Whether you’ve got a green thumb and it’s itching to get into the garden already, or you’ve just always wanted to be at one with Mother Nature, there’s nothing like enjoying the fruits of your labour. That means getting your butt outside and growing your very own herbs and veggies so you can eat them. Impossible, you scoff? You got this. All you need are a few hot spring gardening tips from an expert. At Jackson-Triggs Estate Winery, Chef Tim grows his own herbs and vegetables in the kitchen’s garden, and uses these fresh ingredients to create flavourful dishes that pair so well with wine.
Read his top vegetable gardening tips that feature veggies you can eat from root to tip—including a spring radish salad recipe that’s to drool for. Read on so that all your dirty work goes rewarded.
1. Think Turnover
Plant vegetables that turn over quickly, such as radish and fresh herbs. This will allow you 2-3 plantings per summer.
2. Time it Right
Pick root vegetables, like beets, when they are small. Keep in mind that large leaves can be bitter, but using them when they’re young means the leaves will be tender and full of flavour.
3. Consider What’s First
Radish, baby greens, beets, and herbs are best planted in the springtime so stock up on those now and get out there.
4. Space it Out
In your planting excitement, don’t make the mistake of crowding everything in. Instead, be sure to allow enough space between vegetables. This allows them to spread their roots and grow properly.
5. Wash Smart
When cleaning garden-grown vegetables, don’t forget to wash the dirt toward the leaves. This ensures that small dirt particles don’t get lodged in the small creases in the vegetable’s skin.
6. Wait Until the Last Minute
You may like your veggies cold but you should really try not to refrigerate your fresh garden vegetables—as doing so mutes the flavour. Instead, pick herbs and veggies just before using.
THE FRESHEST SPRING SALAD RECIPE
Radishes are fast-growing, with the seed germinating in three or four days and the crop maturing in three to four weeks. Appreciated for their crisp texture and mild, tangy and sometimes peppery flavour, radishes are great in salads like this one. Oh and by the way, this is what we call a ‘root to tip’ recipe. Why? Not only are these vegetables easy to grow, but they also go the extra mile since every part is edible from root to tip. Now how’s that for return on investment?
Root to Tip Radish Salad with Warm Butter Vinaigrette
PAIR IT WITH: Jackson-Triggs Reserve Riesling Gewurztraminer VQA.
WHAT YOU NEED
- 10-12 radishes with their greens attached
- 6 cups baby arugula
- 6 cups baby kale
- 1 bunch basil (green or purple)
- 1 bunch chives
- 1/2 cup warm butter vinaigrette (recipe below)
- Salt and pepper to taste
WHAT YOU DO
1. Cut the radish greens from the root, rinse and place the greens into a large bowl with the arugula and kale.
2. Slice the radish root very thinly, preferably using a mandolin.
3. Gently pick the basil leaves and slice the chives very finely.
4. Toss the greens with sliced radish and herbs.
5. Add the warm butter vinaigrette to the greens and mix well.
6. Season the salad with salt and pepper to taste.
Warm Butter Vinaigrette
WHAT YOU NEED
- 1/4 cup salted butter
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp truffle oil, optional
- 2 tsp truffle paste, optional
WHAT YOU DO
1. Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat.
2. Once melted, whisk in white wine vinegar, mustard and honey.
3. Add truffle oil and truffle paste.
4. Drizzle warm dressing onto salad.