Thursday, January 13, 2011

Grow a Salad Bowl

This is a little different than most of my posts on this blog, but is still about creating and with Spring on my mind what better time to think of planting a few vegetables.  Here you can grow a pot of lettuce somewhere semi protected and with Spring right around the corner what better time to get started!clip_image002


· Container

· Potting Soil

· Fertilizer

· Plants and/or seeds

Containers – You can get creative here as long as it is at least 6” deep and has a drainage hole. The wider the better so that you can fit more plants or use several smaller containers and make a salad bowl grouping.

Soil and Fertilizer Use a good potting soil with organic ingredients. You have several choices for fertilizer, I like to use Osmocote or EB Stone Starter fertilizer to mix with the soil when I plant. Then I water plants in with Root Stimulator to get them off to a good start right away while you are waiting for the other fertilizer to kick in. If you feel that your plants need a little pick me up later in the season you could fertilize with a liquid fertilizer like Dr. Earth 3-3-3, it is organic and mild, perfect for container feeding.

Seeds – Lettuce grows pretty quickly from seed and there are a lot of varieties available. The downside is having to wait and see if it all came up where you want it to be. Lettuce seed is small so it is hard to place in just the right spot. Lettuce prefers cool weather, but can freeze if it is too cold for too long. Radishes can be added to your pot, but remember that they have to be pulled so leave space for them to be pulled where they won’t take any other plants with them. A fun herb to add from seed is Chervil. You could intermingle Chervil with the lettuce and they won’t disturb each other. It has a small lacey leaf with a flower similar to a parsley flower, both are edible. Chervil doesn’t transplant very well so it is a good choice to plant from seed. It also prefers cool weather, in warm weather Chervil flowers quickly and then doesn’t produce any more leaves. Chervil doesn’t hold its flavor well when dried so is best used fresh, can be put in salads or used in vegetable and fish dishes. Chervil and loose lettuces are Cut and Come again vegetables which means they will keep growing and producing more leaves after being cut back.

Plants You can get many types of lettuces in 6 packs and some mixed lettuces include mustards which are very good raw in salads or cooked in other dishes. Spinach and/or chard are also great choices for growing in a salad bowl. Always keep in mind the size of the mature plant and give them room to grow. To add color and keep things fun you can also add flowers like pansies, violas, and calendulas which are also edible and provide a lot of interest in a salad. Herbs also make a wonderful addition to a salad bowl and some great ones for containers are thymes, parsley and of course, chervil. In the warmer months nasturtiums make a wonderful addition and both the leaf and flower add a peppery flavor to a salad.

Give your salad bowl a few weeks to get rooted in and it will be ready for picking for a beautiful homegrown salad or graze off your bowl for a healthy snack…


Recommended Plants

6 packs or 4” pots:


· Lettuces

· Chervil

· Spinach

· Nasturtium

· Chard

· Radish

· Mizuna

· Chives

· Thyme

· Parsley

· Sage

· Viola

· Pansies

· Calendula

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