The Garden at 485 Elm
People growing together:
a collaborative community garden in Montpelier, Vermont

Early garden food

Most of our garden crops are barely peeking out of the ground—tiny peas vines, baby bean plants, onion seedlings, and lovely little lettuce infants.

Not yet. To keep the harvest growing and share among our many households, we don’t harvest heads or pull out whole plants. Instead, we pick the outer leaves from head lettuces and let the plant continue to produce. With mesclun mixes, we use scissors to give the plants a “haircut” into bags, baskets, or bowls (a lot of eating happens right in the garden).

So, what’s ready to eat this early? Self-seeding and perennial plants, that’s what.

Want salad? This lemony, delicious French sorrel comes back season after season. It’s among the first crops ready to harvest, and among the last to quit when fall turns to frost and beyond. The tender but sturdy leaves hold up well in stir-fries and soups, too.
What’s a salad (or soup or stir-fry) without onions? Nothing, that’s what. These perennial walking onions were a gift from another local community garden, and they greet us tastily every spring. Gardeners snip off some of the tops and use them like scallions. We leave some tops behind to grow seed heads that eventually tip or walk over to start a new plant. They’re in this box to keep them from walking all over the garden.
These young spring garlic chives are tender and delicious raw or cooked.
Foxley thyme and Greek oregano are coming back. Other herbs that might appear include marjoram, lavender, and rosemary, though we usually end up planting more. We also have a healthy box of lemon balm that keeps some gardeners in calming, aromatic tea all winter long.

Memorial Day weekend harvest: thyme, oregano, garlic chives, lemon balm, and French sorrel.