This year has really been a good one for a steady crop of salad products from the plot. I’ve grown Romaine, as well as Mustard, Lollo Rosso and other mixes. It’s meant that, instead of buying bags of hermetically sealed supermarket salad, we’ve enjoyed a fresh supply of whatever is at the plot. Latterly this has included pickings of less conventional, but easily as tasty, nasturtiums, beetroot and chard. They all add variety of flavour; from the peppery nasturtiums, to the more earthy flavours of the beets. It’s said you also eat with your eyes; and the ruby red veins on the chard leaves, as well as the yellow and orange nasturtium flowers, really are appetising.
These have all been in and out of our salad selections, but the ever present is rocket. It’s a gardeners’ (and cooks’) friend. Speedy to grow, it produces lots of peppery leaves which can be cut and will regrow for further pickings. It also makes a great frittata or pesto.
I’ve found that rocket can bolt in the heat of summer (and experienced it a bit this year). So I tend to sow in partial shade – in my case in a cold frame which is situated under one of our apple trees. We’ve got some old polystyrene mushroom boxes which have made great planters, as they don’t tend to dry out that quickly when filled with rich moisture retentive compost (we’ve punched a few drainage holes in the bottom). All you need to do is sow (a little every week or so) and water when necessary. It’s October now and the rocket is still going strong. Indeed, I think I may sow some more in the greenhouse.