A highlight of the winter garden

claytonia 110113I’ve had a lot of fun harvesting salad greens this far into December. Combining all the different crops to make dinner salads this year has been a real treat. A snip of this, another of that, etc. has left us bewildered at how great these cold hardy crops really are. At last count I have 24 different crops still growing under the greenhouse. And we’ve had a lot of snow and freezing weather to go along with it. With the exception of some lettuce that I let get to big before harvesting, everything is alive and doing well. After a freeze or two those larger leaves of lettuce just turn to mush. I should have started harvesting these lettuce leaves at the smaller stages. Right now my garden is a refrigerator-keeping our food in a cool climate until we’re ready to eat it. One of the biggest and best tasting of the new cool weather crops is pictured here-claytonia. Also known as miners lettuce, it’s a prolific and heavy crop. We’ve been able to not only add this to the regular mesclun salad mixes that I put together, but I’ve also been able to cut some of it and lay it on top of a fancy chicken dish for a garnish. Nobody knew what it was but they all loved it. They also couldn’t believe that I cut it a few minutes before dinner. If you’ve never tried this, keep it in mind for next fall and winter as it will not grow in the warmer weather.

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