Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden - Chinese proverb

Friday, 24 February 2012

Salad Days: Subversive Salad!


Welcome to the second Salad Days - our monthly look at how everyone is getting on with their 52 Week Salad Challenge. You'll find Mr Linky at the end of this post for the links to your blog posts :)

This week salad suddenly got rather subversive. Who knew we could be growing something illegal just by growing mixed leaves? According to Horticulture Week some of the pictured innocent looking packets of seed contravene EU regulations, which bans seeds from more than one vegetable variety in seed packets. Presumably this is so customers know what they're getting and apparently the law has been on the statute book for some time.

Packets containing a mixture of just one species such as various lettuces should be fine. Those with a mixture such as e.g. lettuce, chervil and endive aren't. The regulations don't apply to unregulated seeds (which Sally - who alerted me to the news - thinks it means salad orientals such as pak choi and mustards), so whether a mixture of these plus something like lettuce are OK isn't clear.

Naturally, there was quite an outcry on #saladchat about this, though what changes we'll actually see in our future seed packets remains to be seen. @Simiansuter and I are wondering whether simply packaging each variety separately in the packet (as some companies already do) will get around the regulations.


Elsewhere on the Challenge, a number of us found the colder weather earlier this month affected our success. My chickpeas failed to sprout and went mouldy. I believe the resultant colder water I used to rinse the seeds may have been the culprit as I made sure I kept the jar well away from the window at night.

For my microgreens testing I found the pictured little 'mini greenhouses' I constructed from some left over plastic packaging helped to protect them. However, I did find my coriander seeds were very slow to germinate and are only just getting big enough for the taste test.

Talking of microgreens, Helen found an intriguing new product to test out this month called a 'Sproutapouch', which she's blogged about. You'll find the links to all of her posts below.


@Di_Lew, @Zeb_Bakes and I also had quite a #saladchat about the best way to keep our seeds. I showed off my swanky IKEA tins, though shoe boxes and suchlike proved popular alternatives.

@Zeb_Bakes asked about storage temperature as she'd read in a Joy Larkcom book that seed deteriorates when kept above 50C. Whilst this is true, damp is a greater risk to seeds so I keep mine in the driest, coolest room in the house (my north facing study) with plenty of silica gel pouches in the tin.

Last week I went to Lower Farm to meet Charles Dowding and had an inspiring afternoon there which you can read about next week. My visit coincided with that subtle change in February when suddenly spring seems just around the corner. We put it down to the days lengthening beyond 10 hours and I vowed to get going with salad sowing.

Charles was particularly impressed with the success we've all had on the Challenge in successfully growing peashoots at this time of the year. It's great we've impressed someone we regard as a salad guru, hence my showing off another picture of them above ;)

Note I've moved mine from my south to west facing windowsill owing to the stronger sunshine we've been experiencing lately. Carl, Gwenfar and I had a bit of a #saladchat on whether I'd done the right thing. It seems peashoots might be more sensitive than other salad crops, plus my much bigger windows and keeping them upstairs are factors to consider on whether you need to move yours.

All that remains is for me to leave you with Mr Linky so you can add your Salad Challenge posts and have a good read of what everyone else has been up to this month. Our next Salad Days will be be on March 23rd.


17 comments:

  1. All this talk of sprouts has left me inspired. Bought some mung bean seed today. We'll see how I get on.

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  2. This has arrived in time for lunch, So I can have a good read!

    I have to confess that I only got 3 weeks of salad in this month, so have eaten salad every lunchtime this week to make up for it. The bonus is I have weeded all the raised beds in the process. Can't find any chickweed though, the Netherlands must not be favourable for it.

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  3. I've managed to put a salad together but only just. That extended heavy frost period did a lot of damage in my potager and greenhouse. Strangely most of my sturdy veg plants croaked it but most of my lettuce is doing fine.

    XX Yolanda

    OT My brother is doing fine, he was released from hospital after a few days. We are waiting for the last test results as we still don't know what made him so ill.

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  4. What a great selection of posts again - and as you know I'm very much looking forward to your post about your visit to Charles :D

    I'll keep you updated on the mixed salad seeds story - I should be looking into it more during March so might clear a little of the fog away.

    Wrote up my trial of microgreens for the Crocus Kitchen Garden Blog and I'm halfway through a post about lettuces for CG so I'll pop that into Mr Linky once I've found out what the difference is between Cos and Romaine (all will become clear....)

    Greenhouse full of seedlings here but still no proper salad - don't count microgreens as they're garnish-salad in my book (am in need of some big leafy veg!). Do wish I'd got organised last September....!!

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  5. Love the 52 Week Salad Challenge!
    Thanks for hosting!
    Lea
    Lea's Menagerie
    Mississippi, USA

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  6. Interesting law that we do not have in the US as far as I know. My post is a mix of things including how my salad growing is going so I will link in Monday when I post..can't wait to get outside in another 4-6 weeks to start planting in the garden.

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  7. Hi, came across your great blog via LIZ @thesuburbantomato,
    and have been some what inspired to join in(who wouldn't).
    We are at the end of our summer so there have been lots of salads over the last few months. The challenge to grow salad or harvest it from the wild for 52 weeks........... see you next month.

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  8. I just came across a link to this challenge. I've been attempting to keep myself stocked with greens year-round for the past couple of years, so this is a good way to document it! PS It's summer here in NZ so it's easy at the moment. I've got sorrel seedlings to put in which will hopefully see me through most of winter.

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  9. Hi everyone - I'll come over to see what you're all up to salad wise if I haven't already.

    Andrea & Ruth - welcome to my blog as well as the Challenge! I look forward to seeing what you get up to.

    Donna - looking forward to visiting your post tomorrow :)

    BTW we now have people from the UK, USA, France, Holland, Japan, Australia and New Zealand taking part. That makes me very happy :)

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  10. I can't wait to read about your meeting with Charles Dowding.

    As for the salad challenge - I'm still cheating here in the Preseli Hills (as in merely harvesting and watering, not actually growing) but I have plans...!

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  11. Have a combo post where I highlight my salad growing...happy to link in this month!!

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  12. Preseli Mags - I don't think you're cheating at all! I'm just writing up my notes on my Charles Dowding visit :)

    Donna - thanks for joining the challenge!

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  13. I wonder what the bureaucrats in Brussels will come up with next! I'm afraid I seem to have faffed about in February so will miss this month out but will be reading about what everyone else is up to. Looking forward to reading about your meeting with Charles Dowding.

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  14. Anna - I hope you'll be able to join in next month :)

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  15. I'm excited about joining you all in the salad challenge. We have been eating greens from our own plantings quite faithfully all winter long. This is my first year to do a cold greenhouse. LOVING it!

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  16. Oooops! Sorry. Is there a way to delete a linky? I posted twice. 38 and 39

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  17. Hi Angela - how different your garden's looking from last month. Yes, luckily Mr Linky has an edit function :)

    Thanks for joining us!

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