It’s so simple these days to grow your own healthy salad with fresh lettuce and fresh vegetables. Even if you don’t have room for a full garden, a deck or back porch will do.
One of the best reasons to grow your own salad bowl is that you are guaranteed everything will be free of chemicals. Always purchase organic seeds and plants.
Grow Your Own Fresh Salad Bowl for Beginners
More and more you hear of recalls for lettuce and salad greens. Salmonella laced produce that comes from who knows where? Starting your own little salad garden is much easier than you think and actually requires very little time and effort. So, give it a go and grow your own little fresh salad bowls!
First of all – Here are 3 Great Reasons To Grow Your Own Fresh Salad
Salads make great summer meals and are a tasty addition to your lunchbox or dinner table any time of the year. They make the perfect light meal and you know you should be getting more leafy greens in your diet.
Why not start growing your own lettuce so you have a steady fresh supply of greens at your fingertips. It’s a lot easier than you think and there are some very good reasons why you should grow your own salad.
It Tastes Better
Let’s start with the obvious one first. Homegrown salad just plain tastes better. It is fresh, it has been grown in good soil, and it hasn’t been washed, sprayed, and processed days before it makes it on your plate.
If you haven’t had fresh, homegrown lettuce before, you’re in for a treat. If you need a little more convincing get your hands on some fresh lettuce from a gardening friend or your local farmers market. You’ll be ready to grow your own after the first bite.
You Control The Quality And Variety
One of the best parts of growing your own produce is that you control what goes in the soil and the plants. And you get to pick what varieties you want to grow. That means you have a lot more options than what your local grocer offers.
Grocery store produce varieties are grown for easy and uniform growth and longer shelf-life. Flavor and nutrition aren’t the main concerns. The opposite is true when you grow your own. You can pick varieties that taste amazing, but may not last more than a few hours in the fridge after you harvest them.
Last but not least, your home-grown salad will be a lot healthier. Nutrients quickly start to deteriorate after produce is harvested. When you grow your own, you can go from soil to table in less than an hour. It doesn’t get any fresher than that, which means you get more of the vitamins in your food.
Plus since you control the soil, the additives, and anything that happens to the plans while they grow, you can limit your exposure to pesticides, insecticides and the likes. When you grow organic, you know it actually is organic.
Where to Start?
The basic idea is simple. You get a bowl or pot, fill it with potting soil, and plant your salad and salad fixings. A salad or lettuce bowl can include several different varieties of lettuce and a few of your favorite herbs. Or you can divide everything up in several different containers and grow a small tomato plant and a few green onions as well. Mix and match as you see fit, depending on what you like to eat.
That’s the fun of growing your own food. You can try different varieties and combinations until you come up with the one that works best for you. Along the way, you get to sample and try different varieties of lettuce your local market doesn’t offer. There’s so much more than iceberg lettuce and spinach out there.
Salad bowls are small and compact way to give gardening a try. They are also an excellent tool to help teach your children about where our food comes from and how it is grown. Get the little ones involved in planting and caring for the lettuce plants. Not only is it a great learning experience, it’s also a wonderful way to get them to eat more greens. After all, they’ve grown this lettuce.
Lettuce plants don’t have very deep roots, which is why shallow bowls work perfectly for planting them indoors. And since it won’t get super-hot – even in a sunny window- you don’t need a large amount of soil to retain moisture. In other words, shallow bowls are a great way to grow a large amount of lettuce in little space or soil.
Containers and Supplies For Your First Salad Bowl
Ready to start planting your first salad bowl? You’ll be surprised how easy this will be to put together. There are only a handful of things you need to get started.
- A Container or Bowl
- Soil – buy organic if possible
- Seeds or Seedlings – buy organic seeds if possible
That’s it. Start by looking around the house for a container to plant your lettuce in. This can be a flow pot you no longer use, or even a plastic bowl that you can drill drainage holes in. Don’t use a bowl without holes, because you’ll risk having the soil stay too moist and the roots will end up rotting. Drainage is important.
