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Sophie Durnan is an experienced salad grower and joined us this Saturday to share her wisdom on salad growing through the year. Previously head grower at Riverside Market Garden for a number of years, Sophie now runs Cardiff Salad Garden, an amazing project operating in the heart of Cardiff in Bute Park. And she definitely knows her greens!

After talking through the salad growing year and sharing some tips about growing greens, harvesting greens and washing them we moved on to a practical in the polytunnel where we planted out a range of winter salads including Purslane, Rocket, Green in the Snow, Green frills, Mizuna and Mibuna. These are all varieties that can handle with low light temperature and light levels.

We're looking forwards to harvesting some tasty greens in the early spring.

Here is some more info on the winter greens we planted:

Claytonia/ winter purslane

  • Use to replace lettuce in winter, grows well undercover even in cold conditions.

  • Mild flavour, vigorous growth.

  • Goes to seed too easily in summer so start to sow in sept earliest. Bumper crop in march/April as temp warms with lovely edible white flowers

Rocket and wild rocket

  • Peppery Leaves

  • Susceptible to rot in damp conditions and goes to seed easily if too dry. If growing well will grow very thickly and comes again well several times.

Red and green leaf mustards – Giant red, Chinese red, Green in snow

  • Spicy red and green leaf adds texture and colour. But watch out, they can get very spicy when exposed to heat of summer or leaves get too large.

  • Leaves can be picked singly or whole plant cut above growing tip.

  • Can get mould if too damp.

Frizzy mustard, ruby streaks, golden streaks

  • Light but bulky leaves

  • Add colour and mild mustard flavour, can get very hot in summer.

  • Goes to seed easily in heat of summer and mouldy easily if too wet, space well and try to water roots not leaves.

Mitzuna and mibuna

  • Mild leaves

  • Adds texture mild interesting flavour

  • Can rot if too damp but grows well all year round inside

Baby Chard and Spinach

  • Adds colour

  • Mild flavour, leaves get tough if too big so need to be picked small,

  • Can be used as salad then allowed to grow big for cooking with.

Texel greens, tatsoi

  • Interesting flavour leaf, can grow bigger for stir fry greens

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