The simple beauty of salad greens is that they are so easy to grow. Whether you plant by seed or set out transplants, you can have fresh greens year round.
Leaf vegetables are shallow rooted so they require a soil that is loose and holds moisture. They are well adapted to either “in the ground” or container culture. In the ground, prepare soil by blending Sloat Loam Builder or Planting mix 50/50 with the native soil. Incorporate EB Stone Sure Start and Agricultural Lime according to directions. Rake the bed to a fine crumble. If you are planting in containers, use Sloat Organic Potting Soil and Sure Start.
When seeding greens, you can either plant them in rows or broadcast them. Broadcasting works best with the smaller seeds of lettuce, arugula, mustard, and mache. Water the seedbed in the morning and afternoon for the first week to ensure the germinating seedlings do not dry out. Germination takes 5 to 10 days. When the seedlings have reached an inch in height thin to 3” apart. Feed your plants monthly with a liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion or Maxsea All Purpose. Planting white alyssum with your greens will help keep troublesome aphids in check. The alyssum flower is a food source for beneficial insects such as syriphid fly and parasitic wasp.
To harvest your greens, there are three methods. You can wait until the plants have reached a sufficient size and harvest the entire plant or, better alternatives are to harvest the outside leaves as needed or to use the “cut and come again” method. These last methods allow you to harvest over a longer period of time. To cut, snip plants off 1” to 2” above the soil line. The plants will regrow in a matter of days. To remove individual leaves, slightly twist the leaf to the side at its base. Do not remove so many leaves that you expose too much of the stem.
Available at all Sloat Garden Centers this month