I’ve been reading John Evelyn’s “A Discourse on Sallets” and being a retro-romantic reactionary I found it all very fascinating. Reading it I was reminded that sallet might be making a comeback as a permaculture term for perennial salad plants. It is a middle (read old) English spelling for salad. Many of the herbs and leaves in Evelyn’s book are familiar (lettuce, parsley, borage) others almost forgotten (skirret, good king henry). But not to Permaculturists who are familiar with such plants as skirret and good king henry because they are perennial edibles. Not all perennial edibles are all that great, however. Martin Crawford in his “Creating a Forest Garden” recommends young lime leaves (lime as in linden tree) in salads, which as much as I respect the really great research Martin has done, are revolting. So here are my selections for a perennial salad that actually taste nice and also can be grown perennially. Read More
Well first off I failed with the aubergines – it died a couple of months back and I forgot to let you all know. I’ve never got this to work even though Geoff Hamilton (the real Gardeners World presenter according to my dad – sorry Monty) says it is a perennial in two of his books. It may just be I haven’t twigged some really important aspect of overwintering it. If anyone knows how to do this please – I beg of you – drop me a line below.
The chillis are doing well and are showing only minor signs of being annoyed by winter. They are both still green. The African Blue Basil, as a perennial woody shrub, is still alive and both in leaf and in flower. I took 4 cuttings as an insurance policy and these, unfortunately, are taking a battering from some unseen pest. It’s not red spider mite like last time (there are no little orange bits nor wispy webs) but it is defoliating my cuttings. I need to pot them up and inspect them for pests. Read More
I must apologise for the length of time between posts but my garden is in a cool temperate zone in the northern hemisphere and we are in the depths of winter. There is not much time to garden with the reduced daylight hours and nothing is growing much anyway. It is quite entertaining to look at England’s climate through the eyes of my Amrikan friend who is stunned to find he is able to overwinter brassicas, artichokes and such things here. We complain of the weather but really we are very fortunate, especially in the south of England. Read More
Perennial Vegetables by Martin Crawford (along with Forest Gardening by the same) is my bible. All the pages are falling out because I read it so often. I agree with the basic premise of it: that annual vegetables are hard work and suck the ground dry of nutrients, and that perennial vegetables give year on year. I don’t agree that all of the vegetables included in his books are actually that edible. The idea is that you replace all your annual veg with perennial versions – so replace carrots with scorzonera, ragged jack kale with daubenton kale, onions with shallots and peas with perennial sweet peas. Unfortunately eating sweet peas (lathyrus) will paralyze your legs if you eat them as a staple for weeks on end. So…bog standard annual green peas it is then!. Read More