Pleasures of Early Spring Garden

Over the last two weeks we’ve used up everything left in the refrigerator vegetable drawer in preparation for salads composed of items totally from our garden of pots & Earth Boxes. We’ve had tons of Roma and cherry tomatoes right along for over a month now as well as a little lettuce which is now getting up to speed. We have 4-5 big pots of Romaine lettuce as well as a few leaf lettuce plants that are coming along nicely. We also have parsley, dill sprigs and basil which have been sufficiently plentiful even in late winter and early spring to combine with the tomatoes and lettuce to give us excellent salads right along.

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Recently we’ve added cilantro, chives, red onion sets that are turning into great green onions to add to salads. There are also some zucchini, carrots and baby spinach that are coming along and we’ll cut those up and, in due course, start adding them to salads as well. We also have sage, rosemary and oregano growing in the garden as well, but these are not used primarily in salads. These herbs can be added to stews, stewed tomatoes added to pasta, potato and rice dishes and other dishes.

Overall, while the garden got a good start this year in October, it is only now getting to a stage where there is enough variety to prepare a great salad every day. Thus, every day we go out about 11 am and pick the necessary tomatoes, onions, lettuce as a base. Then to that we will add a few leaves or sprigs of parsley, basil, dill, and chives for both flavor as well as aroma.

The cherry tomatoes are extremely sweet and deserve to be used in quantity. The dressing we use goes well with the Picture 006Asweetness of the tomatoes. We use a bit of balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil in about equal amounts just added directly over the salads, which are then mixed and cooled in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes before eating. A moderately cooled salad always seems to taste a little better.

You can also add a little tuna, salmon, or a few clams, or oysters and/or a handful of mixed nuts, all of which will add a bit of protein to the salad. The salad can be substantial, and with added sea food will serve as lunch. Alternatively, the salad can be a small side and combine with dinner based primarily on other items.

In our case, we have enough of everything growing in pots and Earth Boxes to assure a great salad each day form now through until late May, after which we’ll head north to Ohio where a new garden will be set up to provide salads and more until we leave an head back here in September-October.

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Richard A. Hudson is a writer, reader and blogger committed to exercise, proper nutrition and health. He’s interested in politics, economics, alternative energy, gardening and sustainability and has written brief essays on many of these topics on his bloghttp://richlynne.wordpress.com. Despite his generally positive and optimistic views about globalization, he wonders whether we will survive current destructive forces that increasingly promote warfare among political and social classes. He is also beginning to think about the declining influence of the know-it-all baby boomer generation just as the next generation born in the 60s begins to slowly stumble into a dominant position in the U.S.

He received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Chicago (1966) and subsequently spent 42 years in academics, gradually developing all sorts of interests well beyond his basic training. He ended his academic career in 2008, having published about 100 scientific papers, reviews and commentaries. In his last several years in the academy, his role as Dean of the Graduate School afforded him many opportunities to interact with students from all over the world seeking graduate degrees.