The calendar says spring is here and Mother Nature seems to agree. We’ve spent most of our free time this week (when not watching NCAA basketball) prepping the kitchen garden to get it ready for the growing season ahead.
Shoveling compost is not my favorite chore, but this is the time of year to prepare the raised beds for all those seeds and seedlings that soon will be hitting the dirt.
And even though we are still a good two months away from the last frost date in our Growing Zone 5, we already have started enjoying the garden’s bounty.
Let’s take a look at what’s growing in my kitchen garden this early in spring.
We planted spinach in the fall in our little pop-up greenhouse. We harvested enough from the greenhouse for a couple of salads in January (our first ever January harvest!) and took the tent down earlier in the week. As you can see from the photo, it’s almost ready for another cutting . . . and another delicious salad of fresh, tender spinach.
I was introduced to walking onions when my mother-in-law gave us some transplants from her garden. These things are brilliant. Walking onions are a hardy perennial. They “walk” across the ground as they grow by setting bulblets on stalks that fall over and replant themselves. The onion bulbs can be harvested as long as the ground is not frozen, the green onions harvested as they grow, and the green tops used as scallions during the entire growing season.
Walking onions are great for a kitchen garden because they will keep you supplied with onions almost year round. Plant them in a spot that you don’t want to use for anything else anytime soon because they will keep going and going.
Walking onions on Amazon.com (affiliate link):
Chives (and a bonus crocus)
Fresh chives are an early spring favorite for me. I especially like to add chopped chives to scrambled eggs, but they also are great stirred into mashed potatoes, sprinkled into salads, or mixed into popover batter.
Uh-oh. It looks like the crocuses have started to encroach on this bunch of chives.
The garlic we planted in late fall is just starting to peek up through the ground. The bulbs won’t be ready to harvest until around August, but the scapes (the shoots that grow from the top of the plant) should be ready by late May. I like to slice the scapes in quarter-inch pieces and use them in stir-fry dishes.
We started several varieties of lettuce under the grow lights about a month ago and began transplanting them into the garden this week. Lettuce tolerates some frost. Barring any long spells of cold weather, this romaine variety will be ready to eat in a few weeks.
We plant several varieties of lettuce every year, some as transplants and some as seed directly into the ground. We stagger the plantings by a few weeks to ensure a regular supply throughout the growing season. In warm weather, plant lettuce in partially shaded areas of the garden for best results.
A three-egg day!
My egg garden is back to full production after all three hens went on strike in mid-November when they were molting. The first started laying again in mid-February and the other two eventually joined her. Now that the days are getting longer, I’ve already had a few three-egg days. By mid-June, during the longest days of the year, almost every day will be a three-egg day.
And all of the good things to come . . .
What’s in your kitchen garden this March?