Mizuna (Brassica rapa var nipposinica)
Winter and spring in the vegetable garden is a great time to grow and harvest a wide range of tasty and tender salad leaves. These are a few of the ones I am using at the moment. Mizuna pictured above is a Japanese green which is now grown commercially for use in supermarket salad mixes. It is very decorative in the garden and forms a small fountain of jagged leaves which can be picked individually or in bunches. It is closely related to the stronger tasting Mibuna or Mibu Green (pictured below). Mibuna has more elongated leaves and grows into a spray like clump. It originates from Mibu in the Kyoto prefecture of Japan.
Warrigal Greens /New Zealand Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonioides)
A local coastal native plant , this sprawling ground-cover just appears in the garden from time to time as a self-seeded specimen. The tips make a useful addition to salads and are loaded with Vitamin C. Older leaves can be steamed or added to stir fries.
'Bulls Blood' Beetroot leaves.
Now grown as a "micro-green". the rich dark magenta leaves make for a wonderful contrast with others greens. I plant this beetroot seed thickly and use the thinned out plants in a salad mix.
Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium)
Winter is the best time for growing chervil and the delicate aniseed tasting leaves add an interesting flavour to salads. It is one of the fines herbes of French cuisine together with parsley, tarragon and chives.
Mustard 'Ruby Streaks'
First time I have grown this lacy mild tasting mustard leaf. It is very decorative both in the garden and on the plate.
Cavolo Nero/ Laciniato / Nero di Toscana Kale
The very young leaves have a wonderful texture ,and the dark colour makes a great contrast in a salad with pale lettuce leaves or ruby grapefruit pieces.
French Sorrel (Rumex scutatus)
Crinkly leaves with a lemony tang from a perennial plant which appreciates a bit of soil moisture for best flavour.
English Spinach 'Galilee'
Baby English spinach leaves are now quite popular and it is a very easy plant to grow in cooler weather . This variety has arrow shaped leaves. I sow the seed thickly and thin out the excess as baby leaf and allow some plants to reach maturity. Spinach prefers light or sandy soil for best growth with adequate soil moisture.
Pea Tendrils Pisum sativum
Pea tendrils are very sweet and are like eating fresh peas. They are also very easy to grow. If you buy pea straw to use as mulch there is always plenty of peas which come up amongst the mulch once it has been on the ground for a couple of weeks. The shooting peas can be cut when quite small for their tendrils.In Japan they are known as Tohbyo and are used as a garnish not unlike the way we use parsley.