Harvested winter salad

How to grow winter salad

Find out how to enjoy winter salads by planting them out in autumn.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
At its best
At its best

Plant is at its best in January

Plant is at its best in February

Plant is not at its best in March

Plant is not at its best in April

Plant is not at its best in May

Plant is not at its best in June

Plant is not at its best in July

Plant is not at its best in August

Plant is not at its best in September

Plant is at its best in October

Plant is at its best in November

Plant is at its best in December

To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do To do in September

Do not To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Plenty of salad crops can grow outside in winter with a little protection – the key is to get them in the ground in early autumn. At this time, the soil is still warm seedlings or plug plants will establish quickly when planted out. You could even sow seeds direct.

Choose hardy varieties of your favourite salad leaves, or experiment with more unusual crops such as winter purslane and salad burnet. One of the most reliable winter leaf crops is corn salad, or lamb’s lettuce, Valerianella locusta. Sow them in late summer, in seed trays. You could also sow seeds direct. 

Grow plants in a sheltered, sunny spot, to protect them from cold winter winds. Ensure the soil is free-draining, as plants can freeze if left standing in pools of icy water.

Plenty of salad crops can grow outside in winter with a little protection - the key is to get them in the ground in early autumn.

You will need

  • Plug plants, seedlings or seed of winter salad, including corn salad, land cress, lettuce, wild rocket and mustard
  • Trowel and fork
  • Watering can
  • Cloche
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Total time:

Step 1

Plant out the seedlings to encourage them to put on growth before winter sets in. Space them at 10cm intervals in rows 20cm apart, and water well. If you don’t have seedlings to plant out, you can usually buy plug plants from garden centres and mail order companies.

planting-out-winter-salad-plug-plants-2

Step 2

For best results, cover plants with a sturdy cloche. The warmer temperature inside will encourage strong plant growth in autumn, and protect them from the worst of the weather in winter.

covering-winter-salad-crops-with-a-cloche-2
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Sowing seeds

You can also sow seeds in pots or window boxes – sow every week or so from August to mid-autumn for a continuous supply. Keep the pot near the back door so you can pop out easily to harvest a handful of leaves.

Pot