Think fiber, flavor and nutrients.
Ann Arbor is promoting National Salad Month by encouraging residents to get out and visit the local Farmer's Markets.:
Here's some healthy, home ideas:
Many lettuce varieties are basically easy to grow and do not require chemicals. All you need is a small spot in the yard or a very large container full of organic soil mixed with a little organic mulch. It's recommended that you enclose your garden with chicken wire or some other inexpensive material that will keep the critters out, especially bunnies.
Companion Planting is the act of planting two or more plants together for some beneficial purpose such as pest control, shade, added nutrients to the soil, or to attract beneficial insects to your garden. Plant Allies can help encourage growth, yield and flavor. Enemies are plants that may stunt the growth or otherwise negatively affect neighboring plants.
Grow your own Salad Bowl:
Romaine lettuce is fairly easy to grow and will continue to grow even after you've plucked off leaves for your salads. Companions and allies are carrots, beets, cucumbers, cabbage, radishes and strawberries. Plant lettuce near taller vegetables such as broccoli, tomatoes and beans to shade the lettuce and prevent sun scorch.
Tomato companions and allies are borage (an herb), cabbage and marigolds. Enemies to tomato plants are black walnut tree roots and possibly fennel and potatoes.
Cucumber companions and allies are radishes, broccoli and corn, cabbage and cauliflower. Enemies are potatoes and possibly aromatic herbs.
Salad Herbs that grow back every year, can be planted by seed, and are fairly easy to grow, include: Dill and Chives. Some believe that dill should not be planted near carrots but are good near lettuce and onions. Others believe that chives should not be planted near legumes such as beans and peas. But, they are okay near carrots and tomatoes and may even help fend-off Japanese beetles.
Yummy Salad Options - high in vitamin and mineral content:
Combine lettuce with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers. Add 1 T of each: dill and chives finely chopped. Sprinkle with fresh lemon and extra virgin olive oil.
Another option is to sun-dry your tomatoes in the oven before adding to your salad. The flavor is fantastic. Here's one way to make them:
Halve tomatoes and drain. Place tomatoes on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Place in pre-heated oven (200 degrees F) or (95 degrees C). Bake for several hours until desired consistency.
For some protein and more fiber, add 1 cup of legumes such as garbanzo (chick peas), black beans or black-eyed peas. If you're concerned about BPA in canned foods, these beans can be purchased organic and raw, in a bag. Package directions will show you how to easily prepare them for edible consumption.
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