Salad Days

Less than four weeks ago these little green whippernsnappers were floppy and uninspired. And planted really crookedly by some flaming amateur.


Despite their snug quarters and my long history of killing plants, they're actually doing pretty well now!



So are the herbs, despite repeated attacks.


The rocket plants were reduced to shreds by the same boofheaded creature but after a week in the greenhouse ICU, they were back from the brink!


NB: Rocket means arugula in the American language. Rocket is also a Scots word for a crazy person. Try it on your friends today, ya mad rockets!

The greenhouse also features a random pile o bubble wrap and this stunning portrait of Urquhart Castle.


This flower has nothing to do with our efforts, it just appeared on Friday. It's a biggun. Does anyone know what it is?


Today I finally chopped down some salad. That is once I'd removed the stray feathers and dodged the leaves anointed with pheasant crap. But there was plenty of goodness left. Oh YEAH… it was tasty! And the rocket was the most peppery and delicious I'd ever eaten. Much better than paying 99p for a withered bag of supermarket stuff. I go through about three bags of various salad leaves a week so this is GREEN GOLD, baby!


39 thoughts on “Salad Days

  1. Yep, I see that someone else has already answered. Peonys have the most heavenly scent! Also, ants–at least here in the U.S., are required to march up and eat around the bud, to help it open. So cool.
    Your greens look so pretty. You must be loving living in your new digs. Hey, pun intended!

  2. Well done at raising your own salad! I get a huge kick out of how it’s called “rocket” – I’m going to have to start saying that.

  3. wow — your lettuce looks superb! i am a terrible grower-of-lettuce. so bad, in fact, that i’ve decided to give it up after this year. other things i can grow fairly well, but lettuce eludes me. darn stuff.

  4. hey! Not sure if you know (or, if i am even right) but when you use your lettuce, cut near the stalk/ground just the outer most leaves… since the lettuce (usually) grows from the centre outwards. Then, you should be able to keep that lettuce going all summer… it worked for us last year but i’m not sure if that’s the “official” way of harvesting lettuce!


  5. Man, I wish I had a back yard so I could try gardening. I LOVE the face on your arugula. HA! I saw an infomercial for something called the Topsy Turvy which lets you grow tomato plants upside down from a hanging bag. It looks completely absurd, but I am tempted to get one, as I am with most products advertised in infomercials.

  6. While very happy for you and your lettuce, I am mad at my own finger-sized, half eaten lettuce shoots. But I have successfully eaten about 20 green beans from our “garden.” Yippee. I still think you are a brat for having a produce department in your yard.

  7. Gardens are amazing. Its like you can grow stuff and eat it! At my old place, I had a capsicum plant which magically had capsicums on it like a year every time I wanted one! So much easier than running to the supermarket. Also had some Vietnamese mint that grew forever on the window sill, never changed the water just let it get all dank and swampy πŸ™‚

    Bonus flower is awesome too.

  8. You know, I lived in the US for 10 years and never made the connection between rocket and arugala. I feel so… slow.


  9. Beautiful salad! I’m rather garden obsessed and we just had our first “garden dinner” last night so I have to share…
    Salad with beet root, fava beans, onion, rocket, land cress, nasturtium, marjoram, parsley, coriander, dandelion leaves, and pea shoots all from the garden and some goats cheese.
    Radish salad with orange blossom water and nigella seed dressing
    Beet greens sauted with garlic and olive oil
    Courgette, courgette flower and spinach omlette

    It was so exciting to have almost the whole meal out of our little plot in the back yard! If only we had chickens, the omlette could have really been home grown… And maybe a goat for the cheese? Sadly, I’m heading off for 3 months to the USA (well, its not that bad) so I’ll miss the main growing season- all the strawberries are ready next week, I think, and my DH will eat them all without me.

  10. Oh my word, I am mightily envious! All my gardening efforts where destroyed by snails in the first instance. Replanting, resowing, repotting and lots of TLC has resulted in lots of new growth, and I have hope, but nothing edible yet. I’m almost certain I will be eating carrots, potatoes and spring onions soonish though!

  11. Wow – excellent crop growing! With a greenhouse you can grow salad well into the autumn. I agree – homegrown rocket tastes waaaay better than shop bought stuff. πŸ™‚

  12. it’s so satisfying isn’t it?? our strawberry patch is going great guns, tomatoes are done for the summer, got lots back there this year. all sorts of herbs and tasty things but no lettuce yet. Will so rock to have a big garden. Did the green house come with your place or is that something you had to set up in your own time?

  13. So jealous, my garden last spring/summer was a bit of a failure.. all that work for one bloody salad.
    And it’s predicted to snow in Canberra tonight so I can kiss goodbye to my “spring” onions..

    On another note, do you ever find that if you haven’t eaten rocket for a while and you eat a whole salad of it… you get really bad wind?

  14. Yes, very lucky you -it’s a peony. Trying to grow one myself – pink. I have greenhouse envy. Is that possible? Absolutely. Good for you for growing salady stuff in Scotland!!! Down south, my salad leaves are no bigger than clover!

    Anyway, here’s some stuff about peonies…

    An auspicious flower, the peony is known as the flower of riches and honor and is a emblem of wealth and distinction. It symbolizes prosperity, happiness, and peace. Chinese peony paintings are hung in the home for good luck and in the office place for prosperous business. It is also regarded as an omen of good fortune. An emblem of love and affection, the peony is often a symbol of feminine beauty.

