Grow your own
even if this is a tub of cut and come again lettuce or herbs on your windowsill.
Think of the space, water, fertiliser, transportation and packaging this saves.
Salad leaves are an easy crop to start with.
Perpetual salad leaves: Plant long lasting leaves in the garden such as land cress, sorrel, rocket and perpetual spinach. They prefer areas out of the full sun or they will bolt (grow upwards and set seed very quickly). Once established, if you leave land cress and rocket to flower and set seed, they will spread their seed and like any weed that chooses it’s own space, this will grow really well and give you a crop through the winter.
Sorrel is a perennial plant which means it will grow again the following year. It has a lemony flavour. The young leaves are good for salads and the older leaves are good to add to stews and sauces at the last minute of cooking. Sorrel never really dies down but does slow down through the winter. It starts growing again in late February.
Perpetual spinach is one of my favourite leaves. It’s available all year round. Like sorrel, the younger leaves can be used for salad and the older leaves for lightly cooking.
On the windowsill – quick growing
Sprouting seeds: add texture, flavour and so much goodness to a salad. You can buy seeds for sprouting from seed manufacturers that are quite expensive. You can buy seeds from the wholefood shop in larger quantities and are much cheaper. NOTE: always check your seeds are edible raw. Kidney beans need boiling to kill the toxins before eating. Broad beans also contain a smaller amount of this toxin.
Microgreens: are used a lot by trendy restaurants. They’re also very expensive to buy. They’re really easy to grow yourself and take just days. All you need is a seed tray, compost, seeds, water and a windowsill. It’s a good way to use up old seeds too. www.allotment-garden.org
Herbs: add extra flavour to your salads. Some herbs are a little tough so better for cooking or infusing oils and vinegars for dressings Herb growing tips