First Garden Salad 2012!

Today I picked my first lettuce from the garden – red leaf and romaine.  Can you believe that – in Ontario Canada?

Lettuce in Cold Frame -March

I planted that lettuce last fall in one of my raised ‘Kitchen Garden’ beds, tending it while it  slowly grew throughout the fall.  Before frost hit, I covered it with an old window making it a ‘cold frame’, hopefully protecting it.  Growth seemed to stop around November and by that time it was too darn cold to keep on checking – I knew I wasn’t going to eat THAT lettuce this fall!   Even though winter here in the great white north was ‘milder’ with a meter less snow this year, temperatures still stayed well below 0 degrees Celsius  (32F) for a few months.  However when the snow melted and I lifted off the glass covering the cold frame in late March, there were little lettuce plants growing!  I’ve been faithfully tending this small patch for the last month, putting on the glass on cold days and below freezing nights and propping it open or taking it off altogether on warm, sunny days.  It just kept growing and last week I added leaf lettuce seed in the bare spots.


First Salad


I had a craving for a salad  today……so I marched straight outside to my garden and picked a some leaves off the outside of a few lettuce plants – just enough for a bowl of salad.  I sprinkled some trail mix on top and grated alot of ‘old’ cheddar cheese into it.   I topped it off with my own homemade Italian Dressing.   YUMMY!

Italian Salad Dressing Recipe:

Mix all together in a glass jar:

1 -1/3 cup Oil

1/2 cup Vinegar

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons Salt

1 teaspoon Celery Seed

1/2 teaspoon Pepper

1/2 teaspoon Dry Mustard

1/4 teaspoon Paprika

1 clove Garlic, minced

Let it stand in the fridge for at least a day to blend all the flavours together.  Keep refrigerated.  Shake well before using.  Enjoy!

I’ve never had lettuce from my garden this early before!   About 15 years ago, I overwintered Parsnips right in my garden (just like my Uncle Aubrey told me to – Parsnips need frost to ‘sweeten’ it).   I dug 5 five gallon buckets full as soon as the ground was unfrozen – about the end of March.  I gave most of it away at the time since we couldn’t possible eat THAT much parsnip in the spring.

I’ve always been interested in extending my gardening season with more cold frames and even a little greenhouse some day.  However, with this one cold frame, small scale, it’s been very enjoyable…….. and so was the salad!



8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Fred Schueler
    May 10, 2012 @ 11:43:32

    Ah, what wimps domesticated annual vegetables are – we’ve been eating our Dandelion/Violet/Catnip/Chives salads for weeks now. You’ve got to go perennial if you want early spring salads


  2. Caroline Liberty
    May 10, 2012 @ 17:05:36

    I’m jelous!


  3. Anita Broenink
    May 17, 2012 @ 08:35:17

    Oh that does sound good! I have the perfect place for one and the window too – just need to get to it!


    • grammomsblog
      May 17, 2012 @ 08:40:26

      You can start some lettuce in late August in the frame without the glass and then just put it on when the weather gets colder at then end of September….and enjoy greens all fall!


  4. Lili@creativesavv
    May 26, 2012 @ 09:32:30

    I started lettuce under row covers this spring. It’s now just about big enough to pick. In the fall, I left the row cover up (just got lazy, it wasn’t part of a plan to garden over winter). This spring when I went out there I had 3 lettuce plants, some spinach and chard good enough to harvest! It was the big excitement of my day when I found those plants there!


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