Culling the winter salads

I need more space in the greenhouse for seedlings, so today I decided it was time to cull the winter salads to get rid of anything I thought wasn’t going to be productive any more.

First out was the leaf radish. It was already flowering and unlikely to provide many more leaves, so had to go. It’s been good value this winter. I’ll definitely grow it again.

Next was the chervil, which again has been good value, but was starting to look a bit scraggy. It also had a few greenfly. I have some more in the polytunnel, so it’s not the end of the world to lose this.

The coriander also had to go, again because it was flowering. This did ok before the middle of the winter, but has struggled since.

The Red Little Gem lettuces weren’t growing that well and had a lot of greenfly, so they went on a one-way trip to the compost heap too. Again, they’ve been ok, though I did lose a couple in the middle of winter and they’ve struggled in the colder weather.

The salad rocket was also trying to flower, but had new leaves forming at the base of the stem, so it has a reprieve for the moment until I see what happens. I have chopped off the flower stalk though.

That leaves me with some lettuces and mustards that I’ll to get more from over the next few weeks, though the polytunnel is starting to provide salads now and I won’t need them for much longer.

Overall I’d say thus far it’s been a useful experiment. We’ve needed to buy very little in the way of salad leaves over the winter even though some plants (notably the salad rocket) haven’t been as successful as I’d have liked. Next winter I should have the no dig greenhouse to sow with salads for the winter, but I may well repeat this experiment. I will make a few changes however. I think I’ll sow slightly earlier and start harvesting a week or so later, to allow the plants to establish themselves better. I’ll also absolutely brim the trays with compost to the point where it’s not possible to fit any more in. I might even be tempted to line the trays with cardboard rather than newspaper as the newspaper has provided a few places for slugs to hide, but the jury is out on that one for the moment.

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