Seen at the Festival of the Tree

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

Friday, 27 December 2013

Salad Days: Food for Thought



When I started the 52 Week Salad Challenge 2 years ago it was because I was horrified at the proportional cost of our weekly bagged salad fix, when compared with the price of the likes of top quality steak. In the video above (click here to view if the embedded version doesn't work) Jane Perrone explains this consumption has surprising  political (to me anyway) as well as economic implications. Some food for thought going into 2014...

Green salad from the cold frames
...December's mild weather means my under cover salad has continued to crop well. It's been interesting to note how the cos type lettuces ('Intred' in particular) are standing well in comparison to their looser leaved cousins. 'Salad bowl' has disappeared completely under its protective fleece and some of the 'Marveille de Quatre Saisons' have rotted off at soil level.

A spot of sunshine last week meant I was able to give everything a good airing and clear away any mushy leaves, which will help to keep things going. I have leaves to last into January and then the cores will be left to recover for early spring pickings. I can also see that the plants picked earlier in the autumn are healthier. Perhaps their being closer to the soil, plus the greater airflow around the plants has left them better prepared to meet winter's chills.

Refreshing the allotment leaves
A few nights of frost have started a real change to the radicchio up at the allotment - from a red freckled green to its characteristic deep crimson winter heart. I must remember to take my camera next time, so I can show you. One surprise is I'm still picking the unprotected buckler leaf sorrel and 'Green in snow' mustard. Their touch of citrus and heat respectively are helping to enliven our taste buds at tea time.

How's your salad faring this winter? There's no Mr Linky this month, unless there's plenty of salad to report. If you leave details of your salad related post in the Comments, I'll add a full link to this post.

Elsewhere on the salad front...



14 comments:

  1. No salad leaves now, but I have a post about onions if you want to link it up.
    http://leasmenagerie.blogspot.com/2013/12/new-onions-from-old-december-27-2013.html
    Thanks for hosting this very interesting conversation on salads
    Have a great week-end!
    Lea

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  2. An interesting video. thanks for sharing it. It's great to do your own, to get the variety that supermarkets dont provide. (not that i can take any credit for the planning/growing)

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    1. Quite right re the variety compared to the supermarkets.

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  3. Enjoyed the video VP. One of my new year's resolutions is to nibble some hairy bittercress :)

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    1. Plenty here if you need some Anna - shall I post you some? ;)

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  4. I'm making a salad related New Year's resolution. I did dismally this year. "Green in Snow" sounds wonderful, I shall definitely look out for that one.

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    1. We started off at the New Year 2 years ago CJ. I thought it was the worst time to start, but actually being able to do something gardeny in January was wonderful. There's plenty of ideas of what you can do this month on my 52 week salad challenge page, if you need them.

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  5. I'm really impressed by your salad project. I should be more adventurous - and solicitous, given the slug and bird activity. We're eating mizuna, rocket, beetroot leaves, red mustard, parsley,chard, and the endive will be ready soon - if I manage to get round to blanching it. All out in the open, and not a single frost here yet.

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    1. It sounds like you're doing just fine Colleen :)

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  6. Pre-Christmas gales did their best to wreck my salad protection, the plastic bubble-cloches blew off, a sheet of polycarbonate was pushed out of the growhouse, pots on my 'extremely sheltered' shelf were tumbled about like nine-pins and I had to wedge the five tier plastic mini-greenhouse with a ladder, to stop it toppling off the balcony!
    However, my fifth floor plot is thankfully above the tree line, so we didn't get any felled trees as you had to deal with. But inspite of all that we still managed to enjoy a Christmas day salad of distinction. Salad bowl lettuce, wild celery leaves, parsley, sage and the last six tomatoes from my autumn harvest. I picked them green about a week before Christmas and left them to ripen on a shady windowsill in the kitchen. The secret, if there is one, is that we don't seem to get frosts in central London until after Christmas thee days. I registered a ground frost in mid November, and that has been it. Plus two degrees is about the lowest my outside thermometer has dipped to. So my very inadequate protection has been able to preserve the salads. http://coffeeinthesquare.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83509731f69e201a50ff0cec9970c-popup will I hope reveal the image of our Christmas salad and http://www.rooftopvegplot.com/2012/12/how-to-grow-salads-all-year-round.html will bring up my December knowhow article on winter salads. On January 1st 2014 I shall be commencing a blog on rooftopvegplot.com, about my experiences of growing veg on the roof-top of my London home. I hope you can join me there sometime!

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    1. Looking forward to your posts this year Wendy :)

      And lovely to see you commenting on here - thanks for your previous emails.

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  7. Must admit we don;t really grow much in the way of winter salad but that is really because we tend not to eat salads in winter.

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    1. We're year-round salad people Sue, so it makes sense for us. It's been quite a challenge to do it without a greenhouse or polytunnel though!

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