It would be nice to say that we have had some salad weather but here in the Southeast of Ireland we have not had the sun that most of the UK seems to have been enjoying lately. It has been mild and noticeably windless but the sun has steadfastly refused to come out. In fact today it has not stopped raining since I left the house and sometimes it has rained hard. I did some hoeing yesterday and even got the rotavator out but all thoughts of planting spuds or sowing were dashed today. So we have lots of salad leaves to eat but not the weather to go with them. The leaves sown in January in the cold greenhouse are now growing fast. To continue the cropping I sowed some rocket a month later – rocket runs to seed much more quickly than spinach and lettuce -and also some namenia. This is a turnip relative and seems to either be Dutch or Oriental in origin. Many of the more popular Oriental leaves are also basically turnips and this one grows fast and seems easy to grow. It seems to tolerate low temperatures well and I think it would do well as a late summer/autumn crop as well as for early sowing. Most descriptions describe the texture of the leaves as crunchy which is fair enough but the ‘tangy spinach’ description of its taste seems odd to me. I do not question the ‘tangy’ bit but i do not see where the spinach connection comes in. The leaves are slightly crunchy and they have a mild mustard taste – at least when young – they may be hotter when older or if you harvest a whole, mature plant. They are not as spicy as rocket and not as hot as the true mustards so are a useful addition to a set of salad leaves. Being a turnip and therefore a brassica it must have all the benefits that these plants possess when it comes to anti-tumour properties in a very easy-to-grow crop. It is always good to have some cut-and-come-again salad leaves and this will certainly be added to my regular crops along with lettuce and rocket. Apparently the plant can also be grown as large rosettes to harvest as mature plants as well as as small salad leaves – I will try that as well. Like all its tribe it should be grown fast in moist, rich soil to encourage leaf production rather than flowers. By the way the leaves are not hairy or bristly like turnips, which makes namenia much more palatable and which puts me off eating turnip tops as a raw veg. Namenia seeds are not readily available but can be bought from seed suppliers by post such as Kings Seeds http://www.kingsseeds.com/vegetable_seeds/Namenia/P-85270
April 2015. I am cutting more namenia from a February sowing and I am liking this more and more. It is easy, productive and really tasty. I would urge you to try it.
The other salads are growing well though here they are just watered so the red lettuce is a bit floppy. Spinach in the foreground. Here you can see where the red lettuce has been cut, a week ago with scissors, at the front of the row and the regrowth.