Salad seedlings good to go

This is THE month for sowing seeds for a delicious summer-I’m hard at work in my vegetable garden sowing in anticipation of super fresh goodies to eat later in the year. Of course there are a few hurdles to surmount not least the vagaries of the British weather ( too much rain, not enough rain, too cold, too hot, not enough sun and too much sun) and the indiscriminate chomping by slugs and worse.

I have just sown some lovely rocket and mixed salad  and am looking forward to the peppery taste of the rocket and the freshness of the leaves which I will pick as a ‘cut and come again’ that is harvesting a few leaves at a time and leaving the plant to grow on and produce more and more…-no more smelly supermarket bags of leaves for me. The ones in the picture are just getting going but the fleece is on stand by in case we get a cold night and the crushed egg shells a good and organic deterrent to unwelcome guest who also want an easy meal. My favourite ‘Charlotte’ potatoes are in, these waxy, thin skinned salad potato  will be dug up to order and on the table before you can say Golden Delicous…. melting with butter or perhaps a little olive oil and a sprinkling of fresh herbs-quite yummy.  My little sons, when pressed into work in the vegetable garden didn’t need any encouraging to dig up the potatoes they said they ‘were digging for gold’ and they were.

Fresh herbs are perhaps the best to grow for culinary excitement so you can pick big generous handfuls later in the year rather than be content with the mingy little growing pots of over forced herbs in the supermarket.  My easy favourites are the aniseedy dill to serve with fish or just sprinkled over a creamy mayonnaise and the fragrant, spicy coriander to add sparkle to curries and and wake up my taste buds after winter comfort foods. Sweetcorn can be set off now (inside for this), nothing is better than eating the cobs straight from the plant and briefly cooked on a smokey barbeque. Homegrown peas are just the best, mine rarely make it to the kitchen let alone a pan of boiling water, I like them raw sprinkled over a salad or lightly crushed with some olive oil and garlic to make a chunky dip. I could go on…tiny sweet beetroots and baby turnips, finger thin carrots and more unusual vegetable such as pak choi and chicory..I am getting ahead of myself and there is a lot of work and TLC to be put in before I can enjoy the fruits of my labour.

However if you are new to this lark then start of with the easiest things and then you won’t be put of if things go wrong (and they do even for the experienced gardener)-my bet would be the salads and the peas.

Good luckx

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