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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Greens - time to get ready for spring

As the snow slowly begins to melt here in Vermont, we start seeing a few tiny patches of green grass. Now is the time to get your coldframes out and start getting the soil ready for spring planting of greens.

Clear away as much snow as possible from your planting site and lay your cold frame down where you want your greens to grow. As the sun shines through the cold frame, the remaining snow will melt and the soil will warm up. Depending on how much sun we have and the temps, you may have the ground warm enough to work up a bit in a week or two. Till the soil and remove any clumps of grass/weeds. Put down some potting soil on top of the tilled earth. Plant your seeds according to directions on the package.

Watch the temperature carefully. You don't want it to get too hot inside. That won't be a problem early on unless we get an unseasonably high warm spell but be careful any way. Make sure on very warm days that you vent the cold frame a bit. For more information on growing in a cold frame, go here:


Now that you have the basics, what can you grow? I like to start with various greens because they aren't as upset if it gets a little cold. Plus, everyone here loves salads so they are used up quickly. If we ever have excess, the ducks and chickens like salads too.

Here are a few options for different types of greens:

Lettuce - probably the most popular and the one we are most familiar with
Mustard - leafy green in the cabbage family
Endive - leafy green in the chicory family
Arugula - otherwise known as rocket or roquette
Radicchio - a variety of chicory with red or red spotted leaves
Cress - peppery green in the mustard family
Orach - colorful red or purple leaves - cook like spinach or eat raw in salads
Mache - otherwise known as corn salad
Sorrel - otherwise known as spinach dock or narrow leaved dock
Tatsoi - Also known as pak choy. Asian vegetable used in salads or stir fries. (picture)
Spinach - Can be eaten raw or cooked.
Mizuna - Japanese mustard green

Most of these greens can be eaten raw or cooked. Greens are generally most tender and least bitter when picked very young.


Kymber said...

Thanks for the info COAOWM! We are using a cold frame for the first time this spring (we will have to wait another week or two - we are still getting dumpings of snow here in Ontario, Canada!)

Please keep sharing this kind of information as I think I speak for everyone when I say that I find it quite useful! Thanks again!

ConfessionsOfAnOverworkedMom said...

Thanks, Kymber. Glad you are finding what I'm posting useful. I'm never sure if anyone is reading it or not :)

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