Salad is my great love. Because I need at least one daily bowl and because I jam alot into each day – I’ve got salad growing down to a fine art. Here’s my easy peasy direct sown salads.
The method I’m sharing today is for looseleaf lettuce, not hearting ones. Looseleaf sown thickly creates a carpet of edible leaves that re sprout after harvest, giving you alot of bang for your buck. Use scissors to cut and leave a generous stub so they’ll regrow. A shot of liquid seaweed after harvest will keep them coming back again, and again, and again – 4 harvests is the norm in mild temperatures.
- For continuity of supply sow small patches often. At the first or second harvest it’s time to think about sowing the next little patch.
- Temperature plays a bit part in germination and all round happiness there after. Too cold is below 12℃ and too hot is above 26℃. Use trickery to moderate these extremes with plastic covers or put containers on the porch; or under shade cloth or shady bits under fruit trees or climbing beans.
- Soil needs to be soft (you can easily push your finger into it) and nourished (dark, wormy and smelling good).
- Direct sown saladings are perfectly suited for containers and their live fast die young style makes them well suited to growing alongside long term crops like corn, broccoli or beans. In a companion sense salads are loved and adored by all.
Clear any weeds thoroughly.
Add a thin layer of compost and work into the topsoil.
Water until the soil is nicely moist.
Pat the soil down for a firm base.
Put a few looseleaf varieties together in a jar and shake them up.
Sprinkle the seed thickly over your prepared area. This will help beat out the weeds
Cover with a thin layer of loose soil or light mulch and pat down. Tread lightly because lettuce needs light to germinate.
Peg a bit of shadecloth on top of the seed. This stops birds scratching and keeps the moisture in while germination happens. Take it off when there’s a carpet of seedlings.
Provided you keep your saladings moist (leave the sprinkler out for ease), in about 4 weeks time you’ll be harvesting your salads.