This is one of my favorite things to plant in the spring! A cut again-come again salad bowl garden is the perfect addition to your container garden. It can be as small, or large, as you want it to be AND you can suit it perfectly to your taste buds! You can also plant this in your square foot garden and it works perfectly!! I plant one square (okay, let’s be honest, AND a few containers on the deck) every year to make sure I have enough greens to have plenty of salad all summer long! I really love greens. And, I really love planting them, because they are so easy. So, sometimes, I just keep going, haha. (See below example … 9 squares of salad!)
Now, I am going to apologize in advance. I had taken photos of me planting my salad bowls. From the seeding to the soil mix. The whole 9 yards. Well, yep, you guessed it. It is gone along with everything else. (Okay, I am done pouting now, I promise). So you will just have to use your imagination. Honestly, bowls of dirt aren’t that exciting to look at anyways. Plus, these are really easy to make up. So, the photos weren’t really necessary anyways.
STEP 1: PICK YOUR CONTAINERS AND FILL WITH SOIL MIX
Salad greens are one of the few edibles that don’t require a very deep container. Their roots are content in something a little more shallow. They are also good in any size pot, since you can just adjust the amount of seeds you sow. So, I take advantage and use some of my smaller pots. Then I can save my big behemoth pots for my tomatoes and peppers! Just make sure your pot has some drainage holes on the bottom (if it doesn’t, you can just drill some in it).
As far as the soil mix goes, you can go with the same mix we used for the one pot herb garden. This blend is 1/3 garden soil/potting mix/even top soil works, 1/3 compost, and 1/3 peat moss. Or, honestly, you could use a high quality organic container mix and be fine too. Salad greens are easy. I also add a nitrogen rich fertilizer (organic blood meal) to my soil. Nitrogen helps support leafy green grown, which is just what you want when you are planting a salad garden.
Again, if you are planting this in your raised beds instead of containers, just make sure your soil freshly mixed and prepped for this year’s planting.
STEP 2: PICK YOUR GREENS!
Now comes the fun part! Do you love leaf lettuce? Spinach? Spicy arugula? How about those fancy lettuce blends? You can have it all! Go to your local garden center (as a local garden center employee, I BEG you to support local rather than the big box stores! We know the climate, we grow the varieties for your climate, and we are here to help YOU plan the perfect garden!! Okay, okay … end rant!) and check out their seed displays. Pick out the varieties that you love! You can pick out a few different types and mix them all together! I love going with a kale, spinach, and lettuce mix blend. Yum, yum, yum!
Sometimes you can find baby lettuce plants to buy too. That works also! Just a word of caution though if you buy either seeds or plants … you want to pick leaf varieties (not head varieties). You don’t want to be growing a bunch of giant lettuce heads in your containers, it just won’t work. You want to pick leaf varieties that will be easy to pick as you need and they will keep growing again and again! Typically head varieties will say so on the tag, so just keep an eye out for it!
STEP 3: SOW AND ENJOY!
Now comes the fun part … seeding! Sprinkle your lettuce seeds all around the salad bowl. You don’t have to be exact, if you seed too heavy, you can thin it later (and enjoy the baby greens). If you are mixing varieties, try to get an even mix of the varieties all throughout the container. It is fun to see them all grow mixed together! Cover the seeds up with about 1/4 inch of soil and water them in. Now you just have to wait! Depending on the weather, they will start to sprout in about a week. You should be able to enjoy some baby greens after about 3 weeks!
If your climate is colder, you can keep your salad green bowl out in the direct sun. If you live in a hotter climate, you are going to want to keep your salad green bowl somewhat protected from the hot direct sun. Partial shade would be much better for it. Otherwise, it will just start to shoot up and go to seed quickly. The most important (and fun part) of a salad bowl is that you need to pick from it often! If you don’t pick from it often, it will think it’s work is done, and it will start going to seed. So, use your salad greens often, and enjoy them for a long time!
Salad bowls can be sown any time between early spring and late fall. Hardy varieties like kale and spinach can handle a little frost and even taste a little sweeter after a frost! I typically do a batch of greens in the spring and a batch in the fall!
OVER TO YOU: What is your favorite salad green? Let me know in the comments below!