Today we have been busy planting salads in the Garden.
If you get impatient with gardening and like to see some results quickly, try growing some salad! You can have a plate of freshly grown salad leaves in as little as 4 weeks! How great is that!
Planting Salad leaves is so easy! And guess what?! They’ll grow in the tiniest of spaces too! A little pot or box by your back door or on the balcony is all you need!
Growing your own salad and lettuce
So let’s begin! We have our seeds ready! There are loads of different varieties of each plant so get experimenting and try a few out!
The best thing to do is plant a little patch of your salad leaves/lettuces every couple of weeks throughout the summer. Doing it this way will ensure you don’t have too much at once but instead have a continuous supply throughout the summer. You can even buy late summer/early autumn varieties of salad seeds which are great for extending your season well into the autumn months too!
Set out your patch or pot ready for these little light seeds. Be sure you to start with a moist soil so you don’t wash them away by watering them after you have planted them.
How to grow your own salad
Ideally the soil should be finely raked to a fine tilth with stones and clumps removed. Take yours seeds out of the packet and sprinkle them over your soil, if you are planting whole lettuce plants rather than seeds, it might be better to start these off in a seed tray where you can thin them out and grow them on separately into little lettuce plants before planting them out. Your seeds will go further this way. There is some advice about planting seeds here. When you are ready to plant them outside (wait until they are little plants with a few leaves), space them in the ground with room for them to grow. This can depend on the variety so check the packet but usually 30cm in between is enough.
Sprinkle a fine layer of soil over your seeds and wait for your little plants to appear. This shouldn’t take too long with salad leaves. If you feel your plants are a little too crowded when they appear, thin them out by removing the weaker looking plants and leaving the stronger ones with some room to grow.
Keep watering the plants until they are ready for picking. Lots of varieties will grow again a few times once they have been cut so make sure you check the variety you are planting and be sure to not remove the whole plant when you are harvesting if this is the case just trim the leaves by the base leaving a little growth for them to begin again.
How to deal with garden pests
Watch out for pests! Snails and slugs will munch their way through your crop in no time at all! And they will certainly not thank you much for it either! If you have a problem with snails or slugs in your garden. There are various methods of control depending on your preference. If you want to steer clear of pellets, there are other methods to deter the little slimy pests! Broken egg shells, copper tape or covering the plants with a fine netting frame. These things will hopefully keep damage to a minimum.
You can try encouraging frogs and birds into your garden as a natural predator and keep a close eye out for them when the weather is wet, they love venturing out for a rainy day banquet at your expense! Take a little container out with you under the cover of an umbrella and get collecting! You can always turn it into a rainy day game with young children and see how many you can find! This “game” certainly works well for us when I am struggling to keep Bam Bam amused on a wet day! We “rehome” our unwelcome guests to the nettle patch nearby our house where we walk Knicks!
Hopefully the snails will be too full and fat on nettles that they won’t find their way back to our garden!
Planting Salads FAQ
Outside, salad can be grown from late spring to early autumn. You can prolong your growing season if you have a heated greenhouse and can grow them indoors.
You can grow your own salad leaves in a matter of weeks, usually 4-6 weeks from sowing to harvesting. Whole lettuces take a little longer, so if you want a quick reward for your sowing efforts, choose a salad leaf mixture.
You can grow salad in pretty much any type of container you want and is ideal for balconies, window boxes and small spaces.
Try and set a schedule for planting and harvesting. Depending on how much salad you will consume, try planting new seeds every 2 weeks to keep yourself in a steady supply.