It’s the salad sowing season! Whilst September’s not a month most people would usually associate with sowing salad crops, there’s a host of tasty leaves to sow and plant to keep you in fresh salads for the next few months ahead. Here at Green Pastures we’ve been very busy getting the autumn and winter salads started off in order to keep our customers in the fresh leaves they’ve become accustomed to!
With arrival of shorter and cooler days lettuces the days of the lettuces will be diminishing so we look to other alternatives to bulk up our salads. Endives come into their own this time of year. When faced with these on a plate most people would probably pass them off for a lettuce, but Endives produce substantially more leaves this time of year. The caterers favourite, the “Frisee” endive is perhaps the most widely known, which we grow as a “cut and come again” where it produces a much higher quantity of usable leaves.
We don’t skip lettuces altogether however as we’ve found some very robust varieties that take the cold in their stride. “Marvel of Four Seasons” is as the name suggests is well suited to late sowing and produces a heavy harvest.
Radicchios are another favourite alternative to a lettuce and considerably more attractive with their red and white leaves. They do grow quite large, so be generous with your spacings when planting them out.
We also like to experiment with less widely grown crops which are well suited to cold weather salad growing. Land Cress is very hardy and easy to grow, even outdoors, producing leaves not that dis-similar to watercress. Another strong grower is Winter Purslane which even produces edible flowers too.