Real Men Sow

The One Penny Salad – More Overwintering Experiments!

Back in October I had a winter salad plan. I wanted to sow some hardy oriental salads to try and keep myself in fresh leaves right through the winter.

It didn’t quite work out as I’d hoped, but at the weekend I finally got to make my first picking of the little leaves. No fresh salads over the winter, but I’m still feeling dead chuffed at stealing a march on the salad front by tucking into homegrown leaves before spring’s even sprung.

Mind you, the RMS Veg Savings Spreadsheet wasn’t as pleased. The 12g of salad leaves equated to a saving of one solitary penny compared to supermarket bags.

Spiky and Peppery
Not that it’s all about the money. Oh no. Another beautiful thing about allotmenteering is that I can grow veg that I wouldn’t find in the shops. I sowed Green in Snow, Serifon and Mizuna for a really spiky, peppery salad, and the taste is immense.

And as they say, look after the pennies, and the pounds look after themselves!

I bought the seeds from Tamar Organic’s super selection of oriental salads, and made two container sowings – one covered by fleece, and another in a coldframe. They germinated quickly, but then the winter came and the growing slowed right down.

Still Growing in December
It wasn’t at a standstill though. During December the seedlings still put on a few millimetres of growth even in the snow. Slowly but surely, I was growing salads in the winter. Even though they were far too piddly to pick, this was still very exciting.

Tweaks for 2011
This year, I reckon I need to get the seeds sown during the middle of the summer, so they’re peaking when the clocks change. Then the leaves won’t have to grow anymore, and I can pick until the snow kills them off. I’ve done that with Mizuna and Radiccio before and enjoyed winter salad until Christmas time. I might try and covering with fleece once the temperature drops.

Another Two Pence Saving!
As the weather’s improved and day length increased, the leaves have started to grow a lot faster, until finally I got to bag up on Saturday. I picked another 16g of Sunday, doubling my saving to a whopping 2 pence.

Hopefully, this will see me into late spring, when I should have some more salad leaves ready to harvest.

Who knows, I might have saved ten pence by then.

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3 Comments

  1. Alan @ it's not work, it's gardening!March 15, 2011 at 10:04 pmReply

    If you double your savings every week, by the end of summer you’ll be able to quit your job. =)

    Mizuna is nice in a mixed salad, as is Komatsuna. There are so many terrific greens!

    • Jono

      JonoMarch 16, 2011 at 7:30 amReplyAuthor

      Komatsuna, I’ve not tried that?

      You’re right though, there are loads of great ones to try. They’re so tasty and give a real kick. I’m thinking of growing only the oriental ones, I like them more than the standard varieties.

  2. HazelMarch 16, 2011 at 9:32 pmReply

    I tried growing winter salad a few times but to be honest found all the leaves too bitter to be pleasant. I hope yours are better.

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope.

However, three years on, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.

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