Last Friday I was invited as a guest teacher to the Permaculture Design Course in Deventer to answer the participants’ questions related to vegetable growing, edible forest design, mulching, improving soil fertility and anything else they wondered about. Since the lunch at the course is done potluck style, I decided to bring a freshly harvested garden salad to “walk my talk” and demonstrate that it is indeed possible to eat from your garden all year round. What our salads look like does of course vary greatly during the year, but below you can read what I am currently picking from my allotment and my edible forest garden. Some of the plants are annual vegetables, some are perennials. The tastes are often stronger than that of lettuce, but, hey, isn’t that a good thing?
Alexanders (Smyrnium olustratum) – an easy to grow & shade tolerant biennial with a nice parsley-celery flavour
Chard (Beta vulgaris) – in mild winters it overwinters in the garden without protection and the small leaves are good in salads
Fennel (Phoeniculum vulgare) – an aniseed flavoured and pretty perennial herb
Land cress (Barbarea verna) – a self-seeding hardy biennial, similar in taste to water cress
Perennial kale (Brassica oleracea var. acephala) – the young leaves have a mild cabbagey flavour and as in all cabbages they are full of goodness
Winter purslane (Claytonia perfoliata) – a mildly tasting self-seeding annual, very hardy. A firm favourite of my son.
Left: Alexanders, right: perennial kale
I would like to do one “seasonal salad” post every month this year to document how our home-grown salads change in the course of the year.
And I m curious – what (if anything) is growing where you live at this time of year? Or are your gardens still covered in snow?