My husband built a salad table one Saturday afternoon this past spring. He followed the plans for the Salad Table from the Grow It Eat It Network. He built it from wood piled in our garage. After he completed it, we had a little more space in our garage and a mini plot on our deck. A variety of crops grew in our salad table this year. In early summer, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, green leaf lettuce and arugula grew in it. My son helped me pick the tender leaves. The table is the perfect height for him to reach and pick without bending over or standing on his toes. We ate lots of mixed salads and swiss chard this summer. I sautéed the swiss chard in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper then tossed with pasta. Swiss chard is good in minestrone soup, too.
The fall crops are now growing in the salad table. Recently, this wild fennel shoot popped up unexpectedly. I learned that wild fennel can be an invasive plant. It does not have the celery-like stem of sweet fennel. Its delicate leaves have a strong anise or licorice flavor. Clippings of fennel leaves in a salad are a happy surprise to taste buds. Along with the wild fennel there is spinach, radishes and two mystery greens growing in the table. The mystery greens are transplants from my husband’s coworker. Our mini plot’s first growing season was a success. It grew some gregarious greens!