Most salad greens are fast-growing, which makes them an easy candidate for growing your own continuous salad bowl garden! There’s a wide variety of greens to choose from, with many thriving in cooler spring and fall temperatures, and others being able to tolerate the summer heat. Whether you’re growing in a container garden on your deck or a garden bed in your backyard, this project will give you delicious salad ingredients all season long!
Step 1: Choose Your Location
Before you start buying plants and putting down soil, you’ll want to decide where you’re going to plant your salad garden.
Here are a few options for where you can plant your continuous salad garden:
- In a raised garden bed in the backyard
- In containers on your deck
- In window boxes
In addition to choosing how you’re going to grow your salad garden, you also need to decide where it’s going to grow. Whether you’re planting your salad garden in the ground or in containers, there are a few things you should consider when choosing a location:
- Look for an area that gets enough sun to support your plants’ growth, but also is partially shaded during the day. This will extend the harvest of your lettuces.
- Choose an area that’s easily accessible for routine watering. Planting your garden in an area that you see outside your window every day serves as a great reminder for routine maintenance.
- Determine what pests you have in the area and how you can choose a safe location for your garden.
Step 2: Pick Out Your Plants
After you’ve chosen your garden’s location, it’s time to move on to a more fun step: choosing plants!
Starter plants from your closest Urban Roots Garden Market location are a great place to start. Most lettuce and kale are fast-growing (some in 30-40 days), so you do have the option of directly sowing seeds or replacing them with more starter plants.
Here are a few leafy green ideas to choose from:
- Green leaf lettuce
- Red leaf lettuce
- Mustard greens
- Turnip greens
In addition to the greens of your choosing, you’ll also want to interplant with other ingredients you would want in a salad. This can include tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and more. As the greens continue to grow and be harvested, they will leave additional space for these slower-growing crops.
If you’re planting in a container, we recommend planting the tomato or pepper in the middle, the cucumber on the side, and your choice of greens in the remaining space. The tomato or pepper will grow the tallest and will also provide shade for the greens, while the cucumber will have room to trail over the edge.
Step 3: Support Your Garden’s Growth
You’ve created the foundation for your continuous salad garden, and now it’s time to support its growth!
To keep your lettuce plants happy, we recommend staying on top of routine watering without oversaturating your soil. Greens typically like an even supply of moisture to support their shallow roots, but they don’t want their soil to become soggy. If your soil gets dried out, your crops can become bitter, which would ruin your salad entirely. If your soil needs additional support to retain moisture, you can add a layer of leaves or straw to help it hold onto that moisture your plants need to thrive.
In addition to maintaining your soil’s moisture, maintaining the health of your soil is also important. To sustain this continuous growth, we recommend fertilizing your soil on a regular basis so it can provide the proper nutrients your plants need to grow.
Step 4: Harvesting and Succession Planting
After your continued and patient efforts, it’s time to reap the rewards by harvesting from your salad garden! Then, after you’ve harvested your greens, it’s time to think about succession planting.
Succession planting is the key to making sure your salad garden provides you with a continuous crop all season long. Succession planting involves planting another round of seeds or starter plants after you’ve harvested a previous plant. This ensures you’ll have a continuous crop.
To maintain a continuous crop of greens for as long as possible, we recommend sowing new seeds or planting new starter plants every 2-3 weeks. This can still be done in container gardens too, and you’ll also want to add fresh, new soil with each new planting. This will provide the seeds with the nutrients they need from the soil in order to grow at their best.
Now that you’ve planted your own continuous salad bowl garden, you’ll always have a reason to have a salad. Plus, enjoying the fruits of your labour is so much sweeter than store-bought!
Events at Urban Roots
Want to see a live demonstration of how to plant a continuous salad bowl garden? Join us on April 16, 2023, for a live event!
Carissa Kasper from Seed & Nourish will teach us how to plant a continuous salad bowl, including:
- How to select the perfect pot for your continuous salad bowl
- Which types of soil to use for good container/food gardening
- What fertilizers to use (and what not to use for food safety)
- How to keep pests away
- How to care for and keep your continuous salad bowl blooming all season long
Simply show up at our Langley (200th Street) location to participate. View session times here.