Corn Salad, Lamb’s Lettuce, Valerianella
Corn Salad or Lamb’s Lettuce?
Corn salad, also known as lamb’s lettuce, is a hardy, low-growing, broad-leaved annual. It provides a useful substitute for lettuce in early spring and from autumn to winter, and it may be cropped through summer, by successional sowings.
Sown in early autumn, the plants will provide leaves later in autumn and (under cloches) in winter. Sown in late winter (under cloches) to spring it will provide crops in spring and early summer. Sow the seeds in the main plot spaced 75-100 mm (3 —4 in) apart in a small group or groups; cover them with a light sprinkling ofand water lightly. Thin out to one plant per growing point if two or more seeds germinate at any one point. It may also be grown in pots or tubs.
Corn salad needs a well-drained, rich soil — preferably one manured or composted for a previous crop. Failing this, dig compost into the soil a month or two before sowing and allow it to settle. Choose a sunny, sheltered site; some shade is tolerated. The plants must be kept well watered in dry weather or they will produce poor leaves and run to seed.
Harvest when the plants have produced four or five leaves by gently pulling off one or two from each plant; always leave some for the plant to grow on with.
The usual method is to pull up whole plants and use all the leaves at one time; when the plants have been grown quickly the leaves are very tender. Alternatively, if the seedlings are first thinned out to 4-1/2 in., and then thinned later to 9 in. apart when the plants need extra room, the thinnings are particularly tasty.
French Cabbaging, very hardy. Dark green leaves in attractive rosettes.
Italian Lettuce Leaved, only suitable for the south and south-west. Excellent flavour.
Large-Seeded English, very hardy. Large greyish-green leaves. Particularly suited to the Midlands.
Site: Open but sheltered
Soil: Good, moisture-retentive
Sow: Autumn or late-winter to spring
Harvest: Autumn to winter and spring to summer, depending on when sown