It’s 7 a.m and I am on Dartmoor, getting my morning hit of cool, peat scented air and tramping over a slippery mosaic of wind swept leaves and debris. The storm has passed, leaving the soil wet and cold in my Kitchen Garden and yet, despite high winds and days of rain, the salad crops both in the ground and in the greenhouse are simply astounding.
In the summer, Lettuce and salad crops are just so easy to grow that a bowl of mixed leaves from your garden will barely be noticed. But serving baby leaves from your garden in the Winter grabs everyone’s attention .
Crops like ‘Winter Density’ Lettuce, Lamb’s Lettuce and Land Cress will survive outdoors without any protection. Many of the Summer herbs keep throwing up little shoots which can add real spice and flavour to your Winter salads. But if you have a greenhouse, conservatory, or sunny windowsill or are prepared to cover your crops when the temperatures plummet, then you can grow the most fabulous leaves.
SALAD LEAVES TO PICK NOW
SALAD LEAVES TO SOW NOW (Ready in 20-30 days)
It is not too late to plant salad leaves in England now. Try sowing Thompson and Morgan Salad Leaves- ‘Bright and Spicy’, their Lettuce leaves ‘Mixed’, or Mr Fothergill’s ‘Wrinkled Crinkled’ Cress. You can even grow the cress on moist kitchen roll, a great way to introduce children to the joy of growing. ALL of these will grow on a sunny window sill or under glass. Why not try it this weekend?
Anything beats supermarket bagged salad leaves!!!
The difference between these baby leaves and the contents of those damp bags of limp salad is incredible! Picking fresh is so economical too, I would not like to count how many of those bags get thrown away when they are found fusty and slimy in the fridge.