Frosty Spring Salad

by Daisy on 04/01/2013

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I’m in our local Master Gardener training class this year.  Class meets once a week for three hours, and we gardeners can get hungry during that time, so we have a mid-class lunch break.  It’s a little early for lunch, but somehow that never occurs to our appetites.  We take turns bringing a dish and there is always something tasty on the menu.

For my turn, I wanted to bring a fresh garden salad.  The only thing in our garden now, really, is salad greens, but they’re looking good.  I planted them last fall and they’ve weathered the frost and snow and wind remarkably well.  It amazes me every winter, but it’s great how easy it is to have fresh salad all winter long.

Like most of the US and elsewhere, we’ve had a cold Spring.  Temps below freezing every night this week.  But every morning once the sun comes over the treeline to the east, the frosty leaves begin to thaw.


The first time it frosted and before this de-frost thing happened, a few years ago when I had my first Fall garden, I almost had a panic attack.  The second time this happened, I almost had a panic attack.  The third time this happened, . . .

It’s really hard to believe those tender leaves, beautifully red or green or green-tinged-with-red-speckles, have the ability to bounce back from being frozen.  I still breathe a sigh of relief when it happens, even though I well know they will be fine.


As for the salad, every leaf was consumed.

I think this variety is Lollo Rossa. It’s so beautiful.

This Fall, I intend to go even bigger, growing overwintering greens and other veg in as many beds as I can. Every year I find new things that can take the cold.  As a plus, here it gets hot and humid and buggy so fast, starting in the Fall lets us have a few of the cool season Spring veg it ordinarily gets too hot too soon for, like snow peas and carrots.

Anybody eating fresh salad yet?



{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Cinnamon Vogue April 1, 2013 at 10:35 am

Salads, how lovely. How about giving us few salad recipes with these salad leaves? You know something unusual without the usual cheese and what not. Just a simple recipes like with balsamic Vinegar or something like that. My mother has a lovely salad dressing with balsamic vinegera and some other stuff, but she just refuses to give us the recipe. I think that’s her way of getting the family to come over because everybody thinks it is fantastic. And give us a list of over wintering greens.

Daisy April 1, 2013 at 12:39 pm

CV–Good suggestions, I’ll work on that. Thanks!
P.S. Your Mom sounds very wise.

Cinnamon Vogue April 1, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Daisy perhaps Mom is too wise. LOL. She is wicked. But the salad keeps us coming back. She says she will write the recipe in the will.:-)

Colleen Anderson April 2, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Fresh salad? Oh my, yes. Here in Phoenix, we’re almost too warm for growing lettuce at this point!

Alice Merchant April 6, 2013 at 7:51 am

I just love the thought of fresh leafy salads after this old fashioned snowy winter here in Maine.
What types of greens and “reds” are pictured that are so hearty?
I know that kale is pretty hearty and one of the best Greek salads I ever had was prepared by my Dad using kale.
Take care.

Lisa April 6, 2013 at 8:55 am

No fresh salads just yet. I see some old lettuce came back after I dug it under, and it’s big enough to harvest, but only fit for the Guinea pig!
I too am amazed the lettuce can be so fragile, yet come out of a solid frozen state like it was nothing.

Portia McCracken April 6, 2013 at 9:25 am

Hope you enjoy Master Gardeners. I went through the classes and practiced in both Wash. State and N.C. It’s a great program.

Barbara April 6, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Okay….okay….quit rubbing it in. No I haven’t had fresh salad yet. But….there is hope! I’m with Cinnamon Vogue….please shoot us a list of the wintering greens you’ve planted and like the best…..then I’ll have my own next year and won’t be so jealous!!! 🙂

Nathan April 8, 2013 at 5:05 am

We usually overwinter some kale and they look gorgeous right now. The leaves are almost too pretty to eat sporting hues of turquoise, pinks and lavenders. It is amazing what will survive through the frosty weather.

Nik April 8, 2013 at 7:18 am

Here in Cleveland Ohio it’s just now getting the point where the salad seedlings are coming up….weather has been fridgid this year and just when I think we are okay to start planting more cold season crops we get another 3 inches of snow….hopefully tho the 40s are staying and the snow is gone!! My goal this year is to get one of my raised beds to turn into a cold frame for the winter, removed for summer. The kids would love to have fresh salad and radish year round! Your lettuce is gorgeous, I am so jealous….enjoy!!

Handful April 10, 2013 at 10:10 am

I am with Nik here in NW Ohio. We worked the garden the last few days and I hope to plant soon. It was 81 yesterday ( tied our record high) and will be in the 30s this weekend. :/ Plants started indoors. My kale did not overwinter. Is it just too cold here?

Nik April 10, 2013 at 11:00 am

This weather is insane. Last year we had a beautiful winter, this year it’s like winter just won’t let go!! We always say you can go swimming today and sledding tomorrow in Cleveland….this year has been no exception, lol. Hope your gardening goes well this year, ours is off to a tough start – the rains today are washing all the little seeds away and the seedlings are drowning, then we saw a squirrel digging up the peas – hope this isn’t a sign of things to come!

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