Friday, January 27, 2012

52 week Salad Challenge January 2012

The garden in 2011

Last year I became more interested in growing vegetables. I started with the usual stuff - tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, okra, and beans. The cucumber vines tried to take over the garden! My Sweet 100 tomatoes did really well, but the others were disappointing. I planted the beans late, so it was a race to get them mature enough to harvest before frost. Okra was good - it loves our hot Summers. The bell peppers barely made a few peppers, but the Jalepeno hot peppers did wonderfully well. But the real high point of the garden was early one July morning when I discovered a baby bird just learning to fly!

When the heat of Summer finally began to ease, I planted onions, radishes, and carrots in containers, a mixture of seeds in each container. Planting dates were August 31, September 13, and September 20.

The first  radishes, Early Scarlet Globe, matured quickly. The first harvest (from August 31 planting) was October 4. October was the month of the radishes!

In November I began covering the containers at night as our temperatures dipped below freezing.

Plastic bags filled with hay or straw snuggled up against the containers, along with plastic sheeting over the tops at night, keeps them warm enough to continue growing. This is a recent photo - all the radishes have been harvested; just onions and carrots left in this container.

On November23, just in time for Thanksgiving, the first carrots, Little Fingers, were ready for harvest! These baby carrots really are about the size of your finger, but will grow larger if you can resist pulling them! They are deliciously crisp with more carrot flavor than mass-produced store-bought carrots. And we had fresh radishes from the garden, too!

The radishes were all gone by mid-December, but we enjoyed baby carrots all through December and January.

The Garden in 2012

The onions, Evergreen Long White Bunching, have been very slow growing. According to the seed packet, maturity is 120 days.
I pulled this one on Tuesday, January 24, just to see if they were big enough to eat. Small, but delicious! Look what a root system! Great potential, I think, for future growth. I'll give them more time. In the Spring I am going to plant onion sets instead of starting from onion seed, so as to get them going faster.

I've never grown lettuce or other salad greens, but thanks to the 52 Week Salad Challenge at Veg Plotting, I am going to give them a try this year.
Last week I bought radish seeds (Cherry Belle) and two packets of lettuce seeds (Black Seeded Simpson and Mesclun Greens Mixture). According to the packet directions, I can start them in March. I still have Little Finger baby carrot seeds left over from last year. As soon as onion sets are in the stores, I'll get them. By mid-April it should be warm enough to set out tomato plants, cucumbers, and peppers.

I am hoping for a great year of growing my own salads!
And may all of you have a great year of growing and eating salads!

For more on the 52 Week Salad Challenge
 Visit The Veg Plotting blog - Click Here!



  1. Once you start growing your own, the bug grips you. There really isn't anything which tastes quite as good as home grown vegetable.

  2. I'm afraid the salad doesn't interest me at all, but I love the photo of the chick.

  3. I find growing leaves really addictive - I think it helps that they are relatively quick and pretty to look at.

  4. Good luck with the salad challenge Lea. Growing salad leaves is great fun, relatively straightforward and quick as Liz says :) Look forward to hearing more about your progress in the coming months.

  5. You will love having your own lettuce. And how nice it will be to have a salad from your own garden. Good luck with the challenge.

  6. Love that top image of the baby bird!

  7. thats a lovely produce! how long did the baby carrots take?

  8. It's exciting watching veges grow. You've done well to keep them growing into winter.

  9. I love gardening and being able to eat vegetables and fruit from "my" garden (I don't have one for the moment but that won't last :-)))

    Have a great weekend.

  10. Hi Lea! For me, lettuce is easy, but carrots are not. Every year, they get smaller and smaller. Maybe, I need to move them to another place. Good luck with your veggies!

  11. Your container garden reminds me of when I got started growing apple trees in pots. It was an enthusiasm which could not be contained (so to speak).

    I recommend Swiss Chard as an addition to your greens - it has a long season and is beautiful to boot...

  12. Way to go, Lea! This was an inspiring post - Must review this Spring! :-)

  13. Hello Lea, lovely blog and I love your gardening photos, especially the one with the bird! I garden too but mainly flowers - orchids and roses are a favorite but roses don't do so well in our climate.Thanks for visiting my blog.


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