Posted on 28 May 2008 by

Salad Time

By Cindy Naas

My favorite thing about growing my own vegetables is the amazing salads I can make.

Salad season is my favourite time of the year. Mine starts out with the early lettuces and spinach and keeps right on through till the last chard and arugula have been eaten in the fall.

Here are some good bets for growing your best salads ever.


One of the easiest ways for an urban gardener to grow fresh salads is to plant mesclun, a mix of various lettuces, greens and herbs. This is easily grown in containers if you don’t have the room for narrow rows. I plant several long planting boxes with mesclun seed mix.

Mesclun is good because it keeps producing for a long while after you begin harvesting. After your planter of mesclun is leafy and ready to eat, just cut some into a bowl with scissors, water thoroughly and let it grow for a few more days. You’ll be able to get several cuttings from each planter of mesclun.

Another good choice for salad greens is to grow a long season lettuce. Many lettuces do well early in the season but bolt quickly in the heat of summer. Finding a long season lettuce allows the gardener to keep on harvesting lettuce even in August. When planting lettuce, make sure to plant a new row or planter weekly in order to have a continuous supply once it’s ready to eat.

More Good Veggies

In my lettuce planters, I always plant radishes and carrots as well. They don’t take up much room when they are small and can replace the lettuce once it is spent, so my planting space isn’t going to waste. Also, however, the thinnings from the new seedlings make an excellent addition to any salad. Other vegetables which are good to eat when being thinned are spinach, chard, kale and beets.

Baby vegetables can be another nice addition to a summer salad. Try adding in a few very tiny new zucchini. Cabbages picked and eaten when they are the size of tennis balls are very tender and tasty, and baby beets are absolutely delicious.

Dress It Up

My favorite salad dressing recipe was given to me by a gardening friend from the West Coast. Like mine, her salads start out being fairly basic in spring and by summer’s end have evolved into glorious medleys of fruit, veggies and greens, seeds, and just about anything else the fridge can offer, turning a salad into a meal.

The one constant I have in my salad bowl is this dressing, and my guests always ask for the recipe. Try it on your next bowl of home-grown salad, it might become your own favorite, too.

  • 4 tablespoons good quality olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 clove fresh crushed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon good mustard (I use a Dijon horseradish mustard)
  • 1 dash soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs- summer savoury, oregano or thyme are especially good
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • fresh ground pepper

3 Responses to “Salad Time”

  1. Michael Nolan Says:

    Yay for salad greens that have nothing to do with the anemic and tasteless iceberg crud!

  2. Dani in NC Says:

    I harvested my first lettuce ever this morning! My husband was unimpressed but it excited me :-). I only got enough to put on my sandwich but it made me happy. I definitely need to find some more planters so I can plant some more.

  3. Milla Valkeasuo Says:

    Mmm salad… 🙂

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