How to Grow Salads Without a Lot of Space

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Want to grow your own food but you haven’t got a garden? You don’t need one.

Behold the windowsill garden plan:

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In preparation for some short videos I’ll be doing here, at youngground HQ, I’ve set up my windowsill as a growing space. Now, the above picture gives you an idea of the kind of things that you could be growing in the spring; yet, as it’s the winter, I’ve taken out the beetroot and added lots and lots of winter salads instead.

Your Guide to Home-grown Salads

The Pot

I’ve chosen one of those long, thin kind of pots you can pick up from most retailers in this experiment. It fits nicely into my windowsill, as you will see below. What’s really important here is that the windowsill that your pot goes on top of receives 5 hours of sunlight. The pot itself should also be around 30-50 cm deep. You can get away with less if you’re choosing to grow something like basil.

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 The Soil

Available from most retailers. I’d personally go for a specific container compost – which you can get online. If you have it delivered, it saves you a job too. Make sure that throughout the growing season you give your little crops a small feed of general fertiliser, as well. This will help keep the tasty greens in tip-top shape.

The Seeds

I’ve gone for a packet of winter salads here. At this time of year, the light levels are obviously much lower, however, spinach, lettuce, rocket, mizuna and basil should all do well here.

The Watering

I didn’t actually water this as the soil had been outside and was already quite damp. It’s best to give your soil a little sprinkling of water before you sow the small seeds as this stops them from being washed about. I added a thin layer of vermiculite here, but you really don’t have to. Just make sure that the soil is wet enough by placing the tip of your finger a couple of centimetres below soil level. I use a water bottle with a sports lid to water as this doesn’t disturb the seeds, or the more vulnerable seedlings, as they grow.

The Sowing

Doesn’t have to be well-thought-out here. Just scatter your small seeds across the surface of the pot and you’re done. Just to finish things off, give the seeds a little coating of soil and you’re ready to harvest some tasty greens.

The Continuous Crop

To keep your salads productive for a much longer time, sow one half of the pot today and the next in a week. This plugs up any gaps that you might have waiting for a new crop to appear. Once the first set of leaves is around 10cm high, simply harvest the salads by pinching out the outer leaves; this will allow the younger leaves to develop and keep the plant healthy as it grows.

Cheap, flavoursome salads grown in your own home! What are you waiting for?

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