Salad from scratch
Growing your own greens produces rewarding, chemical-free food
THIS year, take advantage of the ease and simplicity of growing your own salad greens. It’s easy and affordable and you’ll love the enhanced flavour your salads will have using freshly grown greens.
Not only will your taste buds love the experience, but one of the benefits of “growing your own” is you’ll know what has been done to the plants — meaning, no chemicals!
As well, many salad crops are described as ‘cut and come again’ which means you just snip off leaves when you need them and leave the rest of the plant to keep growing until it’s ready to harvest again.
A wonderful “salad green project” is Mesclun, a mixture of leafy greens whose name is derived from a Provençal French term meaning “to mix” or “mixture.”
Whether you’re new to gardening or just want to try something a little different, this option is definitely worth considering.
The wonderful array of delicious greens is not only delicious but their unique colours and textures offer a certain ornamental quality to their surroundings when grown in containers or garden beds. Patio containers look amazing with the leafy greens of Mesclun growing among the flowers.
Another favourite to include are beets or swiss chard. When young, these beautiful greens are tasty as a leafy vegetable in salads, and are excellent steamed with butter once they’ve matured. With beets, you also have a beet root at the end of the season to enjoy as well.
An additional benefit to growing salad ingredients such as Mesclun, beets or swiss chard is that they are direct-sow selections. Direct-sow means the seeds are more suited to planting in their final growing place and do not need to be started early and indoors, saving time and space.
Direct-sow varieties should be sown into a soil that is fine in texture and free of larger debris. It’s beneficial to work in some organic matter prior to planting. This continually improves soil structure, which is key in maintaining a high-yielding garden. weather crop, so many gardeners avoid growing it in the hottest part of the summer and instead grow successive plantings in spring through early summer and then start another crop in the early fall.
Swiss Chard Bright Lights. A decorative rainbow that is mild-tasting and easy to grow.
Spicy Mesclun Mix is ideal for containers — a wonderful medley of red and green leaves that will heighten taste sensations.
Mild Mesclun Mix. This mix of mild leafy greens and lettuces is a great addition to your garden, with striking
reds and greens.