Winter Salad Harvesting, or, Mindlessly Growing Greens
Begin Ode to Joy…
After a long holiday season, from November and extending into January, I was worried my winter salad patch of mesclun greens would have withered or frozen under their protective floating row cover. So, right after the New Year’s festivities were over, my husband and I visited our mostly sleeping family garden to check on the one 4×4 patch we had planted before all of the holiday commotion and forgetting.
Peeking Under the Floating Row Cover…
Yes, we were really laying on the ground taking this shot as we weren’t sure what we would find! I have written about Mindfully Growing Greens, but was it possible to Mindlessly Grow Greens? We were about to find out. (Click on the photo to see a full size image.)
Keith Pulls Back the Cover… Drumroll!
Okay, okay, so we’ve had a pretty mild winter here so far, but we haven’t watered this patch or lifted this cover since we planted the bed! Augh!
Ode to Joy in the Garden. Glory!
This is what we sang as we took in the site of our glorious greens!
Lisa harvesting the salad.Harvesting the Winter Salad
One of my favorite contraptions, a greens harvester, left over from the days of running a Community Supported Agriculture program here on my small Virginia farm. The long blade of the salad harvester allows you to put the blade on the ground and just push forward with a slight zig zag motion. (Read the CSA story here.)
Weeks to Grow, Seconds to Harvest
A closer look at the greens harvester and how the salad lays right into the catching bag. The 4X4 bed took seconds to harvest. Click on the photo to see a larger image.
Chickens Inspect the Greens
Washing the Greens
Another great piece of equipment left over from the CSA days is this hand-cranked, commercial salad washer and spinner. In the summer, washing the salad thoroughly and quickly to get the “field heat” off of it will help it to survive the harvesting and last longer in the refrigerator. If you are going to be serious about growing your own food, and you have a day job, tools like this will make growing food for your family a more realistic possibility. Just add up the time you will save, versus how much your day job pays per hour, and you will see how this washer is worth its weight in gold!
Sorting, Bagging, and Eating
There’s still the work of sorting and bagging to be done before the salad is ready to give to friends and family. Once this is done, we recommend a final wash in a normal kitchen salad spinner before serving with your favorite oils and vinegars. Really, this was SO easy! I hope you will try growing a mesclun salad patch for your family, mindfully or mindlessly! Below are plenty of resources to get you started and inspire you to glory!
RESOURCES FOR GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD
FIND Local and Global Resources on Food and Farming!
FIND An Extensive Collection of Books on Growing Your Own Food!
SHOP Kindred’s Sustainable and Organic Kitchen Wares!