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 cold frame. They germinated quickly, but then the winter came and the growth 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 Radicchio before and enjoyed winter salad until Christmas time. I might try and cover 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.