If you can’t find anything suitable around the house, or you want a pretty container to sit on the kitchen counter, head to your local home improvement store or garden center and get a shallow bowl planter. A shallow bowl with drainage holes and a catch plate works best for this little planting project.
While you’re there, pick up a bag of good potting soil as well. You won’t need a large bag, but look for quality soil that’s suitable for growing vegetable. A potting soil mix with a slow release fertilizer added will give you the best results.
You also need to decide if you want to grow your lettuce from seed, or plant seedlings. Seedlings are often the best choice for your first salad bowl. They are easier to grow for a beginner and of course you get to harvest that much sooner.
Have a look through your local garden center, or even your farmers market and find a few different varieties of lettuce that you want to grow. Mixing colors makes for a pretty planter and don’t forget that you can add some herbs as well for variety.
Once you get all your shopping goodies home, the fun starts. Fill your bowl with potting soil. Play with your plant seedlings before you take them out of their containers to determine how you want to arrange them in the bowl. With that figured out, it’s time to dig holes and start planting. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. They are the perfect gardening tool. Of course using a small shovel or a large spoon is also an option.
Take the seedlings out of the containers, gently tease the roots apart a little around the edges and plant them. Gently water your planting bowl to allow the soil to settle and to help encourage root growth.
Don’t be alarmed if your seedlings start to droop a little after planting. They will quickly recover and it won’t take long before you can harvest your first salad.
No Room For A Garden You Say? Grow Your Salad Indoors!
So you’re interested in giving this salad gardening a try. But maybe you don’t have a lot of space outside for a garden, or you’re just not that interested in digging up a big chunk of your lawn. The good news is you don’t have to. It doesn’t take a lot of space or soil to grow your own lettuce and you can do it inside, on your kitchen counter or in a sunny window.
The nice thing about lettuce is that most varieties don’t need a lot of space or soil to grow and they grow fairly fast. Lettuce also tends to grow well in temperatures that we’re most comfortable at in the house. As long as you find a nice sunny spot for your lettuce it will do well.
One of the simplest ways to start if you just want to try this out is to cut of the ends of your romaine lettuce from the store and sit them in a cup or container with a little water. Leave it in there for about a week or until you start to see new green growth coming from the cut end, and roots forming at the bottom. Once those roots are about an inch or two long, plant your new lettuce plant into a bowl or small pot filled with potting soil. Keep it watered and in a sunny window and watch your lettuce grow. You can cut and regrow more lettuce several times.
Another fun option is to get lettuce seedlings at your local home and garden center. They will usually keep them stocked in the spring and depending on your local growing season again in late summer or early fall. Again, just grab a pot or an old bowl, fill it with good potting soil and plant your lettuce. It won’t take long before it grows enough that you can start to harvest.
Last but not least, you can grow any lettuce variety from seed. Take a look at the seed packets your local garden center has available year round, or order them online. Pay attention to germination time (and temperature), and how long it will take your lettuce to grow to maturity.
It is also helpful to know if you can continually harvest your lettuce varieties or if you should let it grow to maturity, harvest, and then replant. Start with something that’s easy to grow and take care of, then branch out from there.
Once you see those first few harvests and get a chance to eat your own salad, you’ll be ready to expand your lettuce bowl collection.
Composting – For enhancing the nutrient levels in your soil, creating your own organic compost pile is a great way to feed your garden all season long. Eggshells, banana peels, organic plant-based kitchen scraps and coffee grounds are excellent ways to add potassium, phosphorus, calcium and other natural nutrients to your soil. Eggshells, in particular, are a great way to add more calcium to your soil. It is important for your tomato plants to get sufficient amounts of this particular nutrient in order to avoid the dreaded blossom end rot. Just make sure you clean the empty shells thoroughly before adding them to your garden. Home Composting
Add some fresh strawberries to your salad! How to grow strawberries on your porch.
You Will Also Enjoy –