Growing a salad garden is easier than you might think. Most lettuce leaves grow quickly and are ripe for harvesting only 4 to 6 weeks after sowing. They can be grown in garden beds or containers, with most thriving in cooler spring and autumn temperatures, although there are also plenty of heat-tolerant greens for summer harvesting. And there is no shortage of variety when it comes to green leafy vegetables, with fashionable mustard and mizuna as popular as more traditional salad and spinach.
Most lettuce leaves are plants in cool weather that grow in early spring, when temperatures range from 50 to 68 F (10 to 20 C). As soon as the summer heat comes, greens such as lettuce, arugula and spinach quickly break down as the plants move from leaf production to flower and seed production. When the plants screw, the taste also decreases as the leaves become more bitter.
However, there is good news for those who want to grow a salad garden in the summer. There are a number of greens that thrive impressively in the heat-spinach, New Zealand, chard, amaranth, magenta spreen, purslane and the orach are all superstars in summer and deserve a place in any garden food. In addition, most seed companies offer heat-tolerant varieties of green vegetables, such as lettuce, spinach and arugula. Arugula ‘Astro’ and salad ‘Jericho’, for example, can continue to produce tasty greens during the summer months.
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I grow most of my salad crops in my elevated vegetable garden, but you don’t need a large garden to grow greens. In fact, you don’t need a garden at all! You can reuse the growing foliage in containers, boxes, window, pocket tissue, flower boxes or even a piece of furniture, as in the table on salad of Tara. Most fast-growing greens such as lettuce, arugula, mizuna, mustard, Tokyo bekana and baby spinach have shallow roots and do not need a deep soil layer to produce a crop.
When planting salads in a garden, look for a sunny or partially shaded location. In summer, a little shading of greens in the cool season can help delay screwing and prolong the harvest. No shadow? Create your own by floating a length of shade fabric tires in the garden. In spring and autumn, use the same tires with row lids to protect yourself from cold and frost.
5 Tips for growing a salad garden:
- Nourish the soil. Lettuce leaves grow best in fertile, moisture-resistant soil, so before planting, dig well-rotted compost or manure. It is also a good time to add a granular organic fertilizer if necessary.
- Seeds against seedlings. With green vegetables such as arugula, leaf lettuce and kale that can only be harvested 30 to 40 days after sowing, direct sowing is the way to go. In addition, direct sowing allows for dense planting if you are aiming for a harvest of tender greens. For larger plants or mature salad heads, sow directly, lighten as the plants grow larger, or start seeds indoors under grow lamps. Seedlings need to be transplanted into the garden after 3-4 weeks of indoor growth.
- Constant humidity. Since most types of salad crops have shallow roots and grow quickly, they need a uniform absorption of moisture. If the soil is dry for a long time, the plants may screw or the leaves become bitter. It is difficult to mulch around densely planted greenery, but if you grow salad crops that form a head, such as Romaine lettuce or butterhead, a mulch of straw or shredded leaves will help maintain soil moisture.
- Estate investment. Estate plantation is easy to follow one crop with another to ensure a non-stop harvest. For a long season of high-quality greens, sow fresh seeds every 2 to 3 weeks or use your grow lights to produce seedlings that can be plugged into the empty areas of the garden. Also, gardeners in containers should plant an estate. The same rules apply; every few weeks, put a new container of light potting soil and fresh seeds to replace the worn greens.
- Interplant. I love placing fast-growing salad vegetables like lettuce and arugula among slow-growing vegetables like tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in the spring garden. The greens are ready to be harvested in 30-40 days, then the slower crops are ready for the place.
Planting a garden, salad greens to Grow:
Say goodbye to boring iceberg lettuce! Growing a salad garden allows you to choose from dozens of types of greens and hundreds of varieties. Have fun playing with different colors, textures and flavors. We love sweet-tasting salads like lettuce, Tokyo bekana and spinach, but the addition of handfuls of spicy mustard, mizuna, beets and arugula can really liven up a salad. For convenience, most seed companies also offer pre-mixed green salad packages for a gourmet salad mix.
Sweet flavored greens:
Salad-salad is an integral part of spring and, perhaps, the easiest green to grow. For the fastest harvest, stick to loose-leaf species like the” red salad bowl, ” but most types of lettuce are also quick to grow when picked at a baby stage. Tuck salad tufts around the edges of your garden beds for a colorful edible edge or add a few plants to your flowerpots. Preferred varieties include ‘Black Seeded Simpson’, ‘Red Salad Bowl’,’ Outredgeous’and’ lollo Rossa’.
Tokyo Bekana-I fell in love with this Chinese cabbage a few years ago after growing it in raised beds and windows. It is super fast from seed, forming rosettes a foot wide of frills, lime green leaves that look like leaf lettuce. It also has a mild, salad-like taste and is an excellent basis for a salad of local greens.
Komatsuna-Komatsuna is a relative of turnip, which forms erect plants with large paddle-shaped leaves. Baby leaves are ideal for compound salads, while larger leaves can be sauteed, sauteed with garlic and sesame oil, or used as packaging for fresh spring rolls or sandwiches.
Spinach – there are several types of spinach for the garden; Savoy, semi-Savoy, arrow-leaved and smooth leaves. I love them all but tend to grow mainly varieties with smooth leaves like ‘Space’ and ‘Corvair’. They are super fast to grow and ready to harvest 30 days after sowing. In autumn and winter, I opt for Savoyard spinach varieties such as ‘Bloomsdale’, which are more cold-resistant.
Magenta Spreen-Featured in my book, Veggie Garden Remix, this cousin of quinoa is both beautiful and productive. The plants form tall clumps of silvery-green foliage, underlined by a hint of bright pink in the center of each strike. Plant magenta spreen in after spring, shear the plants every few weeks to keep them compact and promote fresh growth. Eat raw in salads or cook like spinach.
Arugula-I would never think about growing a salad garden without arugula. This easy-to-cultivate culture is our favorite green salad with a peppery taste, which goes well with a simple dressing of olive oil, lemon juice and salt. For a spring culture, sow arugula seeds about a month before the last spring frost by planting in garden beds or containers. Repeat every few weeks. Arugula leaves have less heat than mature leaves, so they start picking when the leaves are only a few centimeters long.
Mustard-I love growing a variety of mustard leaves in my spring, autumn and winter gardens. They are all very cold tolerant-perfect for cold frames – and they offer so much variety in the texture and color of the leaves. Young leaves have a slight sharpness, but be warned that mature leaves pack a whole punch! These are best skipped to mitigate the heat. Standout varieties include Giant Red, Ruby Stripes and ‘miz America’, which has beautiful deep burgundy foliage.