I’m excited to be a part of a Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Collection giveaway! For details and to enter, scroll to the end of this article.
There’s nothing like a homegrown salad! Picking fresh greens, plus other goodies, straight out of the garden and combining them into a healthy and beautiful dish is a simple pleasure. It’s fun to make use of odds and ends, and maybe even some edible weeds or flowers. No two salads are exactly alike – each one is a little work of art. I haven’t yet built a cold frame to grow them throughout the winter, so I’m really looking forward to having homegrown salads again.
Lettuces and Other Greens
Salads with a mix of colors are most appetizing to me. For many years, I’ve ordered the Rocky Top lettuce mix from Baker Creek. I also bought some Australian Yellow Lettuce seed for the first time last year. It’s a pretty chartreuse color, and claimed to be more heat-tolerant than other lettuces. I enjoyed it last year so I plan to grow it again. Spinach is another cool-weather crop that makes a delicious and nutritious salad green.
Swiss Chard is beautiful in salads. If I need to thin them, I throw the thinnings in, or I’ll steal a few small leaves. Did you know that Swiss Chard is basically the same plant as beets? Chard is propagated for its leaves, while beets are developed for their roots.
This and That
Once you’ve got the greens, it’s time to add some other colors, textures and flavors. Last year I grew some Pink Beauty radishes for the first time. I was excited to finally find a radish that I liked! They didn’t have the spiciness that I’ve experienced with most. As a member of the cabbage family, radishes grow best in cooler temperatures of spring and fall. They are fast-growing, maturing in about 29 days, so they’re one of the first harvestable crops. They’re so pretty – radish slices really perk up a salad.
I like to grow carrots just to add them to salads. It’s very rocky where we live, so I experiment with shorter varieties. Sometimes I’ll pick a few asparagus spears to chop up and throw in.
The Magnolia Blossom Tendril Peas were great to include for their sweet crunch.
Walking Onions and chives are available in early spring, too. Chive flowers are a pretty lavender and are edible. You can also use them to make a flavored vinegar.
In early spring, when I’m cleaning out my raised beds, many of the “weeds” are edible, and very nutritious. Purslane is the first to come to mind. Baker Creek has two varieties of seed listed in their catalog, and I have a wild one that takes over my garden all on its own. Lambsquarters grows wild and is related to spinach. I sometimes use its small leaves. Just because something grows on its own doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. I’m trying to rethink weeds, so yes, I occasionally add them to my salads.
In early spring, dandelions and wild violets pop up around our yard. I plant Nasturtiums every year and they bloom in late spring. There are many edible flowers, but these are a few that I’ve used to adorn my salads.
What better way to dress a homegrown salad, than with a homemade dressing?! Our favorite is Buttermilk Ranch that I make with my own mix. The mix is made using as many of my own dried herbs and seasonings as possible.
- 1/4 cup Black Pepper
- 1 1/2 cups Parsley Flakes
- 1/2 cup Garlic Salt
- 2 Tbsp Kosher Salt
- 1/4 cup Granulated Garlic
- 3/4 cup Granulated Onion
- 2 Tbsp Dill Weed
- (To make dressing you will need additional ingredients found in "Instructions.")
- Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.
- Makes about 3 1/2 cups of dry mix.
- To make dressing, combine 2 tbsp of mix with 2 c mayonnaise, 2 c buttermilk, 1 1/2 c sour cream, 1 tsp lemon juice.
- I keep powdered buttermilk on hand. When using it, I add the powder in, and then add the water to the desired consistency of the dressing.
- This recipe makes a lot. For smaller families, you might want to halve the recipe.
- 1 Tbsp mix can be used in recipes calling for one envelope of ranch dressing mix.
Great for Beginners
You don’t have to have a green thumb or live on a big farm to grow your own salads. Salad greens are easy and can even be grown in containers. Just sprinkle the seeds over the soil. They need cool temperatures and part to full sun. When it gets too warm, lettuces get bitter. You can just cut some leaves as you need them (“cut and come again”), or harvest the whole plant. If you’re gardening with children, plants like lettuces and radishes are great because they grow quickly and are easy to plant and harvest. When children are involved in the growing process, they’re more likely to eat their vegetables. If you’re homeschooling, then it counts as science and there are all kinds of things to be learned through it.
Flea Market Style
I think it’s fun to use a variety of dishes that I pick up at garage sales and thrift stores. Serving with family heirlooms or thrifty treasures, makes salads even more appealing.
Salads are so good for us. Raw foods have nutrients and enzymes that cooked ones don’t. Add the extra freshness and lack of pesticides and there are some great reasons to grow your own. Salad season will be here soon! It’s one of spring’s simple pleasures.
Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Collection Giveaway
I’m teaming up with some of my blogger-friends to give away ten packets of heirloom seeds valued at $49, courtesy of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds! We’re all writing about gardening, so be sure to check out their great posts by following the links to them below.
This giveaway will begin on Monday, Feb 20, at 1:00 am Central time and end on Sunday, Feb 26, at 11:59 pm Central time. Open to US and Canada residents age 18 and over. Please note that seed varieties will vary from the photo.
Enter below by signing in with your email address and following the directions for each entry. We’ve given you a free entry to start. After completing an entry’s requirement, use your browser’s back button to return to this page and move on to the next entry.
One winner will be randomly chosen by Giveaway Tools after the giveaway ends, and we’ll notify the winner with an email sent to the address they used to enter. Winner will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address. If winner fails to respond, another winner will be chosen. We’ll send the winner’s mailing address to Baker Creek Seeds and they will ship the prize package directly.
For more great garden reading, be sure to visit these blogs:
Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead
Michelle at Souly Rested
Kacey at Rustic Ranch Wife
Angela at The Inquisitive Farmwife
Crystal at Homemade Happiness
Nadine at Making Her Mama
Thanks for the wonderful dressing recipe Michelle! I too have very rocky soil, in New England, so we grow little stubby carrots as well–Baker Creek has a great variety to choose from!
Yes, they do. I’ve had good luck with all of them. I have some that over-wintered in the garden and they’re very good!
I love a multi-colored lettuce garden too, it’s so cheerful as well as tasty. I’m going to try your recommendations for various plants since it’s so hot here in the summer.
Also, having varieties may possibly extend the salad season.
Great tips and fun giveaway! Thanks!
Thanks for reading and entering. Good luck!
Hello Michelle. I’m a fellow gardener, homeschool mom, and Christian too!
I loved this post. (I’m also a homegrown salad lover.) And I appreciated learning about the Pink Beauty radish. I need to try growing that one, as I don’t like super spicy radishes either. Thank you for that salad dressing recipe. I can’t wait to make it.(Oh, I signed
I’m visiting from Simple Homestead blog hop
I wasn’t ready to send (my thumb hit “post” too soon). I was going to say I signed up for your posts too. Have a great day.
Thank you for visiting and commenting. I hope you enjoy the radishes and the dressing mix!
Great job on your vegetable garden. Salads grown in your own backyard taste the best. #farmlife
Thanks! I agree!