Spring Salad: Radishes, Peas, Lettuce and Other Early Crops

There’s no doubt that spring has arrived around here.

by Jessica Walliser
Last year's peas

There’s no doubt that spring has arrived around here.  I finally managed to get into the garden and plant some early crops. Namely radish, lettuce, peas, chard and carrots. 

I never liked radish until I started growing my own about 10 years ago. Now I love them.

The store bought ones are like a store bought tomato – yucky. I have always grown Easter Egg, which is a blend of white, pink, red, purple and fuchsia varieties.

It is so beautiful and always made perfect bunches to sell at farmer’s market. I also always grow French Breakfast with their elongated red and white roots. Delicious!

But, this year, I planted a new-to-me variety.

It’s an heirloom called Chinese Red Meat – otherwise known as the watermelon radish.  It has red interior flesh with green skin. I’m told it’s very sweet and crisp in addition to being really attractive in the salad bowl.

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I LOVE to grow different lettuce varieties. I think they look beautiful in the garden and I really enjoy sharing bags of lettuce with neighbors and friends.

I’m growing a wild lettuce blend from High Mowing Seeds this year in addition to my standard varieties of Lolla Rossa, Speckled Trout, Merlot, Deer’s Tongue and many others. My husband thinks I’m nuts planting so much lettuce, but it is so wonderful that I just can’t resist.

The peas I planted are standard sugar snaps and Oregon Sugar Pods plus a few shell peas tossed in for good measure. I can’t be without fresh garden peas in early summer.  I have so many fond/terrible childhood memories of sitting on the back patio with my mother shelling bowl after bowl of peas.

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