HOW TO GROW AND HARVEST SALAD LEAVES – If you are just starting out in the world of gardening then Salad Leaves are the perfect place to start. They are simply so easy to grow and apart from having to watch out for the slugs and snails that want to make a feast out of your Salad Leaves, the rest is pretty much plain sailing.
Once you start growing your own Salad Leaves you will wonder why you didn’t start sooner. One of the major benefits of growing your own food is the savings you can make on your grocery bills. So, let’s get started, here’s what you need to do…
Growing Salad Leaves in a Seed Tray
Don’t worry if you don’t have a very big garden. In fact don’t worry if you don’t have a garden at all because Salad Leaves can be grown easily in a seed tray. Get yourself a seed tray, one of any size will suit, and fill this with good quality compost. Pat the compost down but don’t compact this too much, just pat it with your hand until the compost is level with the top of the tray.
There are a variety of Salad Leaf Seeds you can buy, so pop along to your local Garden Nursery and see what is available. Once you have chosen the variety then open the packet carefully so as not to spill the seeds everywhere.
Pour the contents of the packet into the palm of your hand and then take pinches of the seeds and evenly sprinkle these over the seed tray that you prepared in Step 1.
Take a sieve and then gently cover the seeds with your compost soil. Don’t over do this – you only want to cover the seeds lightly. Now give the seed tray a good watering but do not saturate the soil to the point where it is soggy or like a bog.
Take your seed tray and place it on a window sill. These seeds will germinate better if they are warm. On this note DO NOT place the tray where it gets overly hot as this will simply dry out the soil too quickly and when your Salad Leaves sprout this will cause the leaves to wither and die. Find a area where it is slightly shady and warm as this is the perfect condition for growing Salad Leaves.
Growing Salad Leaves in a Vegetable Plot
The principle here is almost exactly the same as growing in a seed tray in terms of preparing a nice flat area. The trick here is that once you have a nice flat area for planting it’s a good idea to take a bamboo stick and create lines along the width at about 2 feet apart. You can then sparsely sprinkle your seeds into the channels you have created and then cover them the over.
You will find, with either a plot or seed tray, that once your Salad Leaves sprout that they are most likely to be clumped together and therefore you are going to have to thin out your seedlings.
As you work through thinning out your seedlings simply replant the seedlings in a different place to ensure that you maximize your crop yield.
Harvesting Your Salad Leaves
You should find that it takes approximately 6 weeks before your salad leaves are ready for harvesting and these should be between 8 to 10 inches high. Once they are ready it’s simply a case of taking a pair of scissors and snipping off the leaves that you want to eat.
Quick Tip: Do not pull up the whole plant but rather snip off what you need and then you will find that the Salad plant will regenerate with new growth, giving you a readily available and plentiful supply of salad leaves throughout the season.
Acknowledgements: Video - B&Q