Homegrown salad all summer long, that’s the dream huh? Sadly for me it’s never been a reality no matter how enthusiastic I’ve been in the beginning it just takes a row of pigeon pecked lettuces, slug ravaged seedlings or bolted spinach to break my heart and dwindle my motivation.
I love ideas like 52 Week Salad Challenge pioneered by the Veg Plotting and their Twitter hashtag #saladchat of growing salad for 52 weeks of the entire year and I doff my hat to those that have achieved this. The reality of my life is it’s really tough to keep it up. We live in a one bed flat with limited windowsill space and no outdoor space close to home of our own. Sure yeah we’ve got the plot but we share it with all the marauding critters down there and whilst away at work during the weekday and under the cover of darkness they feast upon our salad veg the most!
This summer we’re going it another go. Using some shallow galvanised tin buckets I’ve sown some salad and herb seeds and another of pea shoots. The salad and herb mix is growing great and we’ve already had some wonderful handfuls of rocket, mizuna and baby leaf spinach. The pea shoots however the plot mice snuffled out the pea seeds and munch away at all but one! The second attempt I covered under a cloche of an old window frame and they (finger crossed) are doing much better. Both I have sown in a mix of peat free compost, organic salad fertiliser granules and some moisture retaining crystals to try and avoid the bolting from irregular watering.
Of course outside is not the only place to grow salad ingredients. A couple of years ago I was really into sprouting seeds. Radishes, rocket, alfalfa, chickpeas, sunflowers, all sorts, but after an outbreak of tiny beetles and their larvae from some infected seeds I was completely put off! This season I’m determined to dust off my sprouting jars and give it another go. Today I have sown some basil and celery seeds for micro leaves and soaking some Chia and sunflowers seeds to sprout in some jars.
Small salad steps towards a summer of salad.