On January salads

img_9442This is the side of the new greenhouse.  Every day I knock at least this much snow off the thing.  Why?  It gets dark in there otherwise!

We had a bit of a break in the constant snow around here, so much so that I’m getting a little used to a daily salad.  (No snow = more light = happy plants.)


Note the muted light in the greenhouse, yet stuff keeps growing.

I also got a new salad spinner.  My last one had had one too many encounters with the hard floor.  This new one is bigger so I have to stop myself from filling it full:  that’d be too much for the three of us.

But you know what?  To my snow-blind eyes, these salad ingredients, even dirt-covered, are SEXY.  Do you not agree?

img_9457 Brune d’Hiver, oakleaf, Freckles romaine, Amish deer tongue, black-seeded Simpson lettuces with red onion, radicchio, red onion and carrot, with some par-cel cutting celery.

14 responses to “On January salads

  1. I am thawing out just looking at those greens-I can almost smell the sun warmed dirt of summer. Have you had any success with spinach in your greenhouse? BTW, what zone are you guys in? Kris

  2. I am, if you’ll excuse the pun, green with envy. Really. I get so discouraged looking at those big heads of California lettuce that seem to be all I can find now except for an occasional bunch of arugula or mustard greens if I get to the farmer’s market early enough (kind of challenging on a snowy Saturday morning). Any thoughts on how big a plastic hoop house one would need to grow some salad and herbs through the winter?

  3. I totally understand your declaration that the ingredients are sexy. You are providing food for the fam without the grocery store. Self sufficiency is powerful stuff–therefore sexy.

  4. Sexy, and YUM! Our attempts this Winter at beets, swiss chard, lettuce and onions was unspectacular. It seems that our usual two spring/summer garden beds don’t get much sun in the winter. The North foot and 1/2 have plants about 4″ tall, and the rest of the row is about 1/2″ tall. LOL! We are already plotting out our new WINTER garden bed, which will be on the other side of the yard, where the sun shines all day long! Hopefully we’ll have better luck come this Winter!

  5. You do have a problem; let’s calli an obsession.

    I’ll eat salads because I’m told they are good for me, but what I really crave this time of year is squash – Kabocha, pumpkins, acorn, butternut – and my own fresh potatoes, and bean soup, and chili from our own frozen tomatoes. Yum! Our tongues are built differently!

  6. Oh, yeah, baby.
    I’ve got a salad planned with homemade apple-cherry vinegar and slices of (the first!) orange from our tree.
    I really admire your lettuce harvest. And your salad spinner.

  7. I envy you that marvelous greenhouse, but I also kind of agree with Dennis — I just don’t have the impulse for fresh greens right now. (Cooked greens, though — chickpeas and spinach, collard greens — woo hoo!) For side dishes, potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, baked squash, bean dishes, dried fruits, all come to mind first.

    I don’t consciously try for it, but I’ve noticed that I hardly ever eat root vegetables in the summer.

    Not including potato chips 🙂

  8. Hey Kris, well, I have spotty germination with spinach in the greenhouse. It’s not that we don’t love the stuff, as we do, but…I tend to seed lettuces in a row and transplant them when they get bigger. Spinach HATES that kind of treatment. So I do have some planted and it will probably start popping up in Feb. And we’re in a freakishly warm spot, because we’re close to the lake: we’re 6B.

    Maria, well, I would ask you how much salad do you like 🙂 ? If lots then you can rip up the whole back yard!! But seriously, hoop houses do not need to be elaborate things at all. I have been eying my Chicken Tractor for its off-season sprouting potential: slap a layer of plastic to the outside and it’d be good to go. If I set it over a raised bed and put 180* hinges on one side, then I could simply lift it up and harvest my greens. (The Chicken Tractor is 6′ x 12′, I think.) You probably don’t even need to put it over a raised bed, frankly, but I do think you’d need to use row cover (Reemay) to keep things toasty in there. One 6′ x 12′ bed, plus maybe one cold frame (30″ x 4′) would serve you guys pretty well for a weekly salad if you kept it well-planted. You can see the Greenhouses tabs above for more DIY hoophouses too.

    Thanks TSW! I do agree.

    Oh I suppose it’s sexy to be self-sufficient, too, Pamela; kind of a manly endeavor almost (She Goes Out And Shoots Her Salads For Her Family). We’ve got another foot of snow forecast for today so all I am saying is it’s nice to have something green to see and smell and…eat!

    I dunno, Jules, sounds like you’ve squeezed a fair amount of success out of your winter bed! But yeah light patterns are quite different so it’s good you’re paying attention now for next year. Most things look kind of sad at this time of year with so little light. Wait until Feb., though; you will be quite surprised how well things do!

    Dennis, you are on to something, actually, you are on to two things. (But obsessed, yes, I do believe I am a bit of that but please remember this is JUST salad. I like a bit of crunch of raw food. Anyway, if I am nothing else, I am a greenhouse evangelist.) One, it’s good you crave your root cellar crops now if that is what you have. We are all about them too here and believe me with the bumper unplanned crop of squash we had we are all actually getting a bit tired of it all, but yes, it’s certainly comfort food! And two, it’s probably GREAT you aren’t craving what you can’t have (without the fossil fuel costs associated with Maria’s California lettuce, say). So…roll with it!

    Woot, CC! Now, is this the year you’re going to experiment with canning up some marmalade? Or maybe even squeezing a harvest of orange juice to stick in your freezer like I do with my grapes? I am not as in love with this new (oxo) salad spinner as I was with my old one…it’s zoomy design-wise but I still think it doesn’t go fast enough to get things bone-dry, like my old pull-cord one did (sniff RIP).

    Linda, good! Thanks!

    Firefly, I hardly ever eat SALAD in the summer, when I can’t get it! So I do hear you. We’re root veg pigs here though. Nothing like a big casserole full of cubed carrots/potatoes/turnips/beets, IMHO. But frankly I am trying to find the one thing I can bake here that will substitute for the kid’s love of all things chippy. I’ve done pita and tortilla crisps and have even tried to make our own potato chips but…you’ve got me there 😉 .

  9. Those are beautiful greens – just the thing in the snowy weather.

  10. I can’t help be feel like I want to tear over there and kidnap your greens! The taste of something green, (and crispy I mean, not pureed/frozen soups) is, well, beyond a dream now over here. I am thinking of trying some indoor salad greens and herbs, but don’t know how well that will work. I’ve heard it can do well though, so I have hope. Can’t be less than I have now, huh?

  11. yep, absolutely sexy. It’s the vibrant LIFE radiating from them, if you ask me….

  12. Verde, thanks! (How come I think you’re one of the folks I can convince to get a greenhouse going? 😉 )

    MC, well, should I look to you then for a recent theft? Actually I know it was just a vole but I found a few of my chickories were gnawed through yesterday (sniff and roar). I would investigate growing some parsley from seed. It needs to be soaked overnight in water to encourage germination, but once a small trayful of it gets going you can pluck the leaves to liven things up! Cilantro is amazingly cold-hardy I have found so that could be one you could try wintersowing. There’s a whole bunch of people who’re into that!

    Hayden, just think, you too can soon grow your own when you experience our same white winter!

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