Corn salad (lamb’s
lettuce) will never win any prizes in a gourmet
contest, despite what the over-optimistic catalogues
may tell you. Its sole advantage over lettuce
is that its small leaves can be picked outdoors
between November and January when home-grown saladings
are distinctly rare.
It will grow in nearly all soils and situations
but you may need to guard against birds and slugs
at the early stages. Sow in August or September,
½ in (1cm) deep in drills 6in (15cm) apart.
Use the thinnings in the kitchen and leave plants
at 4-6in (10-15cm) spacings to mature. During
winter pick a few leaves from each plant when
you harvest – never strip a stem bare. A
trouble-free plant, but you will have to ensure
that weeds do not swamp this lowly vegetable.
In the kitchen wash the leaves thoroughly to remove
grit. Use them as a substitute for lettuce –
if you find the flavour a little too bitter, blanch
the leaves before the next picking by covering
the plants with a box or pot for a few days.