Summer is the time when salads become a necessary part of our diet. Growing your own salad greens is a satisfying, easy project that any gardener can fit into their garden space and enjoy the perks of the best flavor and nutritional value. Home-grown salads are quick and easiest to grow because you don't need a lot of room to grow them. You can grow your greens in a garden bed or container.
When you grow your own salad leaves, you can harvest them whenever you want to make delicious salads and eat them fresh throughout the season. A salad garden allows you to choose from multiple types of greens and various varieties.
In this blog, we'll share popular salad crops you can grow all season in your garden. And if you want to learn how to get started and grow your own salad garden, this blog is for you. Let's begin!
Choosing Greens for the Perfect Mix
Salad leaves include a diverse range of leafy crops from various plant families to bring all kinds of colors, flavors, and textures to your salads. Here are the heat-tolerant salad greens and other crops to add to your salad garden this summer. These mild-tasting and spicy salad crops will bring delicious flavors and fun colors to your salads.
A salad can't be a salad without the beloved lettuce, it is one of the main ingredients in a salad. You'll find various varieties of lettuce in the market, including butterhead, rocket, Lollo Rossa, and red salad bowl.
Lettuce is the easiest green to grow and germinate quickly. You can eat its leaves in around three weeks. By sowing more seeds each week, you will have a good supply all season long.
Lettuce can be grown in a container, ground, or sunny windowsill. Moreover, Butterhead lettuce is one of the best types to grow in summer. You must take extra care and keep them mulched and moist throughout the summer.
It's an attractive and easy-to-grow leafy crop similar to spinach. There're various varieties of chard that vary in color rather than flavor. Its red ribs, thick leaf stems, and veins provide the most color.
Vulcan Chard is a type of chard that can tolerate summer temperatures and keep growing until the first frost. It grows best in open and sunny places. And the leaves of Vulcan chard are tender and delicately crisp.
The slight, cabbage-like flavor of mizuna pairs well with other greens in the salad. Its leaves and stems have a mildly tangy flavor when young and a slightly peppery flavor when mature. You can harvest young mizuna after 20 days of sowing. Although mizuna is a cool-season vegetable, it grows steadily year-round.
Herbs are ideal for summer salads, increasing the flavor and adding spice to your meal. They're easy to grow and provide cut-and-come-again leaves the whole season. The herbs that grow well in pots are oregano, coriander, mint, thyme, chives, basil, and rosemary.
Annual herbs can be sown all year to grow on the kitchen windowsill. However, if you plan to grow indoors, place the pot in a sunny place with a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight daily.
Want to know how to grow your own herbs at home? Check out this guide on our website!
This looseleaf Chinese cabbage can be grown in window boxes and raised beds. It is a cut-and-come-again crop that grows super-fast. Tokyo Bekana looks like lettuce and has a slight, lettuce-like flavor, making an excellent base for greens salad.
You can harvest its baby leaves or large, frilly leaves. If you prefer a slighter mustard taste, use it as baby greens because the mature leaves have a brassica-like flavor.
Komatsuna is a Japanese leaf vegetable that is a turnip relative. This plant can grow all year round, from warmer summer days to cold winter nights. In addition, it is one of the fastest-growing salad greens in the garden that reaches maturity in only 40 days.
Baby leaves of komatsuna have a mild flavor and are great for mixed salads. However, larger leaves become a bit bitter, so they can be added to several meals.
Radishes are the best summer salad vegetable because they're easy to grow, and you can harvest them within 3 to 4 weeks of planting. They can add a spicy zing to your salad. The good thing about this crop is that it only requires a little space to grow.
For a small and delicious harvest, you can sow the vegetable in a pot and place it on the bright balcony or kitchen windowsill.
Tomatoes and Cucumbers
You can't beat the taste of fresh home-grown tomatoes that are picked warm from the sun and eaten fresh in summer salads. Tomatoes are one of the easiest summer vegetables to grow, requiring lots of sunlight and well-drained soil. Once their color changes from green to light pink, you can pick them. Cherry and grape tomatoes are the staple of salads and are also fun to grow. Additionally, Cucumbers are excellent summer fruit that can add a refreshing crunch to your salads. They thrive in summer but need deep watering and lots of organic matter. These veggies can take several weeks from sowing to harvesting.
In addition to these, the other tasty salad leaves include cress, mibuna, spicy mustards, pak choi, spinach, and more. Choose the quality mix of salad crops to grow in the garden that perfectly balances colors and flavors. You can buy seeds individually or choose from various seed mixes.
Some mixes are for year-round sowing or season, for spicy or mild taste combinations, or for decorative appeal. However, get enough seeds to keep you going all season. This way, you can plant something new every 2-3 weeks and enjoy.
Preparing the ground
First and foremost, choose a partially shaded site to delay bolting and expand harvesting in summer. It is best to start seeds indoors to protect your greens from the intense heat of summer.
The soil should be fertile and moisture-retentive to grow your salad garden. So, dig in garden compost, level the soil surface, and add organic fertilizer before planting.
Salad greens are easy to grow from seeds or also from plant starts. Direct sowing is more straightforward and allows dense planting. The main challenge for direct-sown crops is to provide enough water. Use drip irrigation to ensure your plants get the right amount of water.
Harvest as needed
One of the best things about growing your own salad garden is that they're ready to harvest in 3 to 4 weeks. No matter what planting method you use, once the greens reach a usable size, harvest them. A few leaves from each crop gives you a perfect mix of fresh greens for salad, and you'll be surprised to see how quickly these plants generate new leaves. Finally, rinse the leaves properly, spin them dry, add to your salads, and enjoy.