Growing Salad leaves
Growing salad leaves is very similar to growing lettuce and even growing rocket. You know how supermarkets now sell the small trays of salad leaves. Well it’s just as easy for you to do that yourself. Even if you don’t have a vegetable garden you can grow it in pots on your patio.
Growing salad leaves like lettuce is one of the first vegetables people tend to grow.
There are various selections of salad leaves you can grow: Herb mix seeds, Spicy salad leaves mix, Baby leaves mix, Salad bowl and Provencale mix – there are probably even several other types of salad leaves available.
Growing Salad leaves – Soil
Salad leaves like to be grown in a sunny position and also has three needs that you need to address: good soil, doesn’t like acid soil and the soil needs to be kept moist throughout the growing time. They like to have a soil with a pH of 6.5 – 7.5 which is the perfect growing conditions.
Dig the soil in autumn and add plenty of well rotted manure or compost. A couple of weeks before sowing or planting rake the soil and make a fine tilth seed bed and apply a scattering of chicken pellets.
You need to direct sow salad leaves, so make a drill in the soil about 1 to 2cm deep and sow the salad leaves seeds very thinly along the seed drill. Cover the seeds lightly with some soil and water the seed drill.
Tip: you don’t need to sow the whole packet. The packet of seeds often will last for 4 sowings or more – depending on the length of row or the size of pot you are using.
If you want to keep growing salad leaves continuously – then you need to sow a row or pot every 2 or 3 weeks. This stops you having a glut of salad leaves all at the same time.
Growing Salad Leaves – looking after the crop
Salad leaves grow quickly and needs plenty of feeding and watering to produce the best salad leaves for you. You can also mulch around the salad leaves – with grass clippings – this will help keep the weeds down and keep the moisture in the soil.
Salad leaves don’t really like hot weather as this will encourage them to start bolting, which means they will produce a flower-head and go to seed.
Growing Salad leaves – Harvesting
You can pick the salad leaves when the leaves are big enough – as and when you need them. Alternatively you can do what my hubby does which is to cut the salad leaves off with a pair of scissors – just cut enough to have for your meal. You’ll find that the salad leaves often will re-grow but if it doesn’t – then it doesn’t matter as you will be sowing continuously.
It’s well worth growing salad leaves on your patio or in your vegetable garden.