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Grow Your Own Salad

If you love salads, consider growing your own salad garden. With a few materials serving up a salad can be as easy as deciding what to snip onto a plate.

First, choose if you want your garden indoors or out. If indoors, lighting will need to be adequate. Think about what you have to work with. Sunny windows are ideal, but also consider what you want to grow as well if you want seasonal produce or prefer full year salads at your fingertips. Do your research so that you know what plants prefer full or partial sun and consider which window or outdoor spot provides optimal sunlight for what you are planting.

Next, choose what holders or spot will work best for your garden needs and space. Containers are good choices as they can be moved around or brought indoors as needed. Trellises can also be added to them for climbing plants like tomato and cucumber vines. Another base good for growing vegetables are salad tables and boxes. These are fairly easy to construct and can be made in accordance with what size you would like to have. Smaller ones are easier to move indoors or out.

If plantings will be outside, contemplate buying a window box garden or making your own if you don’t have a patch of land good for gardening. If you do opt for a window box, make sure it is properly secured with safety braces as they can become heavy especially when adding soil and water. Consult a contractor if there are any building questions.

Whatever you choose to hold your goods, make sure to use quality soil or compost. Good drainage is essential as are natural nutrients for feeding your plants. As for what you will grow, make sure that it can be maintained in the particular season you are growing it.

Think about what you like in your salads when choosing things to plant. Planting and tending to a salad garden can be as simple as having lettuce and tomatoes, or can be as versatile as you decide. Dark green lettuces have more vitamins and calcium, but lighter greens, like butter leaf lettuces can have a creamier texture. Tomatoes and peppers come in huge varieties and are usually fairly easily grown indoors or out. Any combination of vegetables will work, as long as optimal growing conditions are provided.

You can also use your items for more than the basic salad, as you can even make homemade dressing to pour on top of your salad provisions. If you grow tomatoes they can be used to make an easy tomato vinaigrette dressing and can also be dried for use in other dishes. Pesto can be made by blending together greens like spinach leaves and basil and is great on pasta salads.

Having your own salad garden is a frugal way to have bistro quality salads at your disposal. Growing your own items costs much less than packaged ones at markets or diners, plus leftover greens can have a second life and be used as compost. The next time you want a plate of salad, it can be as easy as grabbing a bowl and filling it at your own little salad bar.

TheGuardian.co.uk: How to Grow Your Own Salad in a Window Box by Alys Fowler

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