Perk Up Your Salads With Quick Spring Greens

By the time early spring rolls around, most of us are longing for something crisp, leafy and fresh that we can pick and enjoy from our own gardens. If you are looking for some quick growing greens and vegetables that you can start early in your garden, here are some ideas for you.

Cress

Cress

1. Peppergrass or garden cress can be seeded and ready to harvest in a short two weeks. These fresh pungent greens make great sandwich garnishes, additions to soups or salads. You can even grow them right on your windowsill inside the kitchen if it’s too cold outside. Just sprout them on damp paper towels, keeping them moist and well lit. If you have a spot outside to plant some seeds, protect them from cold with a cloche of a clear plastic gallon jug cut in half. Either way, just snip them with scissors and enjoy!

2. Radishes, those zippy fresh spring vegetables, do best in cool growing conditions, so plant yours as soon as the ground can be worked. If its still quite cold, you can start them indoors and transplant them. They can be ready to add to your salads, or just to wash and devour, in a mere three weeks time.

3. Onion sets can be planted as soon as the ground can be dug and raked. The piquant green tops will be ready to harvest and add to soups, salads or as vegetable toppings in a month. By taking just a couple of the leaves from each onion, they will continue to grow.

Spinach

Spinach

4. Short-lived spinach is one of the best spring crops, with its tender crisp leaves. The seeds will germinate in soil that is as cool as 40F degrees. Plant spinach in soil that has a good portion of compost, as it is a heavy feeder. Plan on harvesting spinach in about 6 weeks, and enjoy it before warm weather causes bolting.

5. Lettuce can be planted at the same time as spinach and onion sets. Sow the seeds shallowly, and as they germinate and start to grow, thin the leafy types to about 5 inches apart. Early varieties of lettuce can be ready in 6 weeks. By picking outer leaves or snipping the plants, you can harvest lettuce continually for some time. For even earlier lettuce, protect it in a plastic tunnel, cold frame or plant it in a greenhouse.

6. Mizuna is a hardy Japanese mustard green that will grow all season long. Start these indoors in a flat about 8 weeks before last frost, and transplant them when they are around three weeks old, even if more frost is expected. You can even seed them in the garden four or 5 weeks before the last
frost is expected. If you thin these, they will grow to about a foot tall, and will return over and over as you cut the leaves for soups and salads.

Mizuna

Mizuna

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