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.

6 comments:

Louise said...

Wow! That looks so good that you almost wouldn't need any kind of dressing!

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

Kathy,
i did a bee course last year and loved it..but we have not got round to getting a hive as yet!
your blog has inspired me!!!

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

Peas eaten while still in the garden are always the best, aren't they. Enjoy the salads.

The Cottage Garden Farmer said...

Louise - yes the first salads are so welcome

John - Do go for it, you'll be glad you did, have you thought about the top bar hive, if you're handy you can make it yourself, see biobees.com

GardenerSS Most of my peas never make it to the kitchen!!

pamsenglishgarden said...

I am about to thin my lettuce in the garden. We will have tiny lettuce salad ... can't wait. Thanks for the advice about pinching the peas. I'll try that. Pam

The Cottage Garden Farmer said...

You're welcome Pam

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