Growing Salad Leaves in the Greenhouse
I like to add up the costs of renting an allotment plus the costs of compost, seeds, feed etc, against the savings I can make growing my own vegetables (and producing free range eggs). I find this helps a lot with motivation, because as you may be aware, running an allotment can be exhausting and time consuming.
Doing one of these assessments the other day, I included, for the first time, growing salad. Even though I have grown salad leaves in the greenhouse over the past three years, I hadn't really calculated just what a precious commodity salad leaves are.
If you consider that a bag of salad is going to cost at least 50p in the supermarket, growing salad in the greenhouse can soon mount up to a substantial saving. I like to grow salad leaves in plastic six packs. I fill the six packs with compost, then sprinkle the seeds onto the surface. I then press down the compost to firm and sprinkle compost over to cover the seeds. I finish off by watering in.
I could fit about 100 six packs on my greenhouse shelves and over a season, I reckon I could grow around three hundred packs. I can certainly grow all the salad leaves I need and this represents a significant saving.
Of course, if you don't like salad, you may think this is not for you, however, you can still benefit from this quick to grow food source. I don't particularly like salads myself, but, I don't mind a starter of egg mayonnaise salad and I don't particularly mind adding salads to my sandwiches. Also, soups can be made from salad leaves.
Once you start to introduce simple salad starters to your meals on a daily basis, it is surprising how quickly you get used to the idea.
I grow the salad leaves in the greenhouse and then transport some packs to my house where they sit on the window sill until we need to cut off the leaves when preparing a meal. I don't really bother with cut and come again concepts. Once the salad pack is depleted, I simply put the soil into the compost bin and then plant out another lot. I usually plant at least one a day. Additionally, because my wife likes radishes, I plant these out in six packs too. Six seeds per pack. Radishes grow extremely fast and are a useful addition to salads (if you like them of course).
I grow salad leaves all year round. Later on in the season, you can harvest new potatoes (if you want them really early, grow in the greenhouse) and tomatoes for a more substantial main course salad meal.
Due to consistency, quality and high germination rates, I like to purchase the best seed I can afford, but, I've had good results from salad leaf seeds bought in cheaper supermarkets. My most recent purchase was a pack of "Bright & Spicy" Salad Leaves by Thompson & Morgan. This particular mix should be ready to harvest in thirty days or less.
Now that I have discovered the benefits of growing salad leaves I am really getting into it. Why not give it a go, and if you grow too much, you can always give some away to neighbours and friends. back to our homepage
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