Often considered a weed, corn salad is a super-hardy and low-growing winter salad with a mild, nutty flavour. It is one of the many winter-hardy salad leaves we sow in the late summer and early autumn to last through the winter. We generally do a couple of sowings every two to three weeks from September to keep us going with occasional pickings of winter leaves until the new season salads arrive in spring.
I’ve used two different methods for sowing corn salad and haven’t noticed any real difference between the two. You can either sow it direct in the soil (in drills around 10cm apart) or in module trays for later transplanting (spacing the plants 10cm apart). Germination takes about 1-2 weeks. Corn salad will grow in most soils - it’s not fussy. It’s best sown at the end of the year, and won't do so well in the hotter weather of summer. So it’s best sown from the end of August to October.
Keep the area weed free and moist if the weather is dry. Corn salad will get to about 10cm high and wide.
Corn salad will be ready to crop in about 10 weeks. You can either harvest the whole plant or cut them down at the soil and see if they will grow back (you might get a second growth this way). Alternatively take the outer leaves only on plants to encourage re-growth. The plants will run to seed eventually in the spring if left in the soil. A groundnut or peanut oil will bring out the lovely nutty flavour in a salad.
Mildew can be an issue in the autumn/winter polytunnel if you don’t keep it well ventilated. Slugs will be partial to it too - so time to put the beer traps back in action.
Corn salad is a surprisingly strong performer when it comes to nutrition and is one of the healthiest of all salads. It has three times as much vitamin C as lettuce and more iron than spinach.
Corn Salad is often known as Lamb’s Lettuce.