In the grocery store, you could pay up $3 for a 24 ounce bag of romaine and spinach and up to $5 for organic salad. That does not include salad dressing, sunflower seeds, croutons, and especially not cheese!
I’ll let you do the math on how much a fresh garden salad costs in a fancy restaurant! All that and there’s still no guarantee that pesticides or other chemicals weren’t used.
If most people knew how simple it is to grow an abundant amount of leafy greens we use for salads (lettuce, kale and spinach, etc.) they’d never buy another expensive bag of salad again!
The first time I tried to grow salad, I got over zealous with the seeds and before I knew it, I had so much salad that I could cut grocery bags full of salad one day and go back again the next – it grew back at lightening speed. By the end of the season, I let some go to seed and the next year I had volunteer lettuce growing all over the yard – it was awesome!
Last year, we decided to do things a little differently. Instead of planting directly in the ground, we decided to sow seeds in a container – a recycled baby pool to be exact.
When it finally warmed up enough for the seeds to sprout, it seemed like one week they were sprouts and the next they were ready for a small salad.
They grew almost effortlessly and you can grow them just as easily.
If you’d like to grow your own super healthy salad mix, here’s what to do:
How to grow salad greens in a container
Select a suitable container
It doesn’t need to be more than 6-10 inches deep. The wider the container, the better, you want more surface area than depth. If you’ve got an old baby pool like ours, give it a try!
Poke holes for drainage
Proper drainage is very important. You don’t want water sitting in the container and drowning your plants’ roots. They’ll end up rotting and nothing will be able to grow well.
Fill your container with garden soil or compost
Add garden soil or compost to your container, but don’t overfill. Leave a few inches from the top. This will give you room to add mulch or more compost if needed.
Sow seeds or transplant established salad greens
You can also transplant established plants from the garden center (costs around $3 for six plants). You could also do a combination of both so that you can maximize the growing time. Spring is the perfect time for lettuce, kale, swiss chard and spinach. I’ve got a few different varieties of each one – I’ll sow some Black Seed Simpson lettuce when it gets warmer because they can handle higher temperatures. Most of these plants don’t grow well when the temperatures get to high – they’ll grow a few leaves and then will immediately start going to seed.
Water frequently, but don’t over water. The warmer it gets outside the more water your plants will need. If temperatures are cool, you won’t need to water as often.
Harvest again and again
Rather than pulling the entire plant up and harvesting that way, I like to cut a few outer leaves from each plant at a time. This way, the plants will continue to grow and you’ll be able to come back a few days later.
You’ll get more salad for you and your family and you’ll be surprised how quickly it will replenish itself.
Growing salad greens is probably the most no-fuss vegetable to grow. Once you start growing lettuce, you won’t be able to stop, you’ll quickly get addicted to having free healthy salad everyday. So stock up on your favorite dressings and give this a try.
If you decide to recycle a baby pool, send me your pics! I’d love to share them here with our readers. If you have any tips for growing salad greens, please share them in the comments section.