The Edible Garden – It’s harvest time, it’s harvest time

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Now that your beautiful spring garden is growing, it’s time to get harvesting. While your leafy greens are still tender and young, you need to get in there and harvest every single day. These are the best salads you've ever had hands down!

The right tools for the job
Usually in gardening you want to have special shears, trowels and other specialty tools. All you need to harvest from your spring garden though is a nice sharp knife or a pair of scissors, plus a big beautiful salad bowl to fill with delectable greens. You can even go out with just the salad bowl, and break off leaves with your fingers.

What’s ready to harvest
Find the biggest outer leaves from each one of the spring plants growing in your garden. You can have several kinds of lettuce, spinach, bok choy and other Asian greens, kale, Swiss chard. Even tender pea shoots, onion and garlic greens make an excellent addition to spring salads. Don’t forget the herbs! Add chive flowers and parsley.

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How to harvest
Take your knife or scissors, and carefully snip a couple of the larger outer leaves from each lettuce, spinach, kale or chard plant and add them to your bowl. Make sure to cut the leaf right at the bottom where it meets the stem. The smaller inner leaves will continue to grow and you’ll get a continual harvest!

Other ways to harvest
For lettuces you can also cut the whole plant about an inch above the soil for a “cut and come again” method – but you will have to wait about 3 weeks for your next head of lettuce. For bok choy, chop off the top third of the plant – one or two sections. The leaves, stems and flowers are equally delicious. Snip the top 3 or 4 inches off of garlic, onion and chive greens.

Recipe ideas
Bring your fresh cut spring salad into the kitchen, rinse of any soil and cut or rip the leaves into bite-sized pieces. I like to toss the salad with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice, or olive oil and balsamic vinegar reduction. Be creative and add nuts or berries, shaved Parmesan, bits of charcuterie. Or even, just eat as is. The taste and texture of your fresh-picked garden salad will be unlike anything that you can find at the store.

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Writer Byline: Tereska Gesing is the owner of Urban Seedling [www.urbanseedling.com], an edible landscaping and vegetable gardening service in Montreal. She grows 65 different kinds of vegetables, berries and fruit trees with her husband and two young children in her Verdun backyard. Find out more at www.urbanseedling.com