Our friend Rick came for dinner. After pouring us each a glass of our local Moat Mountain's Bear Peak Brown Ale, he and I went out to the garden to gather a basketful of greens, chives, and herbs to add to a pasta sauce and make a salad. As he watched me pick, he commented, "I go to the store for these things, but you just go out to the garden and make a feast".
He is so right. Our daily salad is a celebration of what the garden has to offer. Our dinners almost without exception begin with a salad. Picked within minutes of eating, we are assured of as many nutrients as can be gotten out of healthy, organic produce.
All year long we are supplied with lettuce and other greens. The two keys to having a lettuce supply in our northern climate are succession planting and cold frames. Succession planting keeps the harvest coming from spring until late into fall. As soon as the soil warms up, we plant a row or two and and continue to plant every three or four weeks.
In August we plant a few rows where the cold frames will be placed. Cold frames, talked about in an earlier post, keep the greens healthy and alive well into January. Then, seeds sown into the cold frame in January provide a lettuce crop by early March. While we wait for the spring harvest, our salads contain cold hardy greens like mache, claytonia, sorrel and spinach.
In one of our travels someone recommended a lettuce called Black Seeded Simpson, a loose-leaf variety, so we tried it and it’s become a favorite here. We also grow red and green romaines and butterhead types.
Oddly, though, lettuce is a great veggie but it’s not the only green in our salads. Following is a recipe for the salads we are having now in June. -G.H.