The new salad beds sprouted lots more leaves whilst I was away, despite my giving them a good haircut to supplement my Ultimate Travellers' Salad. As you can see, regular picking's made these oakleaf types much taller than usual as happens with most salad plants picked in this way. I wouldn't expect them to reach this kind of height until they're getting ready to go to seed. A quick inspection showed they're still in leaf production mode.
I've come back to a leaf glut. It'd be great if you could help me by offering up your ideas of what to do with them, other than in salad. I already have recipes for lettuce and lovage soup (plus sorrel or watercress or spinach) and plenty of pesto variations. I'm looking for other recipes which use up lots of salad leaves or herbs, which I'll feature in a future post. If you've already offered them via Salad Days, previous Comments or via #saladchat don't worry, they're already included :)
Which reminds me, our next Salad Days is next Friday, so it's nearly time to show me your salad! Or for you to blog a glutbuster recipe to share...
I've realised I haven't told you much about my new salad area, even though you've glimpsed it before. Allow me to introduce you to the narrow place between the front of our house and our neighbours. There's just enough room widthwise for a cold frame and me. This area is laid to gravel, faces east and very rarely gets much sun. It's an ideal place to demonstrate salad can be grown successfully in small, unlikely places! Probably the only things going for it are our house provides some shelter and many salad leaves like shade.
I acquired 3 old Belfast sinks from my friend P at choir earlier this year to form the basis of my new salad beds. I added a layer of gravel to each of them for drainage, plus the soil from a turf stack that had been lying around since I dug up part of the front lawn a number of years ago. Two were topped with peat-free multipurpose compost and the other with biochar ready for a comparison trial. More on that in a later post.
I rescued the coldframe from my allotment where I hadn't made best use of it. It's sheltering one of the Belfast sinks and currently playing host to a very productive cucumber. I have cloches waiting in the wings for the other 2 Belfast sinks. I also have a pot of carrots on the go, ready for later in the year.
The one disappointment is the wild rocket. Two pots are looking very sorry for themselves and another is already in flower. It looks like I'll be looking to the other two pots for some winter pepperiness.
I've had mixed fortunes with the seeds I sowed before holiday too. The pictured mizuna and pak choi are looking very perky, as are the chervil, fennel and lamb's lettuce. The spinach is still to emerge or has been eaten (though there's no slime trails in evidence to suggest the latter) and my 'Bulls Blood' beet emergence is patchy, yielding just enough plants for a sprinkling of rich, earthy redness through the winter.
I bought some ordinary and variegated landcress whilst I was away which I'll be sowing today. It's probably too late for them to provide much for the winter, but at least they should help kick start the spring. @mandahill said she found the variegated land cress didn't grow so well when we were having a #saladchat, so it'll be interesting to see how my packet fares.
How's your salad coming along?