Growing a garden specifically for summer salads is a popular garden theme.
Instead of wondering what to plant in your garden this year think of all the vegetables you would use to make a salad, and just grow those!
It’s a fun garden project and you will be happy and healthy all summer long enjoying daily fresh salads.
Plants that are normally chosen for salad gardens are ones that you love to eat and may include: a variety of greens, assorted tomatoes, radishes, carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, and fresh herbs.
Using a raised bed garden with the maximum size of 4x8 should yield enough summer salads for a family of four. If you don’t have a raised bed yet, you can do a quick internet search on how to build one.
You could also use pallets, concrete blocks, and other found materials to create a rasied bed garden. The best thing about raised bed gardens is the ability to control the soil (and that it’s easier on your back!). You can also attach a small fence around the bed to protect your plants from animals enjoying your salads.
Some of the crops you may be interested in planting include:
Arugula: seeds can be direct sowed and will mature in about 2-3 weeks. Sow every 2 weeks for a continued supply throughout the season.
Leaf or Mesclun Lettuce: seeds can be direct sowed and harvested within 3-4 weeks. Sow every 3 weeks for continued supply. Harvest in the morning for maximum crispness.
Spinach: seeds can be direct sowed and harvested within 3-4 weeks. Can be sowed every 3 weeks or pick individual leaves from the outer edges. Harvest leaves before the spinach plant sends up a flower stalk.
Mizuna Mustard: a unique salad green. Seeds can be direct sowed and ready to harvest in 3 weeks.
Baby Persian Cucumbers: direct sow seeds for maturity in about 60 days. Pick often to encourage more fruit!
Radish: there are so many unique varieties of radishes and they grow quick! Cut up the radishes for use in salads or pickling and use the greens to make pesto. Add more olive oil to the pesto for a lovely salad dressing.
Little Finger Carrots: these are true baby carrots that can be direct sowed and will mature in less than 60 days. The longer they stay in the ground the bigger they will get.
Starter plants to get include:
Tomatoes: beefsteak, heirloom, cherry, pear, or any of your favorite varieties.
Bell Peppers: red, yellow, or green (hot peppers are great for salad dressings).
Herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, oregano, parsley, rosemary, or sage.
Of course you can add zucchini, summer squash, green beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, and so much more to your salads! Your salad garden can be designed to your liking.
And no salad garden is complete with out some basic salad dressing recipes. Click here for a few of my favorite dressing recipes.
A basic vinaigrette is made with 1 part vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, white wine, or even regular lemon juice) and 3 parts extra virgin olive oil. You can add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Optionally season with Dijon mustard, minced shallots or garlic, and/or chopped fresh herbs.
So what will you add to your salad garden this year? Let me know! Happy gardening!
(NOTE: original post was written by me for The Emery Farm Journal.)
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.