Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: Salad

Swiss Chard White Silver

Swiss Chard White Silver

I have sown seeds of white swiss chard today, May 1st, as I came across them whilst looking for herbs. Swiss Chard is a favourite of mine that we grew every year at the allotment. It is a very giving plant and needs very little maintenance once established. It is a member of the beet family. When we visited the allotment after being away for a whole year the chard was still there looking as healthy and inviting as ever. Day 7 and a few green shoots have appeared in the Chard pot. Potted on today 24th of May.

The variety of chard that I had seeds of is White Silver which has wide white stems. The early leaves can be used in salads. Later, use the tops as you would use spinach. Treated as a separate vegetable the stems can be sliced and cooked in boiling water and eaten with butter, salt and pepper – simple, tender and tasty.

I prefer to chop the whole stem and leaf and toss it in the pan with a little oil and lemon juice. Put the sliced stem in first and cook a little before adding the leaf as it takes a little longer to soften whereas the leaf wilts very quickly. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Perfect beside fish or steak.

Swiss Chard White Silver

White Silver is a classic Swiss Chard with thick white stems and glossy, rich green leaves. With an RHS Award of Garden Merit, this robust leaf beet is a versatile addition to the vegetable plot or even the flower border. Baby leaves can be used in salads while the juicy, mature stems can be chopped and steamed, or used to add a sweet crunch to stir-fries. Mature leaves can be used as a delicious spinach substitute. Sow Swiss Chard ‘White Silver’ up until August for cropping into the New Year. Thompson&Morgan.

Swiss Chard

Finally, Swiss Chard is very good for you being naturally low in calories and carbohydrates but very high in Vitamins K, A and C. A diet rich in a variety of vegetables and fruits has been shown to lower heart disease risk factors, Swiss chard is an excellent source of potassium, calcium and magnesium, minerals that help maintain healthy blood pressure. There is also current research that indicates that these leafy greens can actually lower LDL cholesterol.

Strawberries, Salad and New Potatoes

Once again I have brought home a large bowl of strawberries and a couple of massive butterhead lettuces. I also managed to get enough potatoes Sharps Express for a meal tonight. The potatoes have been slow to grow as we had a cold start to the season followed by a very long dry period. The tops are looking green, lush and healthy but few potatoes up to now which is bad news in one way but good news for my belly because I can’t resist freshly dug potatoes.

Rain at Last

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain. We have had a couple of weeks without a drop  and have enjoyed rising temperatures and sunshine which have been welcome after the coldest Winter in a decade. Ideally I would want light rain overnight every night followed by dry sunny days but unfortunately nature isn’t controlled by a switch so we have to deal with what we get and in this country we are blessed with mild, changeable weather. However the sound of rain this morning was welcome. The garden and the allotment plot were dry and dusty which is not great for new plants and seedlings or the newly seeded lawn at home. We spent a couple of hours this morning at home in the garden then popped to the plots for an hour. The rain kept off and the hour turned into four hours. We sowed more seeds of Parsnip Hollow Crown and Carrot Nantes into the bottom bed. There was great excitement when we saw two asparagus spears peeping through already.

Rob put in some Peas Kelvedon Wonder in the bottom brassica tunnel. I had been swishing them for a few days and they were already germinated so should be off to a good start.  The Hurst Green Shaft that I put in the top tunnel are well up now and the Meteor are showing through too. Rob has moved the obelisk that I grow the Sweet Peas up and I have planted the Spencer Mixed raised from seed at home. They are now situated at the bottom of the plot by the seating area.We came home with another bunch of Raddish French Breakfast, my favourite. I shall have to sow more next time we go down. At home I have pricked out the Gardeners Delight seedlings and potted on some Alicante and Black Cherry.

Growing Nasturtium in The Salad Bed – Allotment 2008

Last year I grew Nasturtium along the edges of the salad bed. I sowed them directly into the ground and was overwhelmed by how vigorously they eventually grew. Unfortunately they stifled the smaller plants and moved over to cover the corn bed too. As the corn was high they survived and may even have benefitted from the moisture that was not lost because the Nasturtium shaded the ground between the corn plants. I saved loads of seed at the end of the season. This year I want to be a bit more in control and so have sown a tray indoors. I shall probably sow some seeds over in the hedge on plot 18 as it is all brambles and hawthorne at present not to mention a fair bit of rubble and bricks so I hope that they will mask it a little.

nasturtion

Sow directly March-May, flowers June-September. Nasturtiums flower abundantly in poor soil and transform hot, dry places into a blaze of colour. Flowers are edible, and ideal for use in salads.

 

 

 

Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Peppers

gardeners delightThis morning I have sowed seeds of Tomato Gardeners Delight, Sungold, Dombito (Beefsteak), Alicante and Totem. Cucumber Burpless, Lemon, Sunsweet and Gherkin. Peppers Californian Wonder, Yellow, Green and Red. They were sown in modules with the tomatoes covered with damp newspaper, for damp darkness, and the cucumber and peppers under clear polythene for damp and light. Hope that is right. We should know in 7-10 days when they should have germinated. I am keeping them in the house for the moment and will put them in the cold greenhouse later on.