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Digital Subscriptions > Kitchen Garden Magazine > 257 - Febraury 2019 > GET STARTED NOW FOR SUPER EARLY SALADS

GET STARTED NOW FOR SUPER EARLY SALADS

The very first salads of the new growing season signal the welcome arrival of longer days and warmer weather. But what’s the earliest you can pick? Benedict Vanheems offers some tips for achieving prized pickings when others are only just getting started

Pulling together the first home-grown salad of the growing season is a satisfying exercise. A few leaves from this, a few from that, some hardy spring onions… oh, and look: a couple of radishes are ready to pick, slice and fan out on top. Early salads, you see, are half gardening, half artistic masterpiece.

My first garden salad is normally on the table before the end of April. It comprises a mix of overwintered leaves such as lamb’s lettuce and new-season leaves and is a wonderful thing, representing spring’s triumphant return.

EARLY RISERS

Winter brings welcome respite from the growing season’s constant demands. But as February arrives and days turn noticeably longer, green fingers begin to itch. Sowing some super-early salads is a great way to slowly but surely ease into the growing season ahead.

By the middle of February there’s a surprising array of salads to get on and sow: leaves such as lettuce, spinach and pea shoots, plus salad embellishments like spring onion and radish. Sown promptly, they’ll easily make the deadline for that coveted April salad. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get cracking!

START UNDER COVER

Begin those precious first sowings in a greenhouse or polytunnel. The added protection shunts spring forwards a month while hiding seedlings from the rasping destruction of garden slugs. Grow salads in borders or start seedlings of in modules, trays or pots for planting out once the weather improves.

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About Kitchen Garden Magazine

Welcome to Kitchen Garden Magazine In this issue: Future-Proofing at Ferris Farm Gaby Bartai meets a gardener who is creating a vegetable plot that can rise above future health challenges. Veg of the Month - Parsnips KG editor Steve Ott loves parsnips and brings you his top tips for success. Safe and Secure Upgrade your garden security with some 21st century products, says KG editor Steve Ott. And much more!