Red leafed chicory
These plants do well in most soils and like full sun to semi-shade, are easily grown from seed and become bitter once the plants start to flower and go to seed. But before that happens you will get months of delicious and healthy leaves.
Chicory Cichorium intybus is a herbaceous perennial that grows from a strong tap root with large leaves. Blue flowers appear on long stalks in the second year. It is frost and drought tolerant, and makes a good winter salad crop in cooler regions. Young leaves have a delicious slightly bitter flavour. Older plants are eaten as vegetables. Some varieties are ‘Red Treviso’, ‘Palla Rossa’, ‘Catalogna Emerald’. Endive Cichorium endiva is closely related to chicory, grows in the same way and is a useful cool season salad plant. The flavour is mild, nutty and less bitter. Some varieties are ‘Pancalleri Fine Cut’, ‘Blonde Full Heart’, ‘Moss Curled’. Read more
Corn salad has mild, almost melt in the mouth leaves
The lovely autumn days entice me into the garden where I have been madly weeding and cutting back the prolific summer growth. I love this time of year when the soil is still warm, so plants are still growing, but the intense heat has gone. Two plants that come into their own now are corn salad and landcress. These are both annuals (landcress is sometimes biennial) that self sow around my garden providing salad greens right though autumn and winter.
Corn salad (Valerianella locusta) is also known as lamb’s lettuce, and has a delicate very mild flavour with soft leaves that almost melt in the mouth. The leaves are pale green and rounded and grow in small clumps. You can pick the leaves individually or cut whole plants just above the ground, they will re-shoot. Plants only reach about 30cm in height. There are cultivars with golden, extra large and darker green leaves. Grow corn salad in temperate and cold regions from seed sown in autumn, winter and spring—in hot weather it goes to seed almost immediately. I find that mine goes to seed in spring, then disappears until autumn when the plants appear again in a dense clump. Read more