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Year of the Salad Greens

The National Garden Bureau has declared 2022 the Year of the Salad Greens. These leafy plants popular in salads and on sandwiches were once thought to be aphrodisiacs.

Images of salad greens have been portrayed with fertility gods in ancient Egyptian and even some of Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings. By the 1500’s raw leafy vegetables covered in oil were included in the Roman diet.

Most salad greens we grow and eat thrive in cooler temperatures of 50 to 75 degrees. When temperatures rise, cool weather greens bolt, sending up flower stalks, and the flavor usually deteriorates. Remove the plants or leave the seeds for the birds. Mask their unsightly appearance by planting cosmos seeds along with the greens. The cosmos will mask the declining greens and attract bees, butterflies, and birds.

A bit more information: Salad greens are members of several different plant families. Lettuce, chicory, and dandelions belong to the Aster family. The central and western Asian native spinach is a relative of amaranth. The spicy and strong flavors of arugula, kale and mustard greens are reminiscent of their cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts’ relatives.

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