Gardening Magazine

Starting Some Salads

By Mwillis
The weather has improved sufficiently to tempt me to sow some more seeds. I sowed a seed-tray with a couple of pinches of seed from two different packs of Mixed Lettuce. One of them is French Salad Leaves Mix, which includes not only Lettuce but also a proportion of Endive, Radicchio and Rocket. I placed the seed-tray in my big new coldframe, and they germinated within just a few days (I think it was only 4).
Starting some salads
I am also having a go at a batch of what I call "Daddy Salad" - i.e. salad leaves intended to be cut at a very young age. The name is the one that my kids gave to this style of salad when they were young, and it has been used in our family ever since.  Last year I used a technique that proved very successful, so I'm using it again. It involves sowing the seeds in a sort of "bed within a bed":
Starting some salads
Last year I made two of these little wooden squares, using bits of scrap wood. They are roughly 45cm square. The idea is that with the wire grilles laid over the top, as seen in the photos, they act as a protected environment, shielding tiny seeds/plants from the ravages of cats, foxes and badgers.
Starting some salads
The wooden frame and the metal grille is held in place by a bent wire "staple" at each corner.
Starting some salads
For this salad I have used a mix of Lettuce, Rocket, Endive and Greek Cress, which should give a crop that is varied in colour, shape, texture and flavor. Once the seedlings are a couple of inches high, I will sow the second square with a similar mix of seeds, so that they mature at about the time that the first one's plants are finished. You can usually get 2 or 3 cuts from this type of salad.
Today I also want to show off this:
Starting some salads
It is Wild Garlic coming up amongst the Lysimachia (or vice versa!). I think it makes a good color combination, don't you?

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