Salad Days: New Perennials, Winter Survivors and Early Flowers
|This is my 'holding area' in the side garden of plants awaiting the right space up at the plot|
This year, I've decided to have more perennial salads in the garden/allotment. This is partly inspired by Martin Crawford's book which I reviewed last year and partly though donations I've had from Naomi.
I went to stay with her in early February and she kindly let me loose in her polytunnel to come away with some welsh onions (left), mitsuba aka Japanese parsley (the reddish leaves at the top) and Cardamine raphanifolia (the cressy looking plant on the right, which Naomi describes as 'totally bombproof'). She tells me the latter two came from Edulis if you're interested. I see they both like moist, shady areas, so I'll be locating them next to my wasabi* up at the allotment.
These were plonked in the pictured 'holding bed' at the side of our house awaiting space in one of the raised beds up at the allotment. Their transfer is imminent and whilst I've left them to bulk up ready for their new home over the past 3 months, there's been enough growth in our mild winter for us to nibble on a few leaves and deem them worthy for our salads.
I tried to grow some Agastache from seed last year and failed spectacularly, so I have some plugs on order. These perennials are earmarked for one of the terrace beds in the garden. They're a great plant for bees and their leaves are edible, so they'll be great for our salads too.
* = which has settled very nicely into its new home under the apple trees.
Winter survivors and early flowers
Despite the mild winter I've only just taken off the fleece and cloches from the allotment salads. It's been interesting to see what's fared well over the winter on the lettuce front. The more upstanding cos types like 'Lobjoits' and 'Intred' are very perky, but the looser leaves such as 'Marveille de Quatre Saison' and oak leafed varieties seem to have melted away.
This might be due to the winter wet and resultant lack of airing and it'll be interesting to see if the results are the same next winter. However, we still have plenty of leaves to tide us over until my recent sowings grow large enough for picking.
Another result of the mild winter is the much earlier than usual prevalance of flowers on the mustard, rocket and land cress plants as they've decided it's time to bolt. We're munching on these flowers in our salads as fast as we can, but the pictured rocket is far too prolific for us to stop its bid to make lots of seed. I see my Nepalese allotment neighbour has cut off all the flowering stems in her large bed of mustard, I think I may have to do the same.
How's your salad faring this month?