Salads for Awkward Situations #1: Drought
Nasturtiums on my allotment last year
As the awaited hosepipe ban came into force for much of eastern and southern England yesterday, and with other parts of the country probably set to follow suit, I thought it'd be a good idea to look at which salad crops (both leaves and supplements) stand up to less watering.
The selection for your delectation (in no particular order) is:
- Edible flowers such as nasturtiums, marigolds and violas - I've decided to keep my winter potted violas growing over the summer to see how they do, both drought and salad-wise. Nasturtiums are already a firm summer salad favourite with NAH and me :)
- Beetroot - I grow 'Bull's blood' for its leaves and they're delicious
- Spinach - I love these grown as baby leaves
- Carrots - not forgetting their leaves are edible too!
- Peas - pea shoots have become a firm favourite and I can vouch for their drought tolerant capabilities - I haven't been that good at watering my windowsill crops :o
- Chard - I'm not so struck on this so far, so will be giving it a miss
- Kale - one I'm going to try as it looks a good option for the winter
- Don't forget Mediterranean herbs such as sage, oregano and marjoram - they'll add a flavoursome boost to salad dressings too
- Add your choice of salad crop which you've found does well with little water - and tell me about it in the Comments below :)
So, even in the driest of gardens - whether you have a sandy soil or are in drought conditions - it's still possible to grow a good variety of salad items :)
If the dry weather continues, it's a good idea to pick salad leaves when young, as older leaves may be a bit tougher than usual. This will also encourage the plant to continue to produce leaves.
NB If you're in a hosepipe ban area, check your water authority's restrictions to see how it applies to you e.g. using a drip or trickle irrigation system is fine at the time of writing (except in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) and anyone with severe mobility problems who's a blue badge holder may still be allowed to use a hosepipe.
The Horticultural Trades Association's website has links to all the water companies imposing hosepipe bans as well as one to the Environment Agency's website for the most up to date information. They're also providing advice for growers, retailers and landscapers, plus a downloadable poster aimed at ordinary people like me.
In later posts, I'll be looking at other awkward garden situations e.g. shade. I'll show you it's possible to grow salads for the 52 Week Salad Challenge irrespective of the type of garden you have, it's situation, or the weather :)