Growing salad leaves

by Pippa Greenwood

People are always banging on about summer salads, but it's the winter months when I crave fresh, green leaves.

winter_saladPeople are always banging on about summer salads, but it's the winter months when I crave fresh, green leaves. Even now in April, there's still not enough fresh greenery about, despite the fact that spring is well and truly here.

Just the other evening when recording some Gardeners' Question Time programmes, we were tucking in to the food laid on by the host horticultural society. The sandwiches were lovely, but Bob Flowerdew and I found ourselves feasting on the salad 'garnish' on the generous platter of sandwiches. We both agreed that we felt a craving for greenery at this time of year.

It might be too cold to grow your own salad leaves in the garden right now, but I'm tucking into lettuce, baby spinach, rocket leaves and a whole lot more besides. They're not pre-packaged salad mixes from the supermarket, but home-grown in my greenhouse. And if you don't have space for a greenhouse don't worry - a windowsill is perfect.

All you need is some compost. I reuse seed-sowing compost from the previous year - it's perfect for growing baby salad leaves as they don't need a lot of nutrients. Kept adequately watered and stood in a well-lit spot, the seeds soon germinate. Then, within a few weeks, a harvestable crop of salad leaves is ready. And, by making regular sowings of whatever comes to hand - I use leftover packets left of beet, beetroot, lettuce, basil and salad mixes - you can indulge even the strongest cravings for fresh, green salads until the time's right for outdoor sowing.

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Gardeners' World Web User 02/04/2009 at 20:59

I don't plant out lettuce and salad leaves untill late spring or early summer.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/04/2009 at 06:48

I heartily agree though this year because of a foot injury, I have had a problem planting. For supper last evening I had a fresh baguette of nothing but leaves and (for once) a quite tasty shop bought tomato. Lovely.

Gardeners' World Web User 03/04/2009 at 20:14

what a load of rubbish atotal waste of time space and money what happend to Monty Dons plot Why should we pay for large new greenhouse and tons of top soil to convert a rugby pitch plus anew shed what happend to the credit crunch b Reuse some of the old gardens already paid fof

Gardeners' World Web User 03/04/2009 at 22:39

I love growing these baby leaves they are so easy and the fact that you pick them fresh every time means that there's no soggy leaves turfed out of the fridge, and you have a continuous supply for as long as you want.

Gardeners' World Web User 07/04/2009 at 21:19

I'm taking on a project to grow my own rocket salad leaves (amongst other vegetables) on an urban city balcony in London - please, please, please follow my progress by viewing / following:

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