Grow Your Own series - Grow your own summer salad

Summer is fast approaching and the time of year when we eat alfresco and salads become a bigger part of our diet.   Fresh salad leaves are one of the easiest things to grow in your garden, on your balcony or even in your kitchen. We take a look at the popular salad crops you can grow all season in your own home.

Herbs

Herbs are great for a summer salad, enhancing flavour and adding zest to your meal.  Most are also very easy to grow and will supply you with “cut and come again leaves all season.   Herbs which grow well in pots include rosemary, thyme, basil, chives, cress, mint, oregano, marjoram and coriander.

We recommend using a pot from our range that is at least 10cm deep to grow herbs. alternatively you can group some herbs together in a trough, like the one from our Ellham collection. Tender annual herbs can be sown year-round for growing on the kitchen windowsill.  If you are planning to grow indoors, place them in a sunny spot that faces south and receives at least 6 hours of sun daily.

To get them started, fill your pots with compost, sprinkle the seeds and water in. Cover with cling film until seedlings emerge and once fully grown, pick the leaves regularly, helping to create bushier plants.

Lettuce

Most lettuce varieties you find in the supermarket such as cos, lollo rosso, butterhead, iceberg and rocket are very easy to grow and germinate very quickly.  The leaves will grow and you can eat in about 3 weeks. The great thing about is you can just pick what you want and if you sow a more seeds every week, you’ll have a steady supply all summer long.  These can be grown in the ground, in a container or on a sunny windowsill.

Microgreens

Tasty microgreens which are filled with vitamins and nutrients and make a great addition to salads or sandwiches.  These include broccoli, cress, coriander, mustard, basil, bean sprouts, rocket and fenugreek.  They germinate a lot quicker than lettuce and can be grown in even the tiniest of spaces indoor. 

Simply, sprinkle your seeds evenly onto a moist mat in a propagator and place the transparent lid over the black tray. Place on a light, sunny windowsill and the seeds will germinate and produce leaves in two weeks. After the first leaves will appear, snip the stems and leaves with scissors and use in your dishes for a fresh, crunchy taste.

Radishes

Radishes are an ideal summer salad crop as they are easy to grow and can be harvested within 3-4 weeks of planting. Adding a spicy zing to your salads, they are the ideal starter vegetable to grow with children.

Radishes does not require a lot of room to grow in. A small pot on a bright kitchen windowsill or a balcony will produce a small but delicious harvest

They grow in moist free draining soil in a full sun position and sowing successionally every 2 to 3 weeks will ensure a bountiful crop through the growing season.  Once you have planted your seeds in the ground or pot, keep the soil moist during the germination period of 7-10 days. They can be harvested when at optimum size of 5cm (2inch) in diameter, leaving them in the soil any longer will make then tough and unpalatable.

Tomatoes

You can't beat the taste of homegrown tomatoes, picked still warm from the sun and eaten fresh in your summer salad.  Cherry tomatoes are a staple of salad dishes and can be grown in a sunny spot.  By sowing now indoors, you can expect a harvest from July until October.   Sow your seeds into approximately 0.5cm deep into individual pots of compost and water well.

Seedlings should start to germinate in 14 days. In late May or early June, acclimatise plants to outside conditions and then plant outside in your chosen spot or container.  Pinch out the growing tip of the plant when six trusses have begun to develop and remove any side shoots that appear.

Once a tomato begins to turn from green to slightly pink, it is time to harvest and it will continue to ripen off the vine without any issues.

From plot to plate, inspired to Grow Your Own?

 

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