No salad is complete without Lettuce, is it? I planted 14 young Lettuces last week, taking a few each from two trays of seedlings I had been carefully nurturing. Each tray had LOADS of seedlings in it, but I don't really need huge numbers of Lettuce plants, so after taking out the ones I selected for planting, the others are already being used as "Baby Leaf Salad".
|In this tray are "Lobjoit's Green Cos" and "Saxo".|
|This rather sparsely-populated tray was sown with an old salad mix - note the solitary Rocket plant!|
Since successional sowing is the order of the day (to maintain a continuous supply) I also have some other, very much smaller Lettuce plants:
I don't know what variety those ones are. They are the only ones to appear from a handful of seeds from five fairly old packets, which I sowed more in hope than in expectation! Lettuce seeds evidently don't remain viable for ever. Still, in current circumstances I think it might be unwise to throw away ANY seeds, however old they are. I shall keep on sowing them in the hope that at least some of them will germinate.
Next up, Beetroot. My Beetroot so far has been a mixed success. I sowed a row consisting of 50 percent new seeds of "Crosby's Egyptian" and 50 percent "Boltardy" from last year. Normally I have no difficulties with Beetroot seed from the previous year, but this time the germination rate of "Boltardy" was very poor - maybe 20 percent? The "Crosby's Egyptian" germinated well though - probably 90 percent or more.
|Beetroot "Crosby's Egyptian".|
However, in my usual risk-avoiding fashion, I had taken the precaution of sowing some more Beetroot seeds of both varieties in small plastic pots, each pot containing 2 or 3 seeds in order to produce clumps of plants. These germinated well, so I have used them to fill in the spaces where the "Boltardy" has failed to show. The trouble is I didn't think to label the pots, so I have no idea which ones are which!
|One of the pot-grown clumps. I think there are probably 3 plants there.|
Flanking the row of Beetroot are a row of Radishes (again two different varieties - hedging my bets) and the clumps of Onions I planted out several weeks ago.
|Radishes, Left; Beetroot, Centre; and Onions, Right.|
The Radishes are nowhere near ready yet, but they look as if they will be OK.
Likewise, the Onions are a long way from maturity, but they are coming along quite nicely.
You'll notice that the onions are surrounded by some other small, broad-leaved plants. I believe these are Watercress seedlings, which have come in with the homemade compost. I did have some Watercress last year, from which I saved seeds, but I think the old plants which went into the compost-bin must have still had some seed-pods on them. This is a bonus for me, because we love Watercress, so I'll remove most of those little seedlings, but leave a few to mature.
|I think these are Watercress seedlings|
Another very important salad vegetable for us is the Cucumber. I can't show you any photos of cucumber plants yet though, because I have resolved not to sow them before the start of May. In previous years I have often found myself struggling to keep Cucumber plants alive and growing, because we always seem to get a cold wet spell just after I have planted mine! Last year I had a very good crop of the little tiny ones used for making cornichons (very small gherkins), so I'll be sowing some of those. The variety is called "Vorgebirgstrauben". I'll also have a few plants of the so-called "cocktail cucumber" type. They produce fruits about six inches long. The variety I have this time is "Delikatess". Both these and the gherkin-type ones are from Lidl. They sell quite a lot of more unusual varieties (to us in the UK, that is. They are probably common in Germany!), in small packs at sensible prices.
Finally for today, just a mention of my Rocket. I have a small number of plants (about 15??) in an 8-inch pot, which is enough to provide for our needs. Jane just about tolerates Rocket (in small quantities), but I like it better. I usually put just a few leaves in a mixed salad.
So, as you can see, I have plenty of salad crops "in the pipeline", but almost nothing at the cropping stage yet! Thank goodness for the peashoots...