Why I plant salad leaves in shade – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

I’ve been planting this week. I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed by the chilly weather. I’m sure there was talk of a heat wave, but if it happened, it definitely missed me and my veg patch. It feels like early April, not mid May! Still, it’s not frosty, and I am getting plants in the ground so hopefully it will warm up properly soon.

I always plant my salad leaves – lettuces, wild rocket, frills mustard, mizuna and endives – in a bed that is quite shaded by a clump of bamboo. I do this on purpose, because it helps to keep the plants a bit cooler and less likely to bolt. I’d swear by this little gardening tactic, and totally believe that some shade is preferable for growing these plants. My rocket, in particular, always stays leafy for much longer when I plant it in the shade – when I have planted it in full sun, it hasn’t taken much time at all for the plants to start producing their little yellow flowers. They’re pretty, but I wanted the leaves first!

I think that this is my top tip for growing salads – plant the leaves in a spot that gets some shade, and keep them well watered. Cooler, more moist soil will prevent them from bolting so fast.