Slim Pickins: How to Make a Lot Out of a Little

red, pink and yellow beets artfully arranged on a wooden cutting board

Spring is a terrible tease of a season. The snow has melted, the sun has emerged, and my brain starts thinking summer. My mind starts going tomato! My soul cries out eggplant! But the dirt? The dirt, she’s still busy planning the party. 

This time of year usually has me staring into a handful of newborn radishes, a precious few snips of arugula or some nubile leaves of chard. While the glutton in me prefers the overabundance of late summer, the gardener in me is the most thankful in spring. This season that falls between the cracks means it’s time to get creative.

Plant a Garden

You don’t need acreage or mad skills to get growing. All you need is some counter space and a dream.

Microgreens—Densely seed a small patch of dirt specifically for quick growing. Kale, chard, Asian greens, herbs.

Countertop Systems—Compact and surefire. No shame in ease; I have a massive kitchen garden and an AeroGarden. 

Edible Hudson Valley Spring 2017—If a real garden is on your mind, read my feature that goes over the prep work at length.

RELATED: From the Archive: The Kitchen Garden: Our Spring Favorites

Eat What There Is

Be thankful for what is and get creative about eating what’s local and available. 

The Thinnings—Use all the naughty bits: stems, leaves, peel, tops, tendrils, baby bulbs.

Winter Storage—Winter veggies are still your mainstay for another couple of months. Celeriac and butternut squash are at their most decadent after long, careful storage.

Forage—Local, wild delights are the stars of the season. Look for ramps, fiddlehead ferns and morels.