This Saturday we learnt about salad at the Global Gardens salad growing workshop with Sophie Durnan, grower at Cardiff Salad Garden.
We planted out three beds of a range of lettuce, buckshorn plantain and kale.
After the workshop, we asked Sophie a few questions about salad growing...
What is Cardiff Salad Garden?
Cardiff Salad Garden is a Community Interest company, we are a social enterprise investing all our profits back into the project. We are located in the walled garden behind Secret Garden Café and the Education Centre in Bute Park. We sell grow and sell salad and open our doors as a community garden for volunteers twice a week. We aim to promote positive mental health, help people become more integrated into the community and share skills.
What kind of produce do you grow?
We grow a wide range of leafy salads which change throughout the year from lettuces, chard and spinach, a range of mustards, interesting oriental greens such as mitzuna and mibuna along with soft herbs like parsley, basil, coriander.
Salad is cut and mixed into a mixed salad bag which changes flavour with the seasons.
Where do you supply the produce?
We deliver our produce by bicycle around Cardiff, currently we supply over 15 restaurants, cafes and deli's in a close radius to Bute park.
What did you do in the salad growing workshop?
It was great to be back at Global Gardens discussing all things salad with a really motivated group - we looked at some of the different varieties of salads available, how to sow, plant out and harvest them for cut and come again salad. At this time of year the importance of regular successional sowing. Then outside we made a protective tunnel out of blue water pipe (1inch thick) cut to lengths to make hoops over the beds to support pest protecting mesh and also shading material for the height of summer. We filled two beds full of a range of salad plants and another full of kale. Everyone left with a few seedlings to plant at home and some beautiful herbs from the garden.
What are your tips for growing salad outside?
At this time of year it is easy for everything to go to seed, I recommend succession sowing small quantities but at regular intervals - I go for every 4 weeks. If you want to grow brassica related oriental greens which are great for salads I'd recommend some kind of fine mesh protection from butterflies and flea beetles which can seriously damage to these varieties. Also for fast cut and come again salads don't forget to cut above the growing tip leaving the shoot in the heart of the plant intact to grow back.
What is your favourite salad?
Summer purslane is one of my favourites because it is so succulent and delicious. However this winter for the first time we grew loads of watercress which I have been eating with everything! I'll happily graze through the garden as I work!
Find out more
If you'd like to find out more about Cardiff Salad Garden, you can get in contact with Sophie on 07725388771, email@example.com and @cardiffsalad on twitter, facebook and Instagram. Volunteers are welcome Mondays 10-11.30 and Wednesdays 10-1pm with a picnic lunch in Bute park.