Spicy leaves to make a tasty treat

Gardeners who like flavoursome salads will soon be able to take pleasure in making their own, taken from the produce of their gardens and greenhouses.

One popular and tasty variety to grow is the Mediterranean rocket leaf, which can be grown straight into the UK soil.

Rows should be no longer than two metres to start off with, but Gardeners World recommends that continuous sowing through spring and summer should keep supply levels stocked up.

Another trick the website suggests is using horticultural fleece to protect the plants from cold and pests.

"Flea beetle can be a problem in summer, nibbling holes in rocket leaves," advises Gardeners World editor Adam Pasco.

"The best defence is to cover the row with a length of horticultural fleece or a fleece-covered mini tunnel."

This will also keep the plants growing well into autumn and even through the first frosts.

Rocket is a strong, peppery leaf with jagged-edges and combines well with ingredients such as Parmesan cheese and pine nuts, according to waitrose.com.