Growing salad leaves

Posted: Wednesday 21 March 2012
by Pippa Greenwood

There’s nothing quite like home-grown lettuce to make a lunchtime sandwich into something special.

Salad leaves being watered

There’s nothing quite like home-grown lettuce to make a lunchtime sandwich into something special. Yes, you can buy lettuce in bags, but it often looks decidedly tired. Left any longer than 24 hours, the contents start to deteriorate; red salad leaves go first, leaving slime-like goo on the side of the pack.

Over the winter I grew several lettuces, some in pots, others in a frame outdoors. Although growth was (unsurprisingly) slower than during warm weather, there were sufficient leaves to allow regular harvests.

Many of my winter lettuces are starting to deteriorate now, but it doesn’t matter. Every week or 10 days I sow a small batch of assorted salad leaves in pots or trays, then cover the seeds lightly with compost. I keep the containers moist, to create a constant supply of fresh leaves.

It’s easy to get started, with a ready-mixed packet of seed. Or better still, buy several packets of suitable crops, including a good range of lettuce colours and shapes, perhaps including some coriander and some spinach to add to the range of textures and tastes. Flat-leaf parsley and mustard will work well, too. Just mix the seeds together in a jar, and sow small batches at regular intervals. No air miles to worry about, no cellophane, no slime - just proper, tasty, tender leaves!

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James Hunter 21/03/2012 at 19:29

I did this and was very surprised how good it worked. Even used the summer lettuce leaves in the winter in my woodern lean too. Was plecently surprised and probably saved about 20 or 30 pounds and its leaves you have grown so you know what has been on them from a feed point of view. Did chard as well and that worked as well

poppyfields 21/03/2012 at 19:35

I do love growing salad in pots, but the aphids seem to find it quickly no matter where I put them. How do you keep them away?

happymarion 01/04/2012 at 16:55

I would not be without them, Pippa. You get a thousand or so seeds in a packet of "Speedy" salad leaves. I always sow more than I can eat though I have salad every day and put them on egg or cheese sandwiches so I have pots to give away. They usually earn me a present of something nice for my garden back as they are given to expert gardening friends

neil D 14/04/2012 at 21:56

well done marion me and the girls are going to have a go tomorrow.

happymarion 22/04/2012 at 14:46

Poppyfields, aphids do not like draughts so make sure your salad pots are in one. Also bring in any ladybirds you find and put them on an infested pot for a feast.

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