Grow Your Own Summer Salads
Whether you’re a windowsill grower or vegetable plot lover, there’s nothing more rewarding than growing your own salads for a tasty summer treat.
Read our Gardening Angels top tips and sow salad and herbs now for a continuous crop right through summer.
Sowing Salad Seeds
Seeds can be sown into Seed Trays in shallow drills before moving them to their final growing space. If using seed tape, lay out on the composts surface and lightly cover with compost and water.
Sowing Larger Salad Seeds
Bigger seeds such as coriander can be sown individually. Place a few larger seeds in the palm of your hand and place on the surface of the compost at intervals. Then gently push then a little way into the compost and knock the side of the pot or tray to redistribute the compost, then water.
Salad Varieties – Something New?
• Space Savers
Try some “Cut & Come Again” varieties such as basil, lettuce, Mizuna, Radicchio, Corn Salad. Perfect for growing in the ground or in containers. Choose a pre-mixed salad seeds for variety. They can be harvested at a young leafy stage around 12cm’s tall. Snip them 4cm from ground level and they will sprout again 4-5 times after their first harvest.
• Make the Most of Root Veg
Harvest the leaves of crops usually grown for their roots such as beetroot and radish when they are young. They taste great in a salad.Swirly Beets - Sow some Chioggia Beetroot in short rows directly outside or in your salad planter every couple of weeks during spring and summer. It gives a lovely striped effect when sliced thinly in a salad.
• Krazy Kale
Ornamental Kales and cabbages stand out thanks to their purple leaves. Try some Kale ‘Redbor’ or red cabbages such as ‘Red Drum Head’ for edible and decorative leaves.
What Salad & Herb Varieties to Grow
Caring for your Salad Garden
• Smart Watering
Overwatering causes the most problems for salad and herb growers. When soil becomes too wet, plants roots can’t access valuable oxygen which plants need to absorb water and nutrients. Plants become thirsty and growth slows down.
During long spells of dry weather and heat, try to water salads every 2 days as long as your soil is well composted. If you’re growing in containers water daily.
• Watch Out For Mould
Mould caused by moist conditions is a common problem when growing your own Salad and Herbs.
Ensure your salads and herbs are sufficiently ventilated and that your final growing space is well lit to prevent mould growth which can result in the demise of your salad & herb crops.
Deterring Pests Naturally
• Slugs & Snails
Slugs can be troublesome at this time of year near your favourite edibles. Watch out for them in damp, dark crevices to reduce their numbers. If you’re a bit squeamish, try using some organic slug pellets, copper tape etc. Alternatively pick them up and pop them in containers and feed them to birds in your garden.
• Armies of Ants
Keep an eye out for ants, they secrete formic acid which poison plants roots. It’s important to keep the soil moist to deter them from invading your salad crops.
Aphids can also group around your salad leaves, but ladybirds are usually nearby to polish them off. If you have a large infestation, squash them by hand or use Gardeners Soap to banish them or attract some Lacewings or Ladybirds who will munch on pesky aphids.
• Flea Beetles
Insect Repellent Essentials
Salad Harvesting Top Tips
1) Pick, Sow, Pick
Be a reactive grower. Each time you harvest, sow your next batch of seeds in the adjacent space to ensure a continuous salad and herb harvest.
2) Maximise Your Growth
Encourage new growth by picking outer leaves from across your salad plants.
3) Avoid Harvest Glut
If you’ve harvested too much salad, pop them in a sealed bag for freshness. If they start to wilt, revive them by submerging in cold water so they soak up moisture, allowing them to firm up and become crisp again.