How to grow your own tasty salad in just a few weeks
Salad is probably the easiest of all vegetables to grow, yet disturbingly I read a few weeks ago that lettuce has been sprayed with 11 pesticide applications by the time it reaches the shops. Surely it has to be better to grow your own?
Even if you haven’t got a big garden, it is very easy just to sprinkle a few seeds of salad leaves in a pot filled with multi purpose compost, cover the seeds with a fine layer of soil and keep them well watered. Within a few weeks salad leaves will appear. These are commonly known as Pick and Come Again.
You can buy mixed salad leaf seeds or the most popular varieties to grow are “Lolla Rossa” and “Red Salad Bowl,” you can also mix in some wild rocket seed, endive and spinach. Within six to eight weeks your leaves will be ready to pick.
Cut them from the outside of the plant and within a few weeks they will be ready to cut again. You will be surprised how much tastier they are straight out of your garden.
The next salad crop to try is the radish which is probably the easiest of all crops to grow. Again, you can grow them in a large pot if you don’t have space in your garden. I grow a variety called “French Breakfast”.
Some radishes can be a bit on the hot side but French Breakfast seem a bit milder. Sow the seed the same as the lettuce and again, just cover them with a fine layer of soil.
Radishes are the fastest of all crops to grow, provided you keep them well watered, they should be ready for picking in about five or six weeks after sowing.
Next try a row of spring onions. I grow a variety called “White Lisbon”. Rake over a patch of soil to a fine tilth, then make a small drill with the back of your hoe. Sow the onion seed sparingly, cover them over with fine soil. You will find they take a little longer to germinate than some seeds but after about three weeks you will notice little green shoots appearing which resemble shoots of grass.
Keep well watered and after four or five weeks they should be ready to put in your salad.
Garden centres are now reopening but many of them also take on-line orders. I have also noticed some shops now selling plants. This time of year you should be able to buy tomato plants as it is a bit late to grow them from seed. I can’t think of anything better than when you are working in the garden, stop and pick yourself a tomato and pop it straight into your mouth. For some reason tomatoes taste so much better when you have grown them yourself.
I grow two types, the first, an old fashioned variety called “Money Maker”. A nice flavoured good sized tomato, and then a cherry type called “Sungold”. I grow my tomatoes directly into the ground, but they can be grown equally as well in large pots.
Just remember tomatoes can grow quite big and when in full fruit will need canes or stakes to prop them up. As soon as the first flowers appear, feed once a week with a liquid tomato feed.
Tomatoes tend to send out a lot of side shoots, make sure you keep removing them each week.
Providing we get a good summer, you should be able to pick yourself a lovely salad most evenings, accompanied by a nice glass of white wine. What could be better in life?
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