Grow something now

Lettuce, scallions and arugula are shown here. Photo courtesy of Meg McDonald
Lettuce, scallions and arugula are shown here. Photo courtesy of Meg McDonald

WSU Clark County Extension Master Gardener shares some tips

Meg McDonald
WSU Clark County Extension Master Gardener

In an anxious time, yet one that has managed to coincide with the beauty and hopefulness of spring, gardeners find it natural to take comfort in the scent and texture of soil. The gratification of eating something you have grown is a basic human experience that many people are craving right now. But we need our comfort fast. How to get to that gratification quickest? In a word; salad. 

A bed of greens including kale, lettuces, bok choy, cabbage, peas and some cilantro sprouts are shown here. Photo courtesy of Meg McDonald
A bed of greens including kale, lettuces, bok choy, cabbage, peas and some cilantro sprouts are shown here. Photo courtesy of Meg McDonald

Radishes mature in as little as 21 days, and there is still a spring window in which to grow these crunchy little gems. 

Also fast are cut-and-come-again lettuces like mesclun. Sow a handful of seeds and wait a couple of weeks for the tiny leaves to reach snippable size for daily salad harvests. Or, planted in rows, leave until maturity to full-size heads in 50-60 days. Sow another crop in a week or two so you have a continuing wave of baby salad greens. 

Arugula is another green that can be harvested as baby leaves very quickly just by snipping them with scissors. 

Garden centers have plenty of veggie starts, so lettuce transplanted now while it is still cool will be mature enough in about two weeks to let you harvest the outer leaves.  

Young kale is delicious and versatile. It can be blanched and frozen when you inevitably have too much. Bok choi and other Asian greens will also mature quickly and are delicious served as small heads and baby leaves.

The rest of your anticipated vegetable bounty — the tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squashes — will need time and the summer heat to reach maturity, so plant them as you can, but enjoy the quick gratification of young salad greens and radishes now. Maybe being stuck at home will feel a bit sweeter.

Quick Crops: Relish the radish

Many of us are looking for ways in which to occupy ourselves and our families as we hunker down during this time of sheltering in place. While we do, what better way to celebrate spring than by planting the seeds of nourishing food? Right now, the quicker those seeds emerge, the better for impatient kids and those of us craving a little encouragement.

French breakfast radishes are shown here. Photo courtesy of Meg McDonald
French breakfast radishes are shown here. Photo courtesy of Meg McDonald

Of all the quick crops, the radish reigns. It’s possible for seeds planted today to give us cute, spicy radishes in three weeks. 

If you have a container, a raised bed with an empty corner, or a bit of healthy soil, plant some radish seeds about one inch apart, covering with a shallow layer of soil. The addition of a little fish fertilizer in the first watering will urge them on. Keep the soil moist, not soggy, and be sure a few hours of sun hit it. Thin seedlings to about three inches apart once they are two inches tall. In a little over three weeks you will have crunchy little additions to your salad.

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