Saturday, 26 July 2014

The Salad Succession

My self-imposed challenge this year has been to maintain a continuous supply of salads, through a disciplined approach to successional sowing. Every couple of weeks I have sowed seeds for more things like lettuce, endives, radicchio, landcress and Lamb's Lettuce (aka Mache)

I have devoted one of my seven raised beds entirely to salads (that's if you include beetroot):

This next photo demonstrates very nicely the variety of plants I have included, with beetroot at the top,  and lettuces, chicories and endives of various sorts at the bottom:

This is Curly Endive "Tosca" with lettuce "Marvel of Four Seasons" (the red one) and "Devin" (lower, centre). There is also a small "Can Can" lettuce and a Basil seedling.

Until recently I had a few Turnips at the end of the bed, but those are gone now, and I have slotted in some more lettuce and chicory seedlings from the next batch.

The Mesclun that I sowed in a small pot on the patio was looking good until a couple of days ago, but then the Flea Beetles found it and everything is riddled with holes. The mustard and the rocket is particularly badly hit. I'm not throwing this away just yet because the plants may survive and put up some fresh leaves, but I rather fear it might be beyond redemption.

It is supposed to be the case that lettuce seeds will germinate very badly or not at all if the temperature is above 22C (70F), but I don't believe this. The best germination rates I have had this year are the lettuces sown recently, at a time of prolonged high temperatures - up to 31C this week.

P.S. I have not been able to do much blog-visiting or commenting recently, because I have been working in London, which for me means long tiring days, and when I get home all I have the energy to do is to water the garden - and it has needed it a lot too, with all the high temperatures we have had. My stint in London comes to an end next week, so hopefully you'll see a bit more of me after that.


  1. Hi Mark - well done on keeping going with salads this year. Interesting that you've found germination rates have still been good in all this hot weather we've been having.

    I've found (via my salad challenge) that if you adopt the Charles Dowding picking approach to harvesting, you don't need to sow that often - every few months. Picking also means the plants are much slower to bolt too, so I've also managed with a smaller salad growing space. It's win win!

  2. I need to make another salad sowing in the Woodblocx bed. Must admit out lettuce aren't liking the heat - the salad leaves are diing better though

  3. I don't grow much salad at all as it isn't something we eat much of. I did sow some lettuces earlier in the year but the slugs got them when they were still seedlings and I haven't bothered since. Typical that Eleanor's decided to start eating salad more than she ever has done before so I've ended up buying it.

  4. I was trying to keep my successions going. And I have. But the lettuce that was produced over the summer so far just isn't worth eating. I'm still sowing though. When the weather cools down a bit I'm sure it will be good again.

  5. Don't talk to me about flea beetles - they have absolutely devastated my salad leaf seedlings and the brassica seedlings too - so much for successional sowing - like you I will leave them to see if they recover - but I don't hold out a lot of hope. Grrr.

  6. Your salads look so healthy. I have lettuce but anything else is devastated by flea beetles. Even the radish tops. If anyone has any ideas about how to reduce the damage, I'd be interested.

    1. Alison, I think the only foolproof method is to use fine mesh, like Enviromesh.


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