Sewing salad greens in pots and containers

I couldn’t really not do some work in my veggie garden today – it has been blissfully hot and sunny, and we have to make the most of it. Sadly I did have to pop to my Studio at Spode Works for a bit in the morning, and I was really impressed by the very healthy lettuces in the beautiful container garden which has been created by Studio artists Su and Sally, outside the studio entrance.

Lettuces in the Spode Works Studio garden

Don’t they look luscious?

Seeing these beautiful homegrown greens reminded me of the news story about bagged salad this week – did you see it? Apparently, about 40% of the bagged salad that we buy in the UK goes in the bin. I’m not really surprised by that – they are generally pretty disappointing in taste, flavour and texture, and go off so quickly – and there always seems to be a slimy bit when you first open the bag. Ugh….

Growing salad greens is so easy… 

What does surprise me though is that more people don’t grow their own lettuce and salad leaves, especially in the summer, it’s so easy.

In the midst of being smug about people throwing salad away, I realised I hadn’t actually planted any of my own this year. So that was the job for late afternoon in the vegetable garden. I like to grow lettuce and salad leaves in small containers as well as in the main veggie garden – it means there is more space available, which means I can plant a few seeds every couple of weeks or so over the summer season, and avoid getting loads of leaves all at once. I also like to plant a really nice variety of leaves for colour and flavour, and so I can use them both raw and cooked.

Picture showing a couple of pots being used to plant lettuce and salad green seeds

So today I’ve put in some mâche, which is the fancy French name for lamb’s lettuce or corn salad, and some Indian mustard greens, which have a lovely spicy flavour and are great in curries too.

I just used an ordinary peat-free compost, with some water retaining crystals so I don’t have to water them quite so often. The good thing about using these small pots is that I can move them out of the full sun on a day like today, so there’s less risk that they will bolt and run to seed very quickly.

Picture of a plant label made using a whittled stick

The other trick I picked up from Su was to whittle (oh so exciting to use that word in a blog post) a little stick to use as a plant marker! Fun to do and very economical and eco-friendly.

Hope you have been enjoying some sunny times too today.

5 thoughts on “Sewing salad greens in pots and containers

  1. What a good idea to grow salad leaves in your pots and I love the whittled stick plant marker – that’s brilliant! I’ve been growing very simple trays of mustard and cress for my £1-a-day food challenge and had forgotten how simple a process it is and how satisfying even though we always grew mustard and cress as children. Only takes a week or so to get a crop ready to harvest with mustard and cress too. Cut down mushroom trays make excellent seed trays for this – just need to make sure I sow liberally and frequently enough to keep up the supply! Wishing you a lovely Bank Holiday, Ali! E x

  2. Talking of being fearful; I so want to grow my own salad leaves in pots but so scared of it not working. Are what is called salad leaves on the packets better than the ones that show a head in the picture? How big are your pots and do you need to feed them along the way? We have a very small garden and it was almost all paved over when we bought the house so nowhere to sow anything other than pots.

    1. Hi Maga – what great questions! You can grow salad leaves in any pot that’s bigger than about 20cm across the top and 15cm deep. You can also pop them in with other plants – a great combination is salad leaves with calendula (marigolds) in larger pots. Salad leaves don’t need much root space and won’t need any feeding if you use ordinary multi-purpose compost. I grow lettuce and salad leaves and it really depends on what sort of salad leaves you like really! I don’t often let the lettuces form a ‘head’ – I just pick leaves as I need them. Hope this helps! It really is worth an experiment for some lovely fresh greens.

  3. Hi Ali great post. I am not a gardener but think I could have a go at your pots – fresh lettuce would be fantastic. Have a great weekend and thanks for your wonderful posts I always look forward to hearing your news. Greetings to all my fellow Ali followers xxxxxx🙋🏻😘

    1. Thanks so much Dorothy. I really recommend having a go with lettuce – you can’t really go wrong. Your only enemy is slugs, and it is a bit easier to defeat them if your salad leaves are in a pot. 😀 😀 Hope you are having a great weekend.

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