What comes to mind when you hear the words "green salad"? We all know that everywhere you turn someone is telling you that you need to eat more leafy greens. But let's be real, if you go the grocery store route for greens, you end up with either a single variety kind of lettuce or a bag of prepared mixed greens. There is nothing wrong with this route, but I want to show how easy it is to grow your very own salad garden.
I used to be a big box of spinach kind of gal with the occasional deviation to get romaine or kale. As a mom to three small kids, my life is crazy. And while my little troopers are growing in their appreciation of eating salad when I do our weekly grocery haul, it's usually salad greens for mom and dad.
Last summer I had a life-altering experience. While visiting my neighbor across the street, she showed me her salad garden. She had filled a relatively small raised garden with edible greens. There was rainbow chard, nasturtium, parsley, lemon balm, spinach, thyme, arugula, dill, lettuce, kale rosemary and a few more I don't even remember all packed within a two-foot wide u-shaped bed. She eagerly asked if I'd like some to take home. There was just too much for her and her husband to eat, and they harvested from it daily. Naturally, I said yes, please.
I took my two paper bags full of greens home, cleaned them, trimmed them and filled a large mixing bowl. All I added to this salad was olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and a bit of feta cheese I had in the fridge. It was amazing. The best way to describe it is that it tasted ALIVE! You don't often think of using herbs as whole leaf salad components, but I did, and it was delicious.
All winter as I dreamed of my garden this year I had one primary goal in mind. I wanted to have a salad garden. Sure I have a whole lot of other goodness growing, but above all, I wanted to be able to recreate that experience my neighbor gave me every day.
I am happy to report that my little salad garden is growing. I need to plant more because my poor baby plants can't seem to produce enough for my family. My sweet three-year-old keeps helping herself to the kale, and that was the only kind of plant that I began growing with starts. Everything else was started from seed. That means that my daily salad is usually small and full of baby greens, but I love that it is diverse and full of complex flavor. My twin boys even joined me in a taste test of each kind of green this morning. Parenting win! Hopefully, this post has inspired you to go out and get your hands on some seeds or starts. There are so many kinds of edible greens, and each one has such a unique flavor profile. When you blend them all, magic happens.