Grow Your Own Salad Bowl
How impressive would this be? You invite your parents over for a dinner party or some friends for a barbecue, and you pop out into the garden to collect your own leaves for the salad bowl! You don’t have to have green fingers to grow some very healthy leafy vegetable plants. What’s more, the varieties that you grow will contain much higher levels of nutrients than you find in the shop-bought varieties. They taste much better too! Here’s how you can grow your own salad bowl without much effort.
Sow the seeds
Pick a spot in the garden that will be in full sun and that is well-drained. If you don’t have a suitable area of soil, don’t worry. Salad leaves grow very well in containers and grow-bags and you can put these where you like as long as you make sure that you puncture drainage holes to prevent them getting water-logged.
You can sow the seeds in a greenhouse from February. The quality materials used to manufacture Elite greenhouses mean that they will withstand a harsh winter in your garden. You don’t need a huge space because each one is made to order and is fully customised with a huge range of colours and accessories.
Sow individual types of salad seed in rows. Pop the seeds into the compost so that they are about 1cm deep. If you want to make it super simple, just buy a seed mixture from the garden centre and sprinkle it on the top of the soil surface. Then cover it with around 1cm of compost.
Caring for the seedlings
Getting out into the garden with the family is so much fun and it is so exciting when the seedlings start to appear. You will need to thin out some seedlings so that they do not get in the way of each other as they grow and so that they do not compete for light and water. You need to be very gentle when you do this because it is easy to damage delicate stalks and leaves. Pick them out with your thumb and forefinger and plant in fresh compost.
Once they are big enough, you can start eating them. This is usually when they are around 10cm high. When you want to harvest them, clip the leaves with scissors to cause minimum damage to the growing plant.
Harvest leaves just before you want to use them in a salad and keep them crisp by storing them in the fridge. They will keep fresh in a polythene bag in the bottom of the fridge for several days. You can normally cut salad leaves three or four times. You can sow several times a year, leaving a fortnight in-between. That way, as soon as one crop is over, you will have another one to take over.
There is one problem that you will have to look out for and that is garden slugs and snails! They will love the leaves as much as you do so use beer traps, sawdust or eggshell barriers to keep them at bay!
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