Best varieties and how to grow them

There are two main groups of salad greens: ‘cut and come again’ and hearting lettuce.

  • Cut and come again’ are exactly that; you pick the outer leaves and allow new leaves to grow up at the centre. These include mizuna, rocket, English spinach and the enormously tasty mustard greens. Plant a punnet every four weeks and you will have a constant supply. ‘Cut and come again’ herbs such as parsley, sorrel, chervil and coriander prefer growing in winter, spring and early summer.
  • Hearting lettuce include types such as cos and butterhead. You need to allow enough room for the lettuce to heart up nicely and don’t plant them too close together.

Salad varieties

  • Baby spinach: The young sweet leaves of English spinach do not need cooking before throwing into a salad. Just pick the outer leaves and the plant will continue to produce for up to six months. Great with roast pumpkin and feta.
  • Mustard greens: Many will enjoy the real horseradish kick in mustard greens. Choose from the large red leaf ‘Osaka Purple’ or ‘Red Giant’, but ‘Red Elk’ is my favourite fine-leaved form. I’ve found it tends to self-seed. Mix with gentler tasting leaves such as mizuna.
  • Watercress has a refreshing, succulent leaf texture for giving that professional look to garnishes and salads. It has a mild peppery taste that is great paired with poached salmon or ocean trout, wild rice, crème fraîche and potato.
  • Wild rocket, also known as arugula, has a delicious spiciness in its thin, spear-shaped leaves. As leaves age they become hotter and more peppery. Harvest outer leaves when young. Wild rocket is preferred over the wider-leafed salad rocket. Team with parmesan, pear and walnuts.
  • Mizuna will make up the main component in your salads. It has a feathery leaf and mild taste.
  • Oak leaf lettuce has pretty oakshaped leaves and comes in a range of colours. This is a good compact lettuce with ruffled leaves that are great for filling out a salad.
  • Butterhead lettuce has soft, smooth leaves with a buttery texture and mild, creamy flavour. Leave to form beautiful buttery hearts.
  • Baby beetroot leaves are edible too and available all year round. Their rich-red stems and purple leaves give your salad a colourful splash. Serve with crispy duck, Persian feta and beetroot.
  • Baby cos lettuce has tall, conical heads that are quick and easy to grow. Each upright leaf has a strong midrib. Perfect for a Caesar salad.


More garden ideas:

* How to grow your own salad>
* How to grow Chinese greens
* How to grow your own salad


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