Salad Surprises and fruity delights
Turnips generally come either as salad types or maincrops – you’ll guess from its name what category our first new introduction falls into. The white flesh of ‘Salad Delight’ is said to be succulent and can be grated into salads, while the tops may be steamed and eaten as a spinach substitute.
Lettuces can be grown all year round if you choose the right varieties, but all tend to suffer in the summer when temperatures rise, suffering from growth checks and tip burn which lowers the quality of the leaves. ’Warpath’ is a cross between iceberg and cos types: it can be harvested from July to September, maturing in 75 days.
Crosses between lettuce types are the latest thing in an effort to combine the best features of both parents. One of the vanguards is ‘Cosberg Sweet Success F1’. This cos/iceberg cross produces the cupped shape of the cos and crunch of an iceberg. This together with its tolerance to heat makes it ideal for filling with warm foods such as potatoes. Harvest from April to October.
Radishes are great for adding colour and a touch of heat to a green salad. Radish ‘Mars F1’ produces bright red roots which are billed as uniform, mild and crisp. Sow outside or under cover for early crops.
Rocket has become a popular salad leaf in recent years and is well-known for its peppery taste. The new and exclusive ’Wasabi Rocket’ from the US has a definite hint of wasabi – the root used to add heat to so many oriental dishes. Quick and easy to grow, it can be sown in succession for much of the year in trays and pots fit is not winter hardy so sow inside in the colder months). Be warned: the older the plants, the hotter the leaves.
Rocket Astra’ is being listed by a couple of seed companies as a replacement for the popular ’Skyrocket’. ’Astra’ is said to be fast-growing and reliable even under poor soil conditions.
Cucumber ‘Greenfit F1’ is an all-female greenhouse type producing long, straight fruits that make it great for slicing, but also for the showbench.
Peppers both sweet and hot are ever popular. Sweet peppers can be rather less fruitful in our climate than their hotter cousins, but new ’Midas’, a cross between both types, is said to be as heavy cropping as any hot pepper. Mild flavor, UK bred.
If you love celery to give your salads that lovely crunch try ’Titmus’, a UK-bred variety with good taste and smooth green stems. Good resistance to disease and bolting for a longer harvest period.