This week we take a break from our usual Polyculture Project update, and instead have a post from Sophie about her recent trip to a beautiful garden in west Wales.
Having an abundance of blooms throughout the year is vital to attract beneficial organisms to our gardens, but ideally we would like to encourage them to reside and breed there. The surest and simplest way to attract and provide for a broad range of wildlife into our landscapes is to include (or preserve) a diversity of habitat. The edges between habitats will often present changes in air temperature, vapour, soil moisture, light intensity, and nutrient availability, encouraging growth of opportunistic species there. A mosaic of habitat is therefore a great way of welcoming wild allies into our landscapes. Broadly speaking, the habitats may be categorised as grassland, woodland and forest, hedgerows and scrub, heathland and wetland/aquatic.
One of the plants that caught my attention was a patch of Salsola soda – Agretti, growing in the greenhouse. I hadn’t heard of this plant before, but while researching it I learned that it’s a succulant annual closely related to Salicornia europaea – Samphire and that it appears to be trending with some top chefs. Claire said she was experimenting with it this year, and had been harvesting the tips which were excellent in a stir fry, and may also be eaten raw. I found an article here with some more information on growing Agretti and with links to some tasty looking recipes.