Growing salad greens in a container is an easy and fast way to jumpstart your gardening, and when the weather warms, you can move the container right outside—a la deck-side salad service.
Gearing Up to Garden
Container: A container with holes and a saucer/tray so you can water thoroughly, and roots won’t get soggy.
Soil: Seed starting mix or sterile potting soil—not garden/topsoil.
Seeds: So many delicious options! My best advice is to grow what you’ll eat, and to grow a variety of textures and colors. Many seed companies sell a salad mix to cover all your bases in one seed packet. Look at days to maturity to help you decide.
Light: A sunny south-facing window (after the spring equinox) or a grow light both work to get these greens growing.
Fill container with soil just below the edge and then water to damp before seeding. Most lettuce seeds are just pushed into the surface, or lightly covered with soil. Water in gently, some people prefer to use a spray bottle. Cover with clear plastic (to hold in moisture) until you see growth, usually 2-4 days. Keep watered and in a sunny spot.
Move outside gradually once temps are more than 40 degrees, leaving outside full time after a week. Salad greens are quite cold hardy. Simply bring container back inside if temps are to hit a frost. If you plan to keep growing in the same container into summer, add some compost or an organic fertilizer to keep them producing.
Enjoy homegrown salads earlier than ever before!
Michelle Bruhn is a writer, educator and community organizer focused on helping neighbors dig local food through her Forks in the Dirt online presence, classes and farmers markets. Dig a little deeper into Bruhn’s passion for gardening and to learn a bit more about her Forks in the Dirt blog.