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Kitchen Gardening

Beyond the Basic Greens

If your salad bowl just isn’t exciting enough, grow these unusual options

Fine Gardening - Issue 162

Fresh-picked salad greens are among the most rewarding vegetables that a gardener can grow. What else yields tasty baby leaves in just 30 days from a few seeds sown in a container or an empty corner in the garden? The salads of my youth were simple: lettuce, tomatoes, and maybe some cucumber slices or grated carrots. These days, seed catalogs offer a tasty, tantalizing cornucopia of new possibilities. There are heat-tolerant greens that produce through the “dog days of summer,” when temperatures soar above 90°F, and there are also cold-hardy varieties that bring diversity to the winter table. So you can look forward to eating fresh salad every day.

I still grow a variety of lettuces year-round in my garden, but it is the unusual greens that add the diversity in taste, color, and texture that I crave. If you are ready to explore new looks and tastes beyond lettuces, spinach,…

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