Young leaves make very tasty salads, you can grow them ready mixed just like those in bags at the supermarket, they are very quick compared more conventional lettuce, and require very little space to grow. The easiest way to start is use seed mixture such as ‘Salidini’. The Organic Gardening Catalogue (http://www.organiccatalogue.com) offers a good range of spicy, oriental and Mediterranean mixtures.
You can sow them any time from April until August and they’ll be ready for cutting in about 4 to 6 weeks when the leaves are about 8 to 10cm high. You can graze them gradually with scissors as you need them or harvest the whole lot in one go. Leave about 1cm of stem, and you’ll get a second crop of leaves within a couple of weeks. Occasionally, you can get a third cutting but by that time it’s better to sow some more.
If you want to have a go at experimenting yourself, cos lettuce, Chinese greens, beetroot, chicory, mustard, broccoli, rocket, and basil are all delicious when eaten as baby leaves.
Written By Alistair Ayres