Seen at The Festival of the Tree

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

Friday, 23 November 2012

Salad Days: Eat to the Beet


I've been surprised how well my beetroot 'Bull's Blood' has kept on growing throughout November despite its lack of protection. We've sampled a few leaves already and as you can see there are a few more ready for picking.

It's got me wondering whether a windowsill crop can be grown over the winter, just like I successfully managed with pea shoots at the start of the year. I did grow some beet for microgreens back then too, but baby leaves would be much better and more substantial. In theory the lack of light over the next few months should make that a 'no', but they're already growing better than expected this month...

...Alys Fowler did an online Q and A session for The Guardian last week , so I posed my question there (scroll down and you'll see I'm there as 'Veep'). Her response was:

You could start them off indoors, harden off and plant out but don't expect to eat anything before March at the earliest. If you hanker after a pink/red micro green I'd try sowing purple oracle or amaranthus red army on your windowsill indoors, much more prolific.

I'll try Alys' suggestions, but I'm going to try the beets just to see what happens. At the very least, I'll have a bumper crop of microgreens, so I've got nothing to lose.

How's your salad growing coming along this month? Mr Linky is set up below for your posts.

12 comments:

  1. It being November, I don't fancy even thinking about baby greens or -reds! Why not have some nice salad NOW, with raw grated beet and cooking apple? Spring will look after itself ..... meaning, when the urge to sow comes, in February, March, I sow.
    Till then, I am much happier eating grated roots or tubers with the perennial apple and, of course, corn salad.
    I.e., winterfood.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Annemieke - NB the challenge is about growing salad leaves. We've found that growing leaves through winter is a great way to add a variety of flavours to the beet and apple you've suggested. So why not have a go?

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  3. VP, I think if you germinated them inside, and moved them to a coolish greenhouse when they had their true leaves, they would just grow like they would in cool spring or autumn. Can't see why they wouldn't. Bulls Blood is really a fine eating leaf isn't it!

    I do think a windowsill inside where it is warm, might not make the leaves taste as good as grown under cooler conditions...unless you have a cool sunny porch.

    Anyway, try the windowsill and let us know how you get on! Please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bren - I love 'Bull's Blood' and seeing NAH hates beetroot but doesn't mind the leaves, baby leaves are what I'll continue to grow :)

      Unfortunately I don't have a greenhouse or cool sunny porch, but will move the pictured leaves into a cold frame when it gets really cold. I've left them out on the patio to get as much light as possible as I think this is a more limiting factor than the cold.

      Warmth makes the leaves softer and theoretically more tasty than leaves grown outside. It'll be interesting to see how cold frame vs windowsill grown leaves fare in the final taste test!

      Delete
  4. What a great post title! And it has to be worth a go. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Janet! It's a great way of using up this season's seed too :)

      Delete
  5. Finally have a short metion of my winter garden up

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  6. Sorry I'm a bit late with my post this month, I'm having problems loading photos, hence the lack of them.

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  7. As Wiltshire’s finest blogger
    You’re firmly on our list
    Of gardeners we’re in love with
    Consider yourself kissed!

    We thought we’d reach out and comment
    Using poetry as our muse
    From all the folks here at Bosch
    We hope it doesn’t fail to amuse

    We’ve been following your blog for a while now
    It’s a great read, we confess
    We’ve taken the leap and now subscribed
    To your feed via RSS

    We love it when you write about your Chippenham life
    Living with your NAH, Jess and Skimble
    Your advice protects us from making gardening faux-pas
    You’re like a horticultural thimble!

    Sustainability is at the top of our list
    We live and breathe green innovation
    From our automotive technology
    To our energy-saving refrigeration

    We loved this post on Salad Days
    Particularly in our home appliances department
    Where they keep beets in their Bosch fridge-freezer
    In the salad crisper compartment

    We enjoyed the Alys Fowler Q&A
    And the veggie questions left
    Some of the answers were quite detailed
    And every one was deft

    But we prefer to rely on VegPlotting
    For our regular source of data
    From how to deal with capsid bugs
    To Malmesbury’s “day of the potater”

    We too are quite eclectic
    Just look at our product range
    Our accessories are also plentiful
    Allowing you to chop and change

    You may have a Bosch garden tool
    Tucked away in your shed
    Used for trimming hedges
    Or perhaps planting a flower-bed

    We also make healthcare systems
    That provide piece of mind that keeps…
    …supporting people across the land
    Remote carers similar to you Veeps!
    We’re constantly striving to innovate
    Much like the recipes in your VeggiePlot
    And for this very reason
    We like to read your blog a lot

    #Saladchat and engineering
    Are often one and the same
    Both rely on Rocket science
    And are dressed in critical acclaim

    But alas the time has come
    To bid farewell to you Michelle
    We’ll pop by again soon
    With more news for you to tell

    But as with the best Lambs Lettuce
    We must soon end our bleats
    Our Romaine Hearts are bleeding
    As they’ve skipped many seasonal beets

    So now we’ve made official contact,
    Lettuce celebrate the friendship we’ve found
    We’ll always be at your side
    (‘Kos Bosch Is All Around)

    Hope you enjoyed that (come on over and say hello on Facebook or Twitter!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Donna and Margaret - thanks I'll be right over :)

    BoschUK

    Dear BoschUK, I'm amazed to find
    You've not only taken the time
    To write me a poem but also you've
    Read lots of detail to prove
    You like what you see and that we
    Might be friends, yippee!

    :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Just came across this 'salad challenge'. Wish I had been participating throughout, bu am looking forward to jumping on board in 2013. Salad greens and related cold season veggies are my favorite crops to grow. Can be quite a challenge here in the dust bowl of North Texas, USA.

    I've had a great year of lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, beets, kohlrabi, dandelions (yes, they're great salad fixings as well), peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers.

    We've had quite the harvest from our backyard garden.

    ReplyDelete
  10. JD - welcome and Happy New year! It'll be great to see you during 2013 :)

    ReplyDelete

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