Sunday, 16 May 2010

Outdoor Salad At Last

I picked my first outdoor grown salad yesterday. We've had some leaves from the greenhouse, and they were ok, but I always find them a bit flabby and insipid compared with the outdoor grown ones. And winter salad, always a hit and miss project for me, was totally non existent in this year's extreme winter.  So it tasted all the better for being a novelty, but that should, if I'm properly organised, be the end of packets of supermarket  leaves for this year.

This is picked from a row of loose leaf mixed lettuce, raised in modules in the greenhouse, and planted out a few weeks ago. I didn't protect it from the late frosts, and luckily it seemed not be have been affected in the way that my early French Beans were. There's loads of mixtures to choose from I recommend the Italian seed companies partly because they are so generous with the seed, Franchi, or Seeds of Italy, but I've tried lots and they're all good. I always like some red coloured lettuce mixed in with the green, partly for the taste but also I just like the look of the dark red and purple leaves in the salad bowl. a row of Lollo Rosso lasts most of the summer and looks decorative edging a raised bed of another crop.

I picked a handful of pea shoots as well to go in my salad, it's a good idea to pinch out the tops of pea plants when they're a few inches tall, it makes them produce side shoots, so you get more peas per plant, and at this early season you get a taste of fresh pea in your salad, that's if there are any left in your basket by the time you get back to the kitchen of course. This helps keep me going until there are real peas to be stolen later in the year, can't wait.


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