On May 31, after several weeks of agonizing over my garden (remember, this is my first one), I was finally able to harvest several vegetables. In the past, I tended to have two very distinct relationships with my plants: either I was too vigilant and ended up over-watering them, or I was too indifferent and ended up forgetting about them.
This time, I tried to actually use my brain to keep a careful eye on the weather and the amount of water they needed. The weather this spring fluctuated quite a bit, from searing 80-degree days to stormy days with lows in the 50s. Everyday when I came home from work, I darted over to my garden, just to make sure that everything hadn’t died while I was away.
Miraculously, everything has survived (so far), and I was able to harvest quite a bounty a couple of weeks ago.
Red and green leaf lettuce
By far the quickest-growing thing in my garden is this lettuce. I planted about eight little lettuce plants, and now I can’t even keep up with harvesting the leaves from the garden.
This lettuce definitely beats the lettuce bought in supermarkets, though. If harvested early, it is soft and sweet, perfect for a light dressing. Once the leaves are larger, they are durable enough for lettuce wraps or a quick sauté. Since the lettuce doesn’t have to sit in warehouses for days, it keeps very well in the refrigerator (I had some in there for almost two weeks, and it was still crisp). After cleaning and drying, just wrap it in some damp paper towels and store it in an air-tight container.
Since I have so much lettuce, it’s time for some creative recipes (coming next week) and sharing lettuce with friends. Below are some recipes from around the web that use this under-appreciated vegetable:
- Lettuce cups with red pepper lentils – from The Kitchn
- English peas with lettuce, garlic, and mint – from NY Times
- Avocado chickpea salad – from Naturally Ella
I bought one radish planted and separated it into four before planting. By the time I harvested the roots, I had quite a few large and beautifully round radishes. Unfortunately, I didn’t thin the plants early enough, so when I went back a few weeks later, many of the roots didn’t develop. I was still able to use the radish tops, however, so it wasn’t such a loss.
You can also find radish inspiration around the web. Here are some recipes that look delightful:
- Cucumber radish gazpacho – from What’s Cooking Good Looking
- Moroccan mint roasted vegetables – from 101 Cookbooks
- Toast with radishes and dandelion greens – from Love and Lemons
When I was searching for vegetables to plant, I bought this senposai on a whim (I had absolutely no idea what it was, but it sounded nice). It’s a cross between cabbage and the Japanese mustard spinach (Komatsuna). My senposai has been growing very well, so I’ve been trying to develop creative ways to use it.
Senposai can replace greens in many recipes, including salads and stir-frys, since it is a bit milder than mustard greens. Since the leaves grow so big, it is also perfect for making wraps. I’m going to try one out this week using miso tofu, so I’ll post that recipe if it turns out well.
If your senposai is also growing huge, then here are some recipes for you: