Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Leaves.

Winter came suddenly this year, bringing strong winds and heavy rain, with some hail, but without the freezing snowy conditions of last year. Not much is happening out on the vegetable field these days (that's not quite true, but most of the sowing and planting is taking place under cover) but our polytunnels provide good conditions for hardy salad leaves and other crops. Low light levels and reduced temperatures mean even in the polytunnels crops grow slowly, and we cannot meet the demands for mixed salad, so we concentrate our efforts on getting mixed salad leaves into the weekly veg-boxes, with whatever surplus there may be for sale on the farm-gate stall. Anyway, here's some photos of winter salad leaves, all growing in the polytunnel now.
Corn-salad, or lamb's-lettuce, a member of the valerian family, slow growing but attractive.

Giant red mustard, a brassica (member of the cabbage family).

Giant winter spinach, grows slowly through winter but shoots up in spring.

Green-in-snow mustard, good tangy winter brassica.

Greenwave mustard, another brassica.

Land cress, tastes like water cress but needs less water.

Mizuna, a brassica, fast growing but can be fiddly to harvest.

Namenia, another brassica, one of the best.

Nasturtian, not a brassica! Lovely peppery leaves and edible flowers too.

Pak choi, oriental brassica, can pick leaves or grow into a head of "Chinese leaves".

Rainbow chard, the old standby, young in salad or older as a vegetable.

Red winter kale, lovely feathery leaf for salads, another brassica.

Rocket, another classic brassica.

Sessantina, an oriental brassica.

Serifon, another oriental brassica (or is this Sessantina?).

Tat soi, similar to pak choi, leaves like lollipops.

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