Spring salads for Easter

Although the garden is still producing food – mainly parsnips, leeks, kale, sprouts, cabbage and a few odd leaves, together with the start of the sprouting broccoli – I have added to the variety with some salad leaves sown in the (unheated) greenhouse. Now most of these quick salad leaves say, on the packs, that they are ready to harvest in four to six weeks but this is dependent on when you sow them. If you sow from April to August, outside, they will certainly give a quick return. But sown this early in the year they will take much longer. This shouldn’t stop you from trying an early sowing though and you can easily grow a good crop in a growing bag in a cold greenhouse or coldframe. These salads were sown to be sure of fresh leaves for Easter but late sowings quickly catch up so if you sow now you should just about be able to get a crop in time.

These were sown in early January so they are already 6-7 weeks old and they are just about ready to start harvesting but I will leave them another week and then I will pick individual leaves from the plants or pull seedlings to thin them out for the first week or so until they are really strong. After that I will harvest by shearing off the leaves with scissors for speed. As long as you do not cut too low and leave about 2cm of the base of the leaves so the plants can recover you can crop in this way two or three times. If you make sure the plants are fed with a liquid fertiliser you will find the plants very productive. These are sown in the bed where the tomatoes were grown last year – and will be grown this year. The soil was heavily mulched with mushroom compost last year and this was forked in before sowing.

salads feb27

Peas for pea shoots. Once you pick the first shoot two or three more will be produced

Peas for pea shoots. Once you pick the first shoot two or three more will be produced

Spinach for young leaves for salads

Spinach for young leaves for salads

Rocket. This is the easiest of all and the spicy leaves add flavour to supermarket lettuce

Rocket. This is the easiest of all and the spicy leaves add flavour to supermarket lettuce

Lettuce. You can use any type for young leaf production but, because you will be sowing thickly buy the cheapest type you can

Lettuce. You can use any type for young leaf production but, because you will be sowing thickly buy the cheapest type you can

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