Gardening Magazine

The Salad Challenge

By Jules
I'd fully intended joining the 52 week salad challenge that was started over on VP's Veg Plotting blog back in January. I even thought I had a head start as I'd managed to germinate a few lettuce seeds (butterhead type) in the greenhouse in December. Smugly I transplanted the strongest 2 to small pots and waited for them to burst into growth so I could have my first salad by the end of January.

The salad challenge

note: reused label, thus date from last summer
And I waited, and I waited and then I waited some more. And then I realised that small pots of my own homemade compost might not contain the optimum nutrition required by these young plants. (Note to self: pay more attention in plant health and nutrition classes...)

As the weather had recently improved, I decided the time was right to send these little seedlings out into the big bad world to fend for themselves. So I planted them out into my salady/green leaves raised bed and topped them off with a cloche (yes, another one - I couldn't resist it/it was in the sale/I had a 20% discount code). It's a beautiful replica Victorian one and the lettuces seem to really be enjoying themselves in there...

The salad challenge

In the spaces around them I have sown some mixed salad leaf seeds that have performed very well for me in previous years - a mix of oak leaf, cos and something resembling mizuna.
The salad challenge

Meanwhile back in the greenhouse is a rather large tray of lettuce seedlings that I brought home from college last week. We're doing lots of practical sessions at the moment and did our 'seed sowing in containers' practice last month - of which this is my result. A conservative estimate puts around 200 seedlings in this tray - and they're still germinating. Maybe this year is my foray into commercial lettuce production?
The salad challenge
seedlings as far as the eye can see...

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