All Posts   Posted:   March 17, 2016 by Nicole Forbes - Dennis' 7 Dees Education

Since you are waiting for things to warm up before planting summer vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers why not grow some greens in the garden now? Cool season veggies have arrived at the garden centers and our seed racks are full of early-season edibles. Our mild, cool and rainy spring weather is perfect for growing all kinds of nutritious and delicious greens. Many varieties mature within 6 weeks or so and the crop may be finished around the time the temperatures allow planting of those warm-season selections.

If your garden beds still need a little work, plant some lettuce (seeds or starts) in a container on your deck or porch in an area that gets at least 4-6 hours of sun. I like to sow a combination of both seeds and starts so I have a staggered harvest of fresh-picked salad greens within a few weeks while I wait for the seeds to germinate and mature. Spring lettuce is tender and succulent without a trace of bitterness that summer crops often have. If lettuce plants dry out frequently they take on bitter flavors so be sure to water or give your container access to rain. Harvest your greens frequently, rinse under cool water and enjoy as fresh as possible. Many greens grow better and produce greater when regularly harvested from.  

If your garden is indeed ready to plant I suggest some Rainbow Chard for color, Kale (I love a variety called Nero Di Toscana), arugula, an assortment of lettuce (or one of the many ‘salad blends’), mustard greens for a little spice, and mache/corn salad – a very early maturing gourmet salad green with small succulent leaves and a mild, nutty flavor.

This spring I am excited to try a few new things including Orach. Also referred to as mountain spinach, Orach is described as growing up to five feet tall with thick savoyed, large spade-shaped purple leaves that can be used like spinach. Territorial seed catalog states that it contains three times the vitamin C as spinach… and it’s purple! I will directly sow the seeds in my garden this weekend, taking care to place them towards the back so as they grow taller they don’t shade the rest of my greens.

Another newly available edible that prefers cool conditions is wasabi. Shady, moist stream-banks being the natural habitat of wasabi this perennial, rhizomatous plant prefers cool, moist and shady environments and needs 24-36 months to produce a good-sized, above-ground rhizome. We are excited to offer these locally-grown plants for the first time this year and I am really looking forward to some home-grown wasabi paste in my future! Customers are purchasing them as ornamental and edible plants for their vegetable gardens for the leaves and rhizomes.  The leaves and leaf stems are edible and taste similar to a mustard leaf, the whole plant is edible and in our climate the plants produce leaves just about year-round.  Generally, wasabi plants prefer exceptionally low-light conditions, moist and well-drained soil and can tolerate full shade and lots of water – provided it’s moving and not stagnant. They’re great for the shady, damp part of a yard or garden where other things can’t grow. And they also do well in pots.  For fertilizing, we recommend an all-purpose blend.  As a shade plant, they are great as cover or accents; we’ve had landscape designers purchasing the plants for their clients. The plant ‘starts’ and offshoots transplant extremely well because that’s how wasabi spreads; offshoots break off during flood conditions and wash the offshoots downstream.

Try something new, plant what you are familiar with or a little of both; plant in pots and containers, raised beds or in-ground gardens… the time is now. As you begin picking home-grown fresh greens late this month you will really be glad you did!

Since you are waiting for things to warm up before planting summer vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers why not grow some greens in the garden now? Cool season veggies have arrived at the garden centers and our seed racks are full of early-season edibles. Our mild, cool and rainy spring weather is perfect for growing all kinds of nutritious and delicious greens. Many varieties mature within 6 weeks or so and the crop may be finished around the time the temperatures allow planting of those warm-season selections.

If your garden beds still need a little work, plant some lettuce (seeds or starts) in a container on your deck or porch in an area that gets at least 4-6 hours of sun. I like to sow a combination of both seeds and starts so I have a staggered harvest of fresh-picked salad greens within a few weeks while I wait for the seeds to germinate and mature. Spring lettuce is tender and succulent without a trace of bitterness that summer crops often have. If lettuce plants dry out frequently they take on bitter flavors so be sure to water or give your container access to rain. Harvest your greens frequently, rinse under cool water and enjoy as fresh as possible. Many greens grow better and produce greater when regularly harvested from.  

If your garden is indeed ready to plant I suggest some Rainbow Chard for color, Kale (I love a variety called Nero Di Toscana), arugula, an assortment of lettuce (or one of the many ‘salad blends’), mustard greens for a little spice, and mache/corn salad – a very early maturing gourmet salad green with small succulent leaves and a mild, nutty flavor.

This spring I am excited to try a few new things including Orach. Also referred to as mountain spinach, Orach is described as growing up to five feet tall with thick savoyed, large spade-shaped purple leaves that can be used like spinach. Territorial seed catalog states that it contains three times the vitamin C as spinach… and it’s purple! I will directly sow the seeds in my garden this weekend, taking care to place them towards the back so as they grow taller they don’t shade the rest of my greens.

Another newly available edible that prefers cool conditions is wasabi. Shady, moist stream-banks being the natural habitat of wasabi this perennial, rhizomatous plant prefers cool, moist and shady environments and needs 24-36 months to produce a good-sized, above-ground rhizome. We are excited to offer these locally-grown plants for the first time this year and I am really looking forward to some home-grown wasabi paste in my future! Customers are purchasing them as ornamental and edible plants for their vegetable gardens for the leaves and rhizomes.  The leaves and leaf stems are edible and taste similar to a mustard leaf, the whole plant is edible and in our climate the plants produce leaves just about year-round.  Generally, wasabi plants prefer exceptionally low-light conditions, moist and well-drained soil and can tolerate full shade and lots of water – provided it’s moving and not stagnant. They’re great for the shady, damp part of a yard or garden where other things can’t grow. And they also do well in pots.  For fertilizing, we recommend an all-purpose blend.  As a shade plant, they are great as cover or accents; we’ve had landscape designers purchasing the plants for their clients. The plant ‘starts’ and offshoots transplant extremely well because that’s how wasabi spreads; offshoots break off during flood conditions and wash the offshoots downstream.

Try something new, plant what you are familiar with or a little of both; plant in pots and containers, raised beds or in-ground gardens… the time is now. As you begin picking home-grown fresh greens late this month you will really be glad you did!