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Thursday
Apr302009

Rabbit-like

I've been eating home-grown salads since the middle of February. Initially they featured mostly the perennial stuff, like salad burnett and sorrel, and some overwintered parsley. Then the lemon balm came good and I started putting bits of that in. The first of the baby lettuce leaves went in along with some chives, and a pretty interesting salad was made.

From there, the salad burnett has now started trying to flower and the leaves have gone bitter. The sorrel is trying to flower too, but I keep cutting off the flower stalks. That's ok because the lettuce is not baby any more, and using advice from Charles Dowding's "Organic Gardening the No Dig Way" I am pulling off only the outer leaves each time. This makes it a little like having a bag of salad in the fridge, but without the worry of it going soggy and brown. A plain salad of lettuce is a little dull but thankfully the parsley is now going stronger than ever, and there are still just enough leaves on the sorrel to keep munching. (I did decide I prefer the lemon balm as tea. Bit fuzzy for a salad!)

On top of that, my first, greenhouse-grown mange tout are now producing. Admittedly not a huge amount, but it does add nicely to a salad. My yellow cherry tomatoes have flowers on, and I can see the first baby peppers behind the flowers on the pepper plants I left indoors.

I'm actually particularly thrilled about managing to grow lettuce. The slugs are viscious around here, and the sorrel and the chard are both showing signs of attack. The lettuce is mostly fine though. It seems that the theory of red leaves being a turn off for slugs (and snails, don't ever forget the snails) really is working because I'm not protecting them at all.

Come August I'll add rocket and purslane to the mix, and this winter I'll aim to keep some rocket and maybe some of the lettuce going through the winter months using the greenhouse. I haven't eaten this much greenery in years!

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