Friday, 23 March 2012

Salad Days: First Salad

Well, it's March and we're nearly a quarter of the way through our 52 Week Salad Challenge! I've seen quite a noticeable shift in the growing season the last couple of weeks. Fresh new leaves like sorrel (reported by @I_Like_Cake) and foraged ransoms (@ediblethings) are coming into production. They're taking our tastebuds away from winter fare and into the tangy new flavours of spring/summer.

There's a marked change in growth too. The peas shoots I sowed at the beginning of the month are now just two weeks behind the ones I sowed a month earlier. And at last I've managed to provide a complete salad for NAH and me, so the 19th March now marks the earliest date ever I've managed to do that.

The picture shows our salad of pea shoots, beansprouts and leek microgreens. @simiansuter was right: the leeks are very strongly flavoured (in short bursts owing to their size) and were a fine contrast to the sweetness of the peas and the earthy beansprouts. Now my next challenge can commence - to provide at least one completely home grown salad for the two of us every week from now on :)

This week also sees a new way of making Salad Challenge contributions: Barbara Segall kindly sent me this picture (NB it's her copyright, so no pinching or pinning thank you) of her pickings this week. In her email she said:

I think your salad challenge is special, but as I don't think my salads, sown last autumn, qualify, I thought I would send you the image anyway. They have overwintered in a raised bed, with a light cover of fleece, which has become ever-lighter as the wind has ripped it. Chervil, oriental salads and uncovered, lambs lettuce, have kept me in in greens... I have also discovered wonderful herb vinegars, mixed with oil that seem to take the heat out of the rocket and mustards, great for friends who find them a bit feisty!

Of course Barbara's salad more than qualifies and I'm glad she got in touch because it shows you don't need a blog or to be on twitter to join in The 52 Week Salad Challenge :)

Over on #saladchat we've been discovering plants suitable for salads which I didn't know were edible. @AlysFowler urged us to try the young shoots of Sedum spectabile, whilst @JanePerrone offered us the possibility of at least 4 edible species of Sedum. @JekkaMcVicar urged caution because some species contain rutin. So I checked the ever useful Plants For a Future database and I'll just be trying S spectabile - its edibility rating is 2 which = reasonably useful - when sufficient shoots have appeared.

Elsewhere @naomislade added orach to my list of salad leaves suitable to sow in March, with @JekkaMcVicar adding she didn't need to use her propagator in the process. @ediblethings offers us the prospect of adding cucumber to the microgreens list and @higgledygarden the possibility of eating cornflowers next month. Oh and @simiansuter chipped in with Mesembryanthemum crystallinum during our chat re Sedum.

Finally, @Jaynethedig asked:

My cavolo Nero is running to seed. Can I eat the flower tips like purple sprouting?

Perhaps you can answer Jayne's question? Update: Jayne reports they were lovely.

So overall it's been a fantastic month for learning new things and real progress has been made in the salad growing stakes. We can look now look forward to much easier times for salad production and a crop of new flavours :)

How have you got on this month? Or perhaps you have some fabulous salad recipes to share like Carl Legge did? Add your links to Mr Linky below. NB Our next Salad Days will be April 27th.


11 comments:

  1. Fascinating to read about sedum spectabile, nice and easy which always appeals. In search of variety I have planted some very exotic looking Italian salad leaves I suspect they will be a tad temperamental, but you don't know until you try! I will let you know

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  2. Orach is a prolific self-seeder; I grew it last year and have noticed the seedlings popping up all over the place. Will transplant quite a few as it has v. pretty red leaves. Watch out for aphids, nice in both veg and flower patch. Atriplex rubra is its latin name, got my first seeds from Ms Raven.
    PS. interested to read your comment above about blogger introducing Captcha - one or two folk have said they can't comment, now I know why!

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  3. I'm hoping for lots of randomly growing rocket this year as I left a plant at the edge of a raised bed to flower and set seed. Hopefully it will pay me back with lots of salad days to come.

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  4. You can EAT Sedums? Crickey, never knew that. Not sure, they look so tasty though, rather squidgy looking. Hmmm, let me know your thoughts post your gastronomic trials....

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  5. BTW we wanted Alt text for images? We have it. I tried it on my current post, but was expecting to see the text as a mouseover. Not.

    http://support.google.com/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&topic=2469780&answer=2494469

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  6. Your first salad looks and sounds great, Barbara's selection of greens make a perfect picture and what inspiration!

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  7. WOW! Lovely pictures!!! LOVE those salad greens.

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  8. Really very late indeed this month - but I got there in the end!

    Your salad looks scrumptious. Mine this month have included pea shoots, radish microgreens, a snippet of fennel and maybe some sorrel if I feel like it, and the not-very-baby leaf spinach I've been nursing through winter. And my first misticanza is very very nearly ready now - let the salad gluts commence!

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  9. Your salad looks fantastic. I still haven't planted any pea shoots (will remedy that today - mizuna too). I had no idea sedum spectabile was edible although its shoots do look rather tasty.

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  10. Woops - though it was the last Friday of every month. Not sure I like the idea of eating sedums, but I shouldn't say that until I try it, as I am constantly telling the kids...

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  11. Clare - look forward to seeing how you get on :)

    Caro - I've yet to try orach, must remedy that...

    SVG - rocket's one of my faves, lovely peppery leaves :)

    OG - I tried one last week - a bit bland and squishy

    EE - I've seen it via Blogger Buzz now, but have yet to try it. Thanks for coming over and letting me know :)

    Andrea and AWJ - thanks!

    TCG - I reckon we'll be showing off loads next month :)

    PM - I see you have loads of salad :)

    Liz - no problem, you can add your posts any time :)

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