First Lunch Courtesy of the Garden

Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

Recently, our meals have been peppered with ingredients gleaned from the gardens; however, today’s lunch is the first that is all garden grown.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Chive Blossoms: A hardy perennial that has been growing for about a decade in a big container on the roof.
  • Lemon Balm: Eat the fresh leaves in the spring. This is a hardy perennial that self seeds all over the community garden.
  • Parsley: From the roof.
  • Pansy petals: Also from the roof.
  • Three types of lettuce: All of which self-seeded in various containers on the roof. I didn’t have to do a thing, although I did transplant a few to the community garden plot.
  • ‘Egyptian Walking Onion’: Just the greens.
  • Borage sprouts: I got this idea from Julianna, who brought a salad to our Saturday afternoon transplant trade/potluck that included borage from her garden. Borage self-seeds like nobody’s business and is coming up like mad right now. why not use the tender, fresh sprouts rather than tossing them in the compost? The first set of true leaves are prickly but the cotyledon leaves are smooth, with a fresh cucumbery taste.
  • Baby kale
  • Purple Mizuna: More on this soon. This is my new favourite edible!
  • Assorted mustard greens
  • Violet leaves and flowers: I have a small patch over at the community garden that is going to expand this year once I add the three additional varieties I have acquired this spring. Eat the young, new leaves and the flowers.
  • Bloody Dock: If you’d like to know more, I wrote an article on spring greens including bloody dock, for Garden Making magazine.
Photo by Gayla Trail  All Rights Reserved

For identification purposes, here’s what the borage seedlings look like. You can also identify them by their cucumber scent. The seedling in the top left corner is anise-hyssop. You can eat that too.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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11 thoughts on “First Lunch Courtesy of the Garden

  1. Beautiful salad! Commence garden grazing. I’m growing some of the above items (lemon balm, anise hyssop and blue borage) b/c of your recs — lots of new interesting things this year.

  2. Ciao Gayla-

    Oh how fun, I just love putting flowers in salads as you know. Yeah, I have a sneaking suspicion that I had a temporary lapse in sanity and composted some of the borage plants last fall because they’re coming up in the brand new beds Duane built for me and were filled almost entirely with our own compost. It’s ok, I’m enjoying the sprouts, but there are certainly a lot of them and they grow fast!

    This is really peak salad-harvesting time right now. I’m impatient to start hardening off the warm-season veggie seedlings, but the brassicas are having a great time and so are the leeks and lettuces.

    If Richters carries seeds for that Bloody Dock, I’m definitely going to pick some up when we take our annual trip over there. I’d like to have lots of it next is good!

  3. I’m a few weeks off a fully-fledged homegrown salad, but thank you for the foraging tips. I’d overlooked the pansy petals and chive flowers – at least I can add those in for now!

  4. Across the pond here..still a bit chilly but my borage seeds have sprouted up at allotment plot. We use the flowers for Pimms… I will let them grow.

  5. I am so jealous – my garden is barely even in the ground yet! I do have those purple onion top flowers and my garlic is doing great (almost scape time) but it has not been warm enough for my cukes and tomatoes to get big enough to put out yet. Hmph. Good job!

  6. That is the most beautiful salad I’ve ever seen! Didn’t know it was possible to eat flowers though. What do they taste like?

  7. Such a pretty spring salad — I’m going to use it as inspiration for combining mesclun, baby kale & violas from my own garden. Wish I’d grown some chives, though.

    I’m looking forward to hearing more about purple mizuna.

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