown this year since I let it bolt last spring, and the seeds germinated in the same spot they grew last winter. It’s not my favorite lettuce because the texture is tougher than the others, and it seems a little bitter to me. It just looks pretty with the maroon pansies. However, I love green romaine for its delicate sweetness.
I have both curly and Italian parsley in this bed also. I use them in cooking, but I like the look in my flower beds, so I have parsley tucked into many places. I have chives in other beds that are good in fresh winter salads, but the summer herbs will come later.
This space isn’t very big, but it is enough to keep us in salads all winter, with some to share. I snip a few outer leaves from each plant, and it doesn’t take much to make a meal. They will continue to grow throughout the winter months.
On the few nights that we have freezing temperatures, I may throw a towel or sheet over these plants, just to be on the safe side, but they’re usually hardy survivors.
The pansies and alyssum won’t last into the heat of late spring. In April or May, the lettuce will have gone to seed, so I replace them with either summer vegetables or annual flowers. Salads in summer and fall will have to be store-bought, which isn’t nearly as good.
Have a blessed week.
If you want to see more gardeners’ beautiful posts, you can #SixOnSaturday on Twitter to get their links.
I usually forget, but I want to acknowledge The Propagator as the fellow who started this Six on Saturday garden-sharing thing. I’ve been participating since last January, and it has been a joy.
https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/ He can also be found on Twitter at @cavershamjj