Soil temperatures are creeping up. Many places soils are at or near 60 degrees. That is your signal to plant your salad garden.Source University of Illinois Extension Lettuce is a cool weather vegetable that thrives when the average daily temperature is between 60 and 70°F. Plant in early spring. Many gardeners will need to select types and varieties of lettuce that withstand heat. Some are much more heat tolerant than other varieties.
Leaf lettuce, the most widely adapted of all the Lettuce types, produces crisp leaves loosely arranged on the stalk. Romaine types form a upright, elongated head. Butterhead varieties are generally small, loose heading types that have tender, soft leaves with a delicate flavor.
Black-seeded Simpson (early to harvest)
Grand Rapids (frilly edges; good for coldframes, greenhouse, garden)
Oak Leaf (resistant to tipburn; good for hot weather)
Red Fire (ruffles with red edge – slow to bolt)
Red Sails (slowest bolting red leaf lettuce)
Ruby (darkest red of all – resistant to tipburn)
Cimmaron (unique, dark red leaf)
Green Towers (early – dark green, large leaves)
Paris Island (long – standing)
Leaf lettuce may be cut whenever it is large enough to use. Cutting every other plant at ground level gives the remaining plants more space. Leaf lettuce reaches maximum size (6 to 12 ounces) in 50 to 60 days. Butterhead varieties form small, loose heads that weigh 4 to 8 ounces at harvest (60 to 70 days).
Harvesting and Storage Harvest leaf varaties at any size. Store lettuce, wash, drip dry and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Plant your lettuce carefully following the seed package instructions.
* What went wrong? Failure of seeds to germinate is almost always caused by insufficient moisture. Take extra care to keep the seedbed moist, but not soggy, until the seedlings emerge.
Planting Swiss Chard
Plant chard seeds 2 to 3 weeks before the last spring frost date. Before planting, mix 1 cup of 5-10-10 fertilizer into the soil for every 20 feet of row.
Water the plants evenly, water often during dry spells.
Harvest/Storage of Swiss Chard Start harvesting when the plants are 6 to 8 inches tall. Cut off the outer leaves 1-1/2 inches above the ground.
The leaves can be eaten fresh(raw) as greens or you can cook them like spinach.
Store chard in the refrigerator in ventilated plastic bags.
Swiss chard is not only one of the most popular vegetables along the Mediterranean but it is one of the most nutritious vegetables around and ranks second only to spinach following our analysis of the total nutrients.
Beet and turnip greens should be considered. Adding fresh, young, tender, flavorful beet and turnip greens to your salads adds another level of flavor and texture to your salads.
Another – Mediterranean style dressing.
1 medium clove Chopped Garlic
1 table spoon fresh lemon or lime juice
3 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
6 or more kalamata (packed in oil) olives
1/2 cup feta cheese
1 tea spoon soy sauce
1 tea spoon dry oregano
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