Welcome to January's edition of Salad Days: our monthly get together on the fourth Friday each month to see how everyone's getting on with their 52 Week Salad Challenge!
When I kicked off the challenge 3 weeks ago, I didn't expect the enormous reaction I've seen from right across the globe. Many thanks to you who've already started writing your blogposts and tweeting your pictures, experiences and questions using the #saladchat hashtag. I'm really chuffed with everything that's been happening this month :D
You'll find Mr Linky at the end of this post for you to enter all your Salad Days entries. Don't worry if you don't post today, that's why I'm using Mr Linky so that you can add them when you're ready...
As you know the challenge is about growing, foraging and eating salad leaves every week of the year. I've left things flexible so you can design the challenge to suit you. However, I haven't said what I'm aiming to do this year, so in 2012 I will...
- Kick my 4 bags a week bought salad habit by growing my own - at least one bag per week will be replaced by my own fresh produce
- Extend my usual April to October salad cropping season and by the end of the year I will be able to continue growing all my own salad leaves into 2013
- Make better use of the resources I have already - cloches, cold frames, seed sprouting kits, growing trays, horticultural fleece, left over seed packets etc. Reuse/Recycle are also allowed
- Only buy compost, seeds and feed - i.e. I won't be buying a greenhouse or polytunnel to make things easier for me
- Try new techniques and varieties including microgreens, foraging and eating more edible flowers
- Write a blog post about salad every week
Pea shoot at dawn
Over the last few weeks I've learned:
- The challenge is lots of fun and it's been great learning from your experiences and helping wherever I can
- Chickweed and hairy bittercress are surprisingly tasty. So was the carrot top I furtively nibbled whilst out shopping
- There's a surprising amount of greenstuff available in January
- Beansprouts are traditionally sprouted in the dark. In a later post I'll report on my experiments to compare lentils sprouted in the dark and light
- NAH likes sprouted seeds! For someone who only liked peas when I first met him and has a real aversion to roots, this is progress
- Microgreens grown in compost will yield 3 crops, those grown on trays (like my radishes in the first photo) yield just one. Guess which version is sold in the supermarkets
- My houseplants have really perked up since I started watering them with the rinsing water from my sprouted seeds
- Ungerminated and leftover sprouted seeds are great in soups
- I have far too many seeds in my seed tin - at least I can use lots of them up for trendy microgreens (NB don't use parsnips for this as they're toxic - thanks to Mel for asking the question and @simiansuter for tweeting the reminder a couple of weeks ago)
- I can replace at least 1 bag of salad a week with sprouted seeds and microgreens started in January. This bodes well for the rest of the year
Now it's over to you, how are you getting on with the 52 Week Salad Challenge? Leave a link to your blogpost via Mr Linky below. NB the next Salad Days will be on February 24th.
NB You can catch up with all my weekly 52 Week Salad Challenge posts, plus lots more useful links and information re the world of salad leaves on my dedicated 52 Week Salad Challenge page :)
Update: This Mr Linky is for genuine 52 Week Salad Challenge posts and others recommended via #saladchat. It's NOT for links to websites offering gardening services, materials and suchlike. These will be removed as soon as I find them.