I wrote an article over the weekend all about how you can and why you should grow microgreens and sprouts. This gave me the idea that I would continue this theme with a series of how to grow and why you should grow articles, in order to live a healthy lifestyle and for year round nutrition.
Its so easy to drive to the supermarket and grab a bag of salad, but nothing ever compares to the quality and taste of food that you have grown yourself, whether at home in your kitchen, your garden, or on an allotment. In fact you can just about grow food anywhere and everywhere, all you plants will need is a little TLC! So today I thought I would introduce the idea of a salad garden and I aim to introduce you to some salad varieties both freely available, and some that you probably wont be able to buy in the shops…let me assure you though, the seed are very easy to come by and I will provide a few links too.
So a salad garden is pretty much one of the easiest and most rewarding of vegetable growing, with high yields and very quick harvests, you are almost certain to become addicted to it. Why pay the large chain supermarkets £1.50 for a bag of salad that has been sat there for days when you can grow your own and benefit from optimal nutrition. Remember that nutrition is lost once the leaves are picked, and the longer they sit, the more nutrition they lose.
For the purpose of this article I am going to assume that most of you will have space for a garden planter, one of these (Plastic Planter) should suffice. Alternatively, if pace is an issue you could grow on your kitchen windowsill in one of these instead (Kitchen Garden Kit). So all you need now is some multipurpose compost and some seeds (maybe a water spray bottle too if you don’t already own one).
So let’s discuss some varieties you can grow at home that you won’t be able to find in the shops so easily…
Also known as ‘Winter Miners Lettuce’ or ‘winter purslane’, claytonia has one major advantage. It can be grown all year long, is very easy to grow and it doesn’t mind shade at all! I would go as far as saying that anyone could grow this, it really is that easy. These can be treated as a cut and come again crop, just keep cropping and throw some more seeds in to ensure future growth. If you leave them to flower they will self sow and you will have a continuous supply of claytonia, pretty much forever.
Claytonia has heart shaped leaves that are so succulent you won’t ever want to go back to store bought droopy, limp and lifeless greens. Claytonia is packed full of vitamin C which will ensure you give your immune system a certain boost all year round too. The edible parts of claytonia are the leaves, stems and flowering shoots.
Seeds are available online here (Claytonia).
Although very popular and readily available in the shops, rocket is one of the nations favourites, what with its peppery punch. The fact that it is super easy to grow will be music to your ears too, as you won’t need to keep running to the supermarket for some extra rocket for your salad.
Much the same as claytonia, rocket is easy to grow all year round (inside in winter) and will keep on providing you with greens. Use it as a cut and come again crop, just taking what you need from it each time.
Buy the seeds here (Rocket Seed).
Sorrel is actually what you refer to as a ‘perennial’, which is a fancy term for a plant that lives longer than for one season and you don’t have to keep sowing seeds. It’s best to grow this one outside as it will be able to get the nutrients it needs to keep growing year in year out to provide you with tasty greens. The sorrel has one amazing trick up its sleeve though that most other greens do not. The leaves taste of lemon, quite tart, and are absolutely delicious. What’s more is that it is virtually indestructible. Pick up seeds here (Sorrel).
Watch out for more articles all about how to grow your own to keep healthy on veggiemelean.