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Notes From A Scottish Garden #1 - The first salad

Hello from bonny Southwest Scotland! It is June, and I alternate between basking in the recent glorious sun and running from midges. I have spent the last few months turning our gravel front garden into grass, wildflowers, and a food garden. I feel very lucky to have space to grow food and flowers. All my previous gardens were on the front steps of London flats, and I am both excited and overwhelmed by the space I have to grow. The last few months were a frenzy of seed sowing, potting on, and forcing people to take plants because I had too many.

And yesterday I gathered the leaves for my first salad.

I never really liked salads until I started volunteering in the community growing space. I thought soggy iceberg lettuce was all a salad could be. As my time with community gardens continued, I ate all manner of leafy greens, learning to love all the different tastes and textures.

So here we have little shungiku (edible chrysanthemum) leaves, land cress, perennial wall rocket, pea shoots, nasturtium leaves, giant mustard leaves that I did not sow, but are a gift that pops up in pots, mizuna, and the first wee Blauwschokker peas.

It was delicious for a number of reasons. The plants are grown in beds built from old heat-treated pallets, nestled in compost from my compost bays, with food waste from my own kitchen and my neighbour’s kitchen. I sowed some of the seeds, which tell a story of my life before I moved here- the shungiku seeds from my dear friend and head grower Vicky Chown, the Blauwschokker seeds from a fellow grower at last year’s Seed Saving Network seed swap. And some of the plants come from my life here, the mizuna plant from a local plant swap, the nasturtium plants that popped up in the gravel drive, probably grown by the previous tenant.

And so I picked each leaf, each pea, and thanked the plant, the friend, the soil, the story. Lucky, lucky me.

Wishing you lots of leafy greens this summer!


'Notes From A Scottish Garden' is a monthly collaboration with Sonia Rego, a writer, grower and outdoor guide who previously managed our Seed Saving Network before moving to the Scottish Lowlands.


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