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Basil. Normally used as a herb flavouring, but also used as a salad leaf to provide a wonderful aroma. Best grown in a greenhouse.
Sow them all from the Spring onwards in succession, 1 cm deep and 5 cm apart and keep moist. ( You can cheat for an early crop by buying a herb pot from the supermarket and repot).
Harvest fresh young leaves as required and add to your salad.
Mustard oriental leaves. These are mostly brassicas. If you like a peppery taste, you will like the different types of Mustard leaves. Some of the varieties are Red Giant, Red Feather, Green frills, Pizzo, Golden Streaks, Ruby Streaks, Mizuna with narrow serrated leaves, Mibuna with wider serrated leaves with a mild mustard flavour. Red giant is a large, vigorous plant with a strong peppery taste, which quickly goes to seed. Therefore, use successive sowings.
Sow them all from the Spring onwards in succession, 1 cm deep and 5 cm apart and keep moist. Thin to 10 cm apart. Can be sown in the Autumn for over wintering under cover. Keep them moist to extend the cropping period and delay them seeding.
Pests include birds and flea beetle which damage the leaves. Grow under fleece protection.
Rocket. Another leaf with a sharp, peppery taste. There are several different sizes and shapes of Rocket leaves. Most varieties have serrated leaves but some have rounded leaves. As most varieties quickly run to seed, it is best to make successive sowings. Wild rocket is a perennial form which can over-winter with some cloche protection.
Sow them all from the Spring onwards in succession, 1 cm deep and 5 cm apart and keep moist.
Sorrel. If you like a sharp, bitter taste then you will like Sorrel. It is a perennial and will benefit from a bit of cloche protection in the Winter. Red Veined Sorrel is very attractive.
Pests. None that I have seen!!
Variegated Land Cress. This is quick growing, hardy bi-annual, with peppery leaves. Will self seed and provides an early Spring crop of leaves, if given cloche protection.
Land Cress or American Cress or Upland Cress. (Barbarea verna)
This is a brassica native to South Western Europe and has been cultivated in the UK since the 17th Century as a leaf vegetable that can be used as a substitute for Water Cress. It is a bi-annual and hardier than Water Cress and can be harvested from early Spring.
Sow 1 cm deep and 5 cm apart with succession sowing in the Spring, and keep moist at all times to delay bolting.
Harvest from when they reach 10 cm high. Cut leaves but leave the growing centre to continue growing for further harvest.
Pests include birds(pigeons are a serious pest in the Spring) and flea beetle which damage the leaves. Grow under fleece protection.
Okahijiki or “land seaweed”. This is a slow growing Japanese succulent leaf with a very slight salty taste. Cut as required. Probably rather over-rated. Grow in a peat based compost and keep moist.
Baby leaves. There are some varieties which are specially selected to be used as young leaves.
Baby leaf radish “Sangria” is one such, with bright green leaves, red stems and a radish flavour.
Italian red-rib dandelion is a Chicory with dandelion shaped leaves with deep red ribs and a slightly bitter taste.
Sow from the Spring onwards in succession, 1 cm deep and 5 cm apart and keep moist.
Harvest fresh young leaves as required.
Komatsuna is a leafy form of Oriental wild turnip which can be used young as salad leaves or stir fry. Vigorous, fast growing, tall, with dark green leaves and quite tough in a cool climate, all parts can be eaten.
Sow 1 cm deep and 5 cm apart with succession sowing in the Spring, and keep moist at all times to prevent bolting.
Comred F1. Ruby red leaves and green stems.
Minutina (Erba stella, bucksthorn). This has succulent, crunchy leaves which taste like a sweeter and nuttier version of parsley.
Harvest the young leaves until the plant starts flowering. The flowers and buds can be eaten as well. The leaves can be used instead of mint jelly with cheese and chicken.
Mitsuba Another of the oriental leaves with nutty overtones.
Flowers for Eating and Decoration.
The Chinese used to eat flowers and add them to recipes some 3000 years ago, while the Romans used them in dishes and sauces.
Grow your own edible flowers to ensure that they are free from pesticides, are clean and fresh and free from pests and diseases.
Apple and crab apple flowers. They have slight floral taste. Infuse petals in whipped cream or ice cream, or add to salads.
Borage flowers. The vibrant blue, sometimes pink, flowers can be used as decoration on salad plates or for adding to your Pims. Warning. Do not eat the flowers as they can have diuretic effects as well as other unfortunate side effects.
Pot Marigold (Candula) The petals have a slight peppery taste and will add a tangy flavour to bread and soup, as well as vibrant colour to salads. The dried petals can be used as a colour substitute for saffron.
Chicory. The bright blue flowers make great decoration. Warning. Contact can irritate the skin or aggravate skin allergies for some people.
Chive, Spring or Welsh onion, Flowers make attractive decoration for salads. Can also be used as a mild onion flavour addition for eating in salads.
Citrus. The flowers have a powerful scent and flavour and are useful in puddings.
Courgette, marrow, pumpkin, Winter Squash, Butternut Squash. They have a slight nectar taste, but are most often stuffed with cheese etc., battered and deep fried and added to pasta.
Lavender flowers add both colour and aroma to a salad. Warning. Lavender Oil (distilled from many flowers) may be poisonous and a maximum of only 2 drops should be used.
Marigolds (Tagetes patula). These have a citrus taste and can be added to salads, but only eat in moderation.
Nasturtium flowers, leaves and seeds add colour and bite to a salad. They have a peppery flavour, and the seeds can be used as a substitute for capers.
Evening primrose (oenothera). They have a taste similar to lettuce and add vibrant colour.
Ornamental Cabbage. Taste like cabbage and young leaves add colour to salads.
Pansy (viola x wittrocklana) and Violets (viola odorata). Flowers taste like lettuce and can be crystallised.
Polyanthus (cowslip), and Primrose. Have a sweet taste and add colour to Spring salads. Flowers can be crystallised.
Rose. Only use nice smelling ones. The petals have a delicate flavour after the white heel of the petal has been removed and can be used in jellies, or can be crystallised.
Rosemary. The flowers and leaves are good with chicken or pork. The flowers can be added to biscuit dough to add flavour.
Runner Bean Flowers. Add a mild bean flavour to salads, and add decoration to cooked runner beans. Only add scarlet runner bean flowers.
Strawberry. Retain their flavour and fragrance, and can be floated in drinks or added to desserts.
Sweet Cicely (myrrhis odorata). The sweet anise-flavoured flowers can be added to apple, plum or rhubarb tarts.
WARNING!!!! The following flowers are POISONOUS and MUST NEVER BE EATEN!!!!!
Anemone, Celandine, Columbine, Christmas Rose, Clematis, Cyclamen, Daffodil, Datura/Angels Trumpets, Delphinium, Foxglove, Fritillary, Globe Flower, Hydrangea, Iris, Laburnum, Leopards Bane, Lily of the Valley, Lupin, Marsh Marigold, Meadow Buttercup, Monkshood, Morning Glory, Pasque Flower, Periwinkle, Pheasants Eye, St John’s Wort, Spurge, Swallow Wort, Sweet Peas, Thorn Apple, Tobacco Plant.