    So now you know – tend to it with much care! And enjoy. Maybe you’ll get your cash back from Iceland?? I hope the flower means you will! : )


  15. A peony! Well there you go. Thanks for your comments guys, nice to see all the green thumbs coming out of the woodwork.

    @MrsLard – thank you! we got our cash back, hurrah! just need to save more for a house deposit now coz the banks want much higher % since the whole collapse mess..

    @DutchCat – the greenhouse came with the house, lucky eh? we’re renting so we’re just growing things in pots so we can take them if we get kicked out *touch wood*

    @LaLa – I didn’t experience any rocket/farting connection last nigth but then again I only had a few sprigs! Hehe.

  16. I totally missed the boat on planting lettuce in containers! Crap! I wanted to grow lettuce this year, but didn’t have room in my gardens and the weather was so yuck that I couldn’t build a new one in time to get the lettuce in the ground. Hmmmm….maybe it’s not too late, though. Thanks for your gardening wisdom, darlin’! And thanks for the “rocket” explanation. I’ll be using that πŸ˜‰

  17. What a beautiful garden! I’m so jealous πŸ˜€

    Loving the extra tidbit about “rocket” being a crazy person. That may well be my new favorite word/usage!

  18. Look at your green thumb! I’m jealous! Although in my city apt. it would have to be one of those indoor terrarium (sp?) thingies. Maybe worth it, at least for herbs! I bet that salad tasted 10x better coming from your own garden. πŸ™‚

  19. Definitely a peony. We have one that dramatic bright pink color too – so pretty (in fact I liked the color so much I had my wedding dress made in the same colour which is possibly a bit sad but I liked it).

    Well done on all the vegetable growing – it all looks very lush and green. I’m a gardening newbie this year and I still can’t believe how fab it is that all the spinach and lettuce stuff just grows and grows and you don’t have buy those Β£2 bags from the shops ever. Sadly much of my lettuce has grown a bit too well and has gone to seed already. In fact I’m just about to get off the internet and get out there to plant some more.

  20. Just an FYI about peonies…

    In the states, they are pollinated primarily by ants, so if you want to cut a few to bring inside, make sure you thoroughly soak the cut flowers upside down in a bucket of water for a while to get the ants out. If you don’t, the ants won’t be harmful, but they will be a nuisance.

    And everything looks awesome – all green and happy! Congrats on the gardening success. You should give nasturtiums a try. They’re edible flowers, with a peppery flavor. They look excellent thrown onto a plate of salad. And they thrive in cooler weather.

  21. I have a fab peony that was the only decent plant when I moved into my house. I have been very crafty and Martha Stewartish by pressing the petals in old books to be used as confetti at friends weddings. I’m not sure what the pronunciation is in your part of Scotland but Aberdonians say “Peeny rose” which I think is quite endearing!!

  22. I *love* the “check me out, I’m not dead yet” picture. I feel the same way with plants, I’m glad it’s not a crime or I would SO be in jail.

  23. It’s a peony, my favorite flower. It’s actually China’s country flower, because it brings good luck! πŸ™‚

  24. I just received your book last week and so far I feel like I am reading my life…I am in amazement..I bought your book for some inspiration because I started a new transformation in my life in January and I am now down 40 pounds so far..I have 70 more to go! I felt stuck and decided to try your book for help..Thanks for writing your journey..I hope to do the same thing someday. hugs!

  25. I was gonna be all proud and tell you it’s a Peony, but I think others have covered that…lol. It’s really pretty though, they’re some of my favorite flowers.

    Great job on the getting the greens to grow…maybe your thumb’s not brown afterall.

  26. Mmm, so jealous! I want to grow baby spinach. Wait, CAN you grow baby spinach…? Or is it just an immature adult spinach? Probably should investigate.

  27. LOVE growing my own veggies…so much nicer than what you get at the market. You know what’s gone into it, too, which is really nice.

  28. Hey! I’ve got one of those flowers in my back garden too! It pops up every year, waves lasciviously at us for a few days and then vanishes. And now I know what it is. Cool. And you should see my garlic – it’s about a foot high now! We so need our own gardening show, you know. Beechgrove Garden for numpties!

  29. tomatoes are the only eat-able plants here this year. And they are doing well.

    My peony is in bloom here too – funny that it would be the same time as there.

  30. That looks SOO much healthier than that bagged crap at the supermarket! I can’t wait for our garden to start sprouting food!

  31. Your green thumb has inspired me to finally plant a wee garden! I think about it every spring but never actually do it. This year is the year! πŸ˜‰

  32. I am mucho impressed girl, mucho! And for me being a crap veggo in winter, you’ve inspired me to have a great big salad for lunch πŸ™‚

  33. Not sure what the red flower is but sometimes when I let my lettuce “bolt” for too long, it comes out with adorable little white flowers (a nice compensation for not actually being able to eat the lettuce).

    Anyway, great photos! Very inspiring – perhaps I’ll actually do something about *my* garden today! πŸ˜‰

  34. I’m so excited that someone else is growing their own salad! Me too. Just planted spinach today, lettuce later this week, when I can put up my bird net – dang pigeons! I know exactly how you feel. They’ve gone through more basil and tomato plants than I can count. Rrrrrrr… they make me angry!

Comments are now closed on all Dietgirl posts. For fresh conversation please visit me at