Garden And Gardener

Everything for the Gardener and their Garden

Salad Leaves

by Diane - June 27th, 2012.
Filed under: Thompson and Morgan.

Grow salad leaves at home – it can save you a fortune!
I’ve included simple instructions on how to grow salad leaves!
If you can water a houseplant then you can grow salad leaves at home. You can pick varieties that can grow all year round, through the winter and there are many different varieties of salad leaves to grow at home.
Whether you grow in pots on the window sill or have a shelf or two in the greenhouse you’ll enjoy eating homegrown lettuce and other salad leaves.
If you love having fresh salad to eat then you should consider growing your own. If you buy bags of lettuce ready to eat then you could easily spend a small fortune each year just on lettuce!
It’s easy to grow! You can buy mixes or single varieties!

Thompson and Morgan have a wide range of salad leaves

How to grow lettuce:
You’ll need pots, compost, seeds and to remember to water them.
Follow instructions on packets but generally the method is to fill and firm pots of compost, sprinkle seeds on top (not too many) and then lightly cover with compost, firm and water.

Start a new pot or two off every few days according to how much lettuce you eat. That way you’ll have a constant supply. It’s this ‘little and often’ sowing that is the secret to having lettuce ready all the time. If you like one particular type then just grow that. If you like a mixture then mix it up!

Salad Leaves ‘Speedy Mix’
A really quick growing mix for those gardeners who cannot wait! Salad Leaves Speedy Mixed produces a tasty blend of tastes, textures, colours and leaf shapes for sandwiches, salads and garnishes. Quickest during the summer months when Speedy Mixed will produce ‘salad leaves’ in about 25 days, but can also be sown all year indoors. Contents: Salad Rocket Victoria, Greek Cress, Mizuna, Mustard Green & Red Frills, Pak Choi Canton White.

You can grow in cold frame, greenhouse, or a windowsill. You can grow lettuce outside from Spring onwards. Some varieties are winter hardy but will do better with some shelter.

Varieties like Lettuce ‘All The Year Round’ (Butterhead) – Lactuca sativa – is a great one to grow. Sowing Months:March, April, May, June, July, August, September.

Lettuce ‘Arctic King’ (Butterhead) – sow in August, September, October! A fine lettuce known for its exceptional cold resistance and bred solely for autumn sowing.

Winter Gem lettuce – Sowing Months:January, September, October, November, December.

The range of lettuces available for spring and summer planting is enormous so you can find those easily.

Other leaves you might want to grow are: mizuna and pak choy. More exotic but worth a try at growing them at home. Lactuca sativa ‘Rusty’ – isn’t green!

You don’t have to spend a fortune on pots either. Save tubs and trays from tomatoes and other vegetables and use these. Make sure you put drainage holes in the ones you are putting the soil in. Match up containers so you have a plant tray and then a ‘saucer’ tray so you don’t drip water on the windowsills.
It’s really easy to grow salad leaves so you should give it a go.
A bag of seeds costs about the same as one lettuce bag but might contain thousands of seeds.

Some lettuce grow heads that are normally harvested as a whole – some are grow to cut and come again. You should be able to tell which is which easily from the pictures on the packet – and it should be written on too. If in doubt then look at the salad leaves as they grow. Do they seem to be hearting up once they get a couple of inches tall? If not then you can cut off leaves. It is easier to remove leaves using scissors rather than fingers. You do less damage to the roots of the plants.

AYR lettuce? What’s this then? Are you looking for a variety of lettuce called AYR? It’s actually an abbreviation for all year round!