Time to Plant Salad? by Julia Frisbie

by Julia Frisbie

April 5, 2022

First, an unrelated note: “It Starts with a Seed” Seed Share!

Is the April 9th farmer’s market on your calendar? Transition Fidalgo will have a booth where we will be GIVING AWAY seeds and perennial divisions! If you’ve been following the garden blog, you know that the only veggies I’ve planted so far in 2022 are peas, so it’s not too late to pick out seeds for your garden. And as long as you’re willing to irrigate, it’s NEVER too late to plant some golden raspberries, red raspberries, or thornless blackberries… all of which I am bringing to share. We’ll have activities for kids, Sequoia will be teaching two  short classes, I’ll demonstrate soil blocking, and it’ll be a good time.

Saturday, April 9, from 9 – 2, with classes during this time
Anacortes Farmer’s Market, at the Depot at 7th and R

Time to Plant Salad?

Okay! Now for some information about growing salad! In April on Fidalgo Island, I start watching the ten-day weather forecast for a week of warm, gentle rain. Direct-sowing salad greens and radishes at the beginning of such a rainy period usually yields good results for me.

The seeds for lettuce, arugula, spinach, and radishes are tiny, and it’s hard to get them spaced out properly. If you’re an overachiever, you can start these veggies in soil blocks or 72-cell trays and then transplant them at whatever spacing your heart desires. If you’re… more like me… you can broadcast them thickly, with plans to thin and eat lots of them at the baby-leaf stage.

I like to plant my salad at the feet of peas, because I find as the weather gets hotter, the peas benefit from the weed suppression of the leafy greens, and the lettuce benefits from the shade of the peas.

I don’t have much else to say about this because, to be honest, I think harvesting and washing homegrown salad is a pain in the butt. So I don’t plant much of it. Maybe Anna Torgeson will drop some wisdom in the comments section; she grows the best spinach I’ve ever eaten!

5 thoughts on “Time to Plant Salad? by Julia Frisbie

  1. Jan Hersey

    Another delightful look at the world through Julia’s wonder-filled and perceptive eyes.
    My peas were densely planted in single 4w x 5d pots on Mar 22 and today, April 4, are lush, green and ready to go out as soon as I can figure out where I want them. I’ve had poor luck direct seeding due to, likely, the aforementioned birds and, likely, slugs (no duck to help there). Because my garden’s 10 min from my house, I don’t get there daily to guard them. I’ll be using some remay cover even with well-started plants just to be sure. And, this year, I’ll put the lettuce starts (and maybe a few seeds for comparison) at their feet.
    BTW, if anyone’s looking to be a garden helper in exchange for veggies, get in touch, I’d love a hand on whatever schedule works for you. The garden is off Deception Rd near the Shrimp Shack.

  2. Anna Torgersen

    This is just the time to plant spinach! Julie’s my friend, so if she wants to know how I do it, here’s what I do:
    1. Choose a location that is basically sunny, but a little shade for a short period during the day is OK.
    2. Light, sandy soil is best, but I always mix in some organic compost high in nitrogen. Like either some chicken manure, worm castings, bat guano, or kelp meal. Not just peat moss or ground bark.
    3. I make rows about a foot long. Then I wet each row before I place the seeds on the soil.
    4. The seeds are not tiny, so I sow them one at a time along the row, cover them lightly, and press down the soil on top.
    5. The variety of the seed makes a difference. I always choose “Olympia”. Not only does it taste good, but it takes a long time to bolt (growing upright with smaller leaves and ultimately flowers). You want a slow-to-bolt variety.
    6. As Julie says, “Eat the thinnings!” as the plants grow bigger.
    Good luck!

    1. Julia

      Anna called me on the phone and asked me to post a minor correction to her comment: she makes her spinach rows 12 inches APART, not 12 inches long.

      We also talked a tiny bit about succession planting. She’s had good luck following spinach with beans! If I can use the same space for both, then I’m WAY more likely to actually do the spinach. Thanks for the tips, Anna, and for always sharing spinach so generously during the month of June!

  3. Sequoia

    Well Julia I think picking salad is a lot less work than attempting to be a mother duck!? Isn’t it wonderful that we all have different priorities and interests?

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