Growing Salads in Your Garden Good Health through Greens
It does not matter whether you are an epicure, or just a person too busy to eat a meal in a leisurely fashion – the meal that you enjoy is often accompanied with a side dish of green leafy vegetables. These vegetables can include spinach, lettuce, cabbage leaves, and other green vegetables which are low in calories. No wonder so many dietitians recommend lots of salads as an excellent dieting food.
Apart from these greens, salads can also be dishes of bite-size pieces, mixed with salad dressing or with spices and sauce
So who were the first people to eat salads? According to historical books, the ancient Romans and Greeks were the first persons who mixed up greens with olive oil, and a salad dressing to eat as an accompaniment to their meals. The word Salad in itself comes from the Latin word for salt- salata- due to the reason that the Romans made a salad dressing of vinegar as well as brine or salt in which the salad greens were put before serving.
Cabbages and Savoys
Since ancient times cabbages have been one of the most common of stable diets, known to man. Cabbages were either eaten raw, or cooked or fermented into kimchee or sauerkraut. Savoys are also a type of cabbage, and are extremely hardy. In fact, they flourish in places where there is a hard winter, and because of this winter, their taste is going to be enhanced. So consider this salad green to be that particular easily available salad in winter.
There are plenty of popular winter cabbages, growing all over the world, like January King. The difference between Savoys and cabbages is that cabbages have smoothed leaves, while Savoys have deeply crinkled dark leaves.
Remember to shred the inner heart area, of the cabbages and the Savoys, when you are making them up into salads. Many people do not do that, and they are missing out on plenty of good nutrition.
Savoys can be grown on any sort of soil, even if it is not rich in nutrients, but they are going to do best, on a rich and light loam. Cultivate the soil deeply, by digging in, putting in rich fertilizer, especially organic compost, and allowing the bed to rest for a while before sowing. They are going to do well, when they are fitted into a rotation after potatoes and early peas. Thanks to early peas, the soil is already going to be nourished with nitrogen fixing bacteria so you do not have to put in next organic fertilizer then.
Tips for Growing Cabbages
If the plants look quite dejected in the spring, apply some chalk and some Nitro fertilizer taking the advice of an experienced nursery man in the neighborhood. As soon as the cabbages are cut the stalk should be removed and placed on the compost heap. That is because they are going to rob the land of essential nutrients, if left to grow again. You can break the stalks up with a spade or with the back of an ax so that they can decompose more easily.
Harvesting the Crop
You can either harvest this crop before the hearts have been form or you can use them as spring greens. Do not leave many of these to mature into hearts, as they are going to start deteriorating, once they start maturing.
Summer and Autumn Cabbages
You normally sow these varieties in March. You can also do a succession of sowing within the next two weeks, and sowing whenever you can, after that so that you have plenty of them coming on at intervals rather than a huge lot at just one time.
For a harvest in June, the seed can be sown in January or in February. If the winters are harsh, you can do the sowing in a cold frame. Plant them out after they are hardenedoff in rows 18 inches apart, and 12 inches between the plants in either early March or in April.
Carrots are one root vegetable, which can be available all the year-round, either grown in the open or in hot boxes.
They normally prefer a good and deep well cultivated sandy loam for early outdoor showings, especially in the beginning of the spring, the earth has to be warm. In later main crop sowing, make sure that the land is never heavy and wet.
During a dry period, make sure that you add a heavier subsoil to the bed so that it is able to retain moisture.
A good solid texture is going to be fine soil. If the soil is heavy, you can leave it rough over the winter so that it can be weathered due to the cold weather and broken down into fine soil.
Fresh bulky organic manure is definitely not suitable for carrots. That is because they are going to fork if the soil is very rich. That is why the ground has to be prepared before hand, or if it has been well cultivated and matured for a previous crop with organic fertilizer, and the crop has been harvested, that is the time when you are going to sow carrots.
Before sowing, you can put in an application of fish manure with 10% potash content on the soil, with 2 ounces for the square yard. This is best for early sowing. If you are looking for a main crop of carrots, put 4 ounces to the square yard.
You apply this on the surface of the soil and fork it into the top few inches off a soil, a week or so before you do the sowing.
Choose a warm spot for early sowings in March or you can give protection for these carrots by using glass cloches. You can sow a further succession, three weeks later.
Sow very thinly in rows 1 feet apart, and so there will be no need to thin the plants later on. Remember that the soil has to be warm when you are sowing carrots, so it is sensible to wait until the soil warms up than to be guided by any sort of arbitrary date on the Internet or on the calendar.
Cucumbers can be grown outside during the summer months. But in the winter, they can also be grown in hot houses under artificial light or under cloches.
Cucumbers like a moist but well-drained soil which is rich in organic matter. It is necessary that you dig out the ground well, often lower in the winter, and then a week or so before the plants are going to be planted out.
A trench can now be opened up and a good 4 – 5 inch layer of well rotted compost or farmyard manure can be put in before the soil is put back in. The top of the layer is going to be about 6 inches below the surface.
The main point is to have a good layer of composed 6 inches below the surface so that if there are only going to be a few plants, they should get enough of compost in about a hole say about 15 in.², where each plant is going to grow.
When the soil is replaced on top of the compost, only a little soil will be needed
You can raise Ridge cucumber plants from the seeds which are sown in the open in late May or under glass cloches. But the seeds of frame cucumbers have to be sown in worms, in early April. If you have a greenhouse, sow the seeds in a welcome posted soil, in the first week of April at a temperature of around 60°F.
How to Make the Perfect Salad
The ingredients of the salad are going to depend on your personal choice and taste. There are salad bars in America today, earning an annual profit of $300 million, where all you have to go and mix your own salad from the ingredients spread out before you. Mary, Queen of Scots ate her version of greens in Elizabethan times, with boiled eggs, chervil root, and cream.
In the 19th century, salads were accompaniments to dishes, in England, but sometimes, you can consider them to be a full meal, especially when they are put on your plate, instead of tossed about in a bowl.
Here is another story about the perfect salad in poetry form attribute it to Rev. R.H. Barham, the world-famous British author of the Ingoldsby Legends in the 19th century.
This book gives you plenty of information on how you can grow your own salads in your garden. Salads are stylish, they are good to keep you healthy, and your weight down, and best of all, they can be prepared so easily. Just pick them off your plants, bring them inside your kitchen, wash them, scissor them into pieces, or pull off the lettuce leaves into pieces, add your favorite salad dressing and enjoy.
There are plenty of salad combinations which can be made using a bit of ingenuity and all the ingredients present at the moment in your kitchen. A little bit of this and a little bit of that can perhaps one day become a classic like the Waldorf salad, which was made by a chef who mixed a large number of fruit, vegetables and nuts together, and named it after his hotel. And today, this salad is considered to be a classic.
So get your salad bowl out, and have some fresh salad today.
Incidentally, for all those people who are interested in how a Waldorf salad is made, here is the original recipe.
Three apples, peeled, 1 tablespoon full of lemon juice, 1 cup walnuts or pecans, three stalks of celery cut in short lengths, ¼ cups of raisins, crisp salad greens of your choice, ¼ cup mayonnaise, and ¼ cup of dairy sour cream.
Half and core the apples. Slice the apples with a slicing blade. Transfer them into the bowl and toss with the lemon juice.
Chop the nuts in the blender and add them to the bowl with the apples. Chop the celery and added to the apples. Stir together the sour cream, mayonnaise and sugar, then add them along with the raisins to the apple mixture. Flavor blending is done by chilling for at least one are before serving. You can serve the salad on crisp salad greens if you want.
This makes four – six servings.
Live Long and Prosper!
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