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.
- 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:
More great ideas on our page or find us on .