By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
I have always associated the start of spring not by what is on the calendar but what I plant in the garden.
The planting of fresh spinach, and Bibb lettuce along with green onions has always marked the start of spring on my planting calendar.
But planting the first spring bed requires some tricks of the trade.
These beauties are easy to grow and are a vegetable to start with if you are a beginning vegetable gardener. I have never planted green onions in any area they did not grow.
A loamy soil mixed with compost is perfect. They can also be planted in containers but regardless of where you plant them there does exist a trick of the trade.
This trick goes against how you plant most seeds and bulbs. It consists of planting the onion set as deep as possible. This trick allows for more white matter to be harvested, which is prized, but the whole plant can be consumed excluding the roots.
If planting in the ground using a posthole digger aids in digging the hole deep enough but if planting in a container place a small amount of soil in the bottom, place bulbs on top and fill in with soil. Water in as usual and wait about 6 weeks to start harvesting.
Spinach is not only Popeye’s friend but also the vegetable garden novice’s ally. Spinach seeds are very small and can be spread by hand or by a seeder. Folding a piece of paper in half while making a strong crease can make a simple seeder. Place spinach seeds in crease and gently shake seeds down the crease onto the soil.
A gold rule of seed depth is to only plant as deep as the diameter of the seed. In this case spinach seeds have a very small diameter, which is indicative of very shallow planting depth. So placing seeds on top of soil with a Â¼ on an inch covering of soil is all that is needed for spinach seeds. Once seeds are planted simply water in and wait about 6 weeks before harvesting.
Bibb lettuce is another easy green for the beginner gardener to handle. The procedure is the same as for spinach and can be harvested the same time as spinach.
General Rules of Greens
Greens require a general loamy soil and cool temperatures. As temperatures rise the greens become bitter in taste and begin to bolt or seed. When harvesting greens cut the leaves so the plant can continue to produce but as the weather warms begin to pull up plants instead of cutting to harvest.
Greens are at home in the vegetable garden as well as in a container. Since the roots of these plants do not run deep shallow containers can be used but make sure there does exist proper drainage.
Greens just like green onions can be planted in the spring and fall when temperatures are cooler. So plan your planting according to temperature. Also if greens are something that you need beyond the cool season look into some varieties that do not bolt. Again warmer weather creates bitter greens but these varieties will not seed as temperatures rise.
So until we blog again, March may come in like a lion and go out like a lamb but your salad bowl can be full with cool season greens of the land.