Grow Your Own Spring Salad Garden
Regularly munching on a fresh salad made from baby greens straight out of the garden is a wonderful way to keep your body packed full of healthy nutrients, and it tastes delicious to boot. Here is how to grow a spring salad garden.
Lettuce and other leafy greens are powerhouses in the garden. They grow quickly, need little space, and can grow back after cutting. Follow these tips to start a spring salad garden and your salad bowl will be overflowing in a matter of weeks!
Planting a Spring Salad Garden
A spring salad garden can be created both indoors or outside, in a large space or a small one. You only need six inches of soil to grow baby greens or twelve inches of soil if you are going to let the leaves grow larger.
Leafy greens can handle either sun or partial shade, so look for seeds that suit your location best. Greens tend to do best with morning sun and shady afternoons in the heat of the summer.
Fill your garden with a soil mix of two parts peat moss, one part perlite, and four parts well-composed soil.
Sprinkle seeds generously on the top of the soil and gently rake them in with a small hand rake. The seeds should be evenly dispersed in the top inch of soil.
Water the garden well and keep the top layer moist at all times.
How to Harvest Greens for Spring Salad
Planting the seeds generously means that you will have far more plants growing than space can afford when they are mature. Harvesting the greens is similar to thinning out. As you remove some plants, others will fill in space and get larger. If you get a little bit of extra space, you can sprinkle some more seeds, and they will grow in to replace what is getting harvested.
Cut and Come Again
When your salad greens have at least three true leaves, you can start the harvest. Cut back sections of the greens, and they will grow back from the roots. Use clean scissors to cut greens back to one-third of their height from different sections of the garden. Only cut what you need for a salad to allow the rest of the greens to continue growing and fill in space.
The Best Greens for Your Spring Salad Garden
Of course, the first thing you will want in your salad garden is lettuce. There are so many varieties that you can't possibly try them all in one season! Pick those that look colorful and tasty to you, and don't worry if they are leaf or head lettuce. When you are growing them as spring greens, they will be harvested before they get a chance to show their true nature.
Flavorful greens like spinach, arugula, and mustard as well as Asian greens like Tatsoi and Mizuna grow so fast that you can have the baby greens ready for harvest in just three to four weeks. These are perfect for growing alongside lettuce.
Beets, kale, and Swiss chard will grow to mammoth proportions later on in the season, but planting them like lettuce and harvesting the leaves when small will add both color and flavor to your salads.
Herbs like parsley, basil, and chives also are tasty in a spring lettuce garden. Not only do they add punch to salads, but they also keep pests away with their strong aroma. Plant potted herbs throughout your salad garden as they are slower to grow from seed and prefer warmer growing conditions than lettuce.
Spring Salad Garden Veggies
More Gardening Ideas!
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