Today I thought I would talk about the winter salads that I grow at my allotment, especially now that Autumn is approaching.
On the 14th August I sowed some winter hardy lettuces, mizuna, corn salad, perpetual spinach and winter hardy spring onions. As the weather was still warm then, they germinated in just four days which I was quite amazed at:
This week they were big enough to plant out:
I cleared away some of my old crops in my polytunnel and then raked in some ‘Blood, fish and bone’ before planting them all out.
All the above salads are great to grow all through the winter. All they need is a bit of protection i.e. under a cloche, cold frame, a cold greenhouse or polytunnel.
I tend to treat the salads like cut and come again leaves, as I just pick a few leaves from the outside of each plant each time we want a salad to go with our meal. This way the plants continue to ‘heart up’ in the centre.
The photo below shows some different leaves I picked on a winters day at the beginning of the year. There are two different winter hardy lettuces, corn salad leaves, mizuna, winter hardy spring onions and ‘baby’ perpetual spinach leaves.
They all make a lovely salad mixed together:
The two photos below show the salads growing last year in my polytunnel:
The photo on the right shows the corn salad, mizuna and some younger winter lettuces.
I like growing mizuna as I particularly like the peppery taste of it in a mixed salad and as it’s a brassica, it looks beautiful when it eventually flowers in Spring and attracts the first butterflies of the year:
Winter salads are usually sown in August and September and grow slowly over the winter under protection. They have a lower proportion of water than summer lettuces, which is why they survive after being frozen.
A few winter salads you may like to try are winter hardy lettuces (I use a variety called ‘Artic King), mizuna, rocket, corn salad (lambs lettuce), mustards, winter purslane, land cress and winter hardy spring onions.
If you haven’t tried growing winter salads then have a go and I’m sure you will be pleasantly surprised.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back on Monday at the usual time.