Wonderful Salad Plants
There's more to salad than just lettuce! We've found quite a few other easy salad plants over the years that taste great and come when lettuce isn't available.
Some suggestions? The endive is useful when the lettuce hasn't started yet, and the Land Cress makes an interesting all year round addition to your salads. The claytonia is an excellent main ingredient for winter salads, and the West Indian Gherkin in the Cucurbits section is also a prolific salad-ingredient producer. (Of course, many of these can be used cooked too - in particular the orach, sorrel, and salsola are nice that way.)
People often get in touch wanting to buy seeds as gifts. We think the salads are ideal for this.
We've always been a bit wary of some of the 'unusual
edibles' people would have you try,
Claytonia a.k.a. "Miners Lettuce' or 'Winter Purslane' NEW
This is our exciting new salad plant; we think you'll really enjoy this one. It grows very quickly with minimal effort - you only need a few plants to get lots of salad ingredients.
Claytonia is an easily grown green, with rounded crunchy leaves. Originally from North America, it has been naturalised in Europe since 1749 but is still relatively unknown for some reason.
To harvest, either pick individual leaves or whole rosettes, it is very nice and crunchy with a good flavour.
Very easy to grow, works really well in a tunnel or greenhouse.
Order SaCy - 1g (hundreds of seeds!) £1.61
Liscari Sativa (Agretti, Salsola soda)
Our original seed came from Italy, but also popular in Japan where it is used for soups. An easy plant to grow, and a great addition to the vegetable garden. Delicious, it is rarely available commercially because good seed is so hard to find.
Although the plants do get bigger later on, we think it is better to sow quite a lot and harvest young, so we give you quite a lot of seeds in the packet.
Growing it is easy. Although germination is always a bit poor, because they are not 'proper' seeds, actually little plants rolled up in a ball, but don't worry as we give you loads of seed in the packet and you will definitely get some plants from it. Too much heat actually reduces germination - so sow early undercover (up to end March), or outdoors later in the spring.
Nice both cooked & raw.
Order LGSA - 10g approx - £1.84
'Belleville' Leaf Sorrel
One of the earliest green crops to start in spring and perennial -
once you've got a clump going it needs no attention other than when
you want to eat it. Hardy, early salad. Lemony!
Hardy, early salad or cooking leaf green, very easy to grow.
Order SoBE - 1.5g (lots of seed) £1.91
Minutina (Erba Stella / Buckshorn Plantain)
It makes a dense clump of long leaves that are forked a bit like the horns on a deer, hence the name. The plants get to a decent size - that's a pencil for scale in the picture.
They are very nice both raw in salads and cooked. Easy – so much so that one gardening advice column said if you can’t grow this, you should give up gardening.
Very easy, great plant .
Order SaMt - (lots of seed) £1.68
'Bianca Riccia da Taglio' Salad Endive (Chicorium
Plants pictured were sown in Wales in March in a polytunnel and we really appreciated them in our spring salads!
Rare oakleaf salad endive. Especially good for very early & very late sowings.
Order SaBR - 300 seed £1.63
Note: The Pak Choi on the right is on the Oriental Vegetables pages , and is another great salad addition.
'Golden Frill' NEW from our 2012 trials
A whole new class of vegetable here – this is a unique salad leaf from a cross between a kale and mustard.
The plants make large but delicately lacey leaves with a golden-green colour, and a sweet, but only slightly spicy flavour.
It goes well in salads as the lacey leaves add a delicate bit of ‘zing’. Can also be cooked as a green.
Great new salad ingredient .
Order OvGF - approx 200 seed £1.74
When? Sow in early spring or after midsummer for best results
'Fine Leaved' Shungiku for Salads
This is very popular in Japan and the far east - and related to the decorative Chrysanthemum we all know from the flowerbed. It really is nice added to a mixed salad, and also shredded in with a stir-fry.
Sown in Spring or Autumn (leaves may go bitter in the heat of mid-summer), autumn sowings can survive for a while under fleece.
You get lots of pretty yellow flowers if you let it run to seed. Very quick & easy (30 days from sowing) and good for cut & come-again.
Chrysanthemum coronarium. Nice tangy salad-addition.
Order SaFL - 300 seed £1.52
'Magentaspreen' Giant Goosefoot NEW
This variety has bright green leaves, which are frosted with a sparkly magenta colour when young. It is very pretty in salads, or you can use it as a cooked green too.
This is quite easy to grow, but it needs cool nights to germinate. Therefore early spring sowings are fine under cover, but do later sowings outdoors so they don't feel too hot.
Order SaMG - hundreds of seed £1.61
'Tarateza' Iranian Cress
When they germinate, the tiny seedlings have 3-lobed seed-leaves. It grows well here and we like it a lot!
This is seed we grew last year in Wales, from the original seed we were given which had been collected in the wild in Iran.
Order SaTa - 1g of seed £1.69
'Mild' Cultivated Rocket
Normally Ben can't stand rocket, but this strain, which is less strong than common rocket, is really very nice! He's even been spotted pulling off leaves and munching on them absentmindedly while weeding the seedbeds . . .
Very easy to grow, sow Feb - Oct for continuous harvest. (Will need fleece protection in the winter)
Order SaRO - 2g (lots of seed) £1.73
~ ORACH ~
We think that Orach - also known
as German Mountain Spinach -
It grows quickly early in the year, supplying large
quantities of mild heart-shaped leaves
Magenta Magic Orach
Orach grows quickly early in the year, supplying tender heart-shaped leaves, or delicious cooked. This variety has deep purple leaves that look great in the garden and on the table.
You sow the funny disc-like seed from May onwards, for harvest over the summer.The plants grow to 1m tall (looking very pretty) , but are better picked when smaller as they are nice and tender when young.
Order SaMO - about 150 seed £1.80
'Green and Gold' Orach
This is a bright and lively mix of two orachs - the Green Velvet and the new Golden Orach. Both are from salad breeder Frank Morton.
Orach is really great in salads, and also cooked too.
The disc-like seed is sown from May onwards, for harvest over the summer.
Glowing green and gold leaves, with a good flavour. Specially selected for organic conditions and growing by hand on small plots.
Order SaGG - about 150 seed £1.80
There are two types of 'Cress' that you grow at different times of the year.
(A) Cold-resistant, Autumn-sown Land Cress:
This is useful all year round salad plant that forms small rosettes of lobed green leaves. The leaves have a crunchy texture, with a slightly spicy watercress flavour. Definitely a good addition to early and late salads! If given some protection (eg fleece), it will maintain supplies throughout the winter. We like to always have some on the go throughout the year.
Slightly spicy salad for all year use
When? It can be sown at pretty much any time but is best known for its incredible cold-resistance. It is therefore best sown in August for supplies of greens over the winter. You can try in spring too if you like.
Catherine said that this was her best salad crop in the very cold winter a couple of years back - it sat under 2 inches of snow without suffering at all, and was still thriving in Mid March.
Order SaLC - 2g of seed - £1.65