Salad Leaf of the Month: Marvel of Four Seasons

This month the Leaf of the Month is Marvel of Four Seasons.

In 1885, Marvel of Four Seasons book was listed as the most “highly coloured of all the Lettuces grown about Paris.”
Today, if there was an award for the most colours and the most textures in one leaf here at Rocker, then Marvel of Four Seasons would be a clear winner. It is butterhead lettuce that manages to create red, gold, green, bronze and many other tints in leaves that have a variety of textures in one leaf.

It has been growing really well this season. It produces a rosette shaped head, which responds well to cut and come again, unlike many other butterheads.

It is an old heirloom variety, so has been around for many years before its recognition in Vilmorin’s 1885 book “The Vegetable Garden.”

Ours have come from The Organic Centre and The Seed Co-operative (where it is known as Merveille des Quatre Saisons).

Salad Leaf of the Month: Little Leprechaun

We love our leaves at Rocker Organic Farm, so we pick one variety each month to celebrate it.

We enjoy having a wide range of leaves in our salad bags, but if we could only have one, then it would be Little Leprechaun. It is a lovely red tinged semi-cos lettuce. Crisp, with a beautiful shine to it. It kept going through the long winter and is now coming into its own as Spring arrives.

Although a very modern looking leaf, it is actually an Eighteenth Century Heirloom variety. Also known as Cimarron, it seems to grow well in both the heat and the cold. It was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society Award of Garden Merit in 1999.

We source our Demeter certified Little Leprechaun seed from Fruit Hill Farm or The Seed Co-operative

Salad leaf of the month: Endive

We love our leaves at Rocker Organic Farm. So we choose one each month to celebrate.

As our Summer leaves are slowly gaining strength, it is great to celebrate those leaves that have kept going strong through the Autumn and the Winter. Of all the Winter leaves, Endive is the one that most looks like a Summer lettuce leaves. We plant Escarole, a lovely green frilly leaf, rather than its other more chicory related varieties.

There is a slight bitterness to its taste, but this works well in a mixed salad. Its texture is great in the salad bowl. Strangely, slugs seem to love living in it, but rarely seem to nibble the leaves.

Escarole is high in vitamin A, fiber, calcium, iron and vitamin C, containing two or three times the amount found in iceberg lettuce. It is also a good source of Vitamin K.

We grow Endive all year round, but it the service it has given over the last few months that it earns our respect.

Our seeds came from The Organic Centre in County Leitrim.

Salad Leaf of the Month: Winter Purslane

We love our leaves at Rocker Organic Farm. So we choose one each month to celebrate.

At this time of the year, most leaves aren’t at their best in terms of growth. Even those that are keeping going have slowed right down, given the short amount of daylight. One very notable exception is Winter Purslane.

As the name suggests, it thrives in the winter. It produces beautiful leaves with the flesh of them being almost meaty.

Whilst not the easiest leaf to pick, it rewards the picker with a distinctive leaf that looks great in a winter salad bag. By itself, it can form the main ingredient for a hearty salad with apples and walnuts. Soup is another possibility.

Its latin name, Claytonia perfoliata, doesn’t reveal much, its other name, Miner’s Lettuce does. Its origins are in North America, so it became popular in the California Gold Rush as an excellent source of Vitamin C and Beta Carotene.

A helping hand

It is always amazing how seeds will struggle into life in the hardest of conditions, like this little spinach seedling here.

We’ve started an experiment to give a helping hand this time year with our new LED light unit. It uses red light to aid initial growth, then blue light for leaf formation. No short Winter days for these seeds. They’ll be enjoying 18 hours a day of perfect light.