So for those of you that thought growing salad mix in the wet season just wasn’t happening, here is some inspiration… (maybe the wet season is what isn’t happening, so I don’t want to be too confusing, but hey you know what I mean, that humid sticky time of year that many plants don’t like, like rocket, that often it rains a lot and sometimes it doesn’t- that time of year- you can still grow these awesome greens!!)
A while ago I always bought “interstate” salad mix in the wet season – things like rocket, baby spinach and baby kale. These and so much more grow well here in the dry season, but what about the wet?
Well I discovered with the help of a very good green grower (Aweganic Dan) that lots more leaves can be used as tasty greens in salads and lots of them grow in our wet season, in fact were my garden already!
Here are some wonderful and easily grown greens that grow all year and are great mixed together to make a salad mix or add into any delicious local salad…
Amaranth (purple)- Amaranthus sp. – Popularly grown as a grain. Great leaf, loved in Indonesia.
Amaranth (green)- Amaranthus sp.
Egyptian spinach or salad mellow- Corchorus olitorius Watch this one, it has popping seeds and comes up everywhere! Very popular in the Middle East (hence the name)
Kangkong (baby leaf)- Ipomea aquatica (TOP) Water spinach- loves a bath and thrives in the wet season. It is used in stir fries as a larger leaf or with the stem. From South East Asia.
Cosmos– Cosmos caudatus- (BOTTOM) A tropical cosmos, often planted as a companion plant or ornamental with pretty orangey flowers turing yellow, fresh and slightly bitter taste. Native to South America.
Purple Basil- Oscimum basilicum (TOP) Basil- the easiest grown wet season herb in the world- adds a little floral zing to the salad, also can use Thai basil.
Sweet Leaf- Sauropus androgynus (BOTTOM) A wonderful bushy plant that is perennial and can be shaped into hedges. It has a sweet pea tasting leaf, grows easily from cuttings and is originally from SE Asia. It has high levels of Vitamin A, B and C. It is also cooked in Asia, but is so good raw I don’t know why you would- makes great pesto too!
Wild Pepper Leaf- Piper Sarmentosum (TOP) This is a great ground cover and certainly wild- it can take over if you don’t watch it. It is not the same species as the pepper used as spice (Piper nigrum, which grows more upright) and nor is it Betel leaf (Piper betel) although the leaves are very similar. This leaf, when young is great in salads and gives a fragrant peppery taste. It is also used to wrap food, as the leaves get large (4-5cm) and can be added to rice for flavouring.
Young sweet potato leaf- Ipomoea batatas (BOTTOM) is also really fantastic as an uncooked salad green- pick the youngest leaves, you will have heaps in the wet season.
And finally the flower of Cosmos– Cosmos caudatus- petals can be used in salads and add coulour too!
Also you can use Gota Kola, Ceylon spinach and Brazilian Spinach