How much do you enjoy a good fresh salad? You can grow your own Salad Bowl Garden year round and have a never ending supply of salad greens.
It is possible to have a never ending supply of salad greens year round, if you are willing to put in a little work on the front end of growing your own salad greens. I’m talking about growing lettuce and other salad fixings year round. It requires some strategic planning. I am talking about succession planting both outside in the Spring and Fall and inside during the heat of the Summer.
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Succession Planting for Salad Greens Year Round
Begin by planting your first Salad Bowl Garden and let it grow for about two weeks. Then set up your next salad bowl to grow. Those two salad bowls will produce lettuce regularly but if you are super serious about your salad greens and you have the space, you can follow with a third one about two weeks after you plant the second one.
Plant Salad Bowl Garden #1
Two Weeks Later (Week 4)
Plant Salad Bowl Garden #2
Two More Weeks Later (Week 6)
Plant Salad Bowl Garden #3
When To Plant Lettuce
Lettuce is a cool weather crop which means you cannot grow it outside in the summer months. However, you can grow it indoors any time of the year. Depending on how much space you have for a few salad bowl gardens indoors. You can sit your salad bowl container gardens outside in Spring and Fall.
See: Salad Bowl Gardening Made Easy for more detailed information on planting and harvesting lettuce.
Spring and Fall
Leave your salad bowl container garden outside when temperatures are between 40-75° F. You can give your lettuce bowl a head start a few weeks before moving it outside in the Spring or Fall by starting it indoors in a sunny window.
If you are planting seeds, calculate the germination time based on the type of lettuce you are planting. That information is on the seed package. When planting seeds, you still need to sit your container in the window as sunlight is needed for germination.
Planting seedlings is my personal favorite mostly because I’m too excited to wait on the seeds to pop up even though that is quite exciting to watch. You can do both, seeds and seedlings but be sure to stagger their planting for succession harvests.
Hot summer heat is a deal breaker for lettuce. This is when you will want to move all of your lettuce container gardens indoors to a sunny window. If you have been growing lettuce in the ground or a raised bed, you can make a container garden now. Start them from scratch, inside and grow your own salad greens all summer long indoors.
Harvesting Salad Greens Year Round
Loose Leaf Lettuce
Loose leaf lettuce will continue to grow more leaves if you harvest from the outer leaves first. You can actually begin harvesting loose leaf as soon as young tender leaves appear. Either pinch off carefully or use scissors to cut the leaves. Wait at least 3 days before harvesting the same plant again. Rinse off your fresh salad greens and dry on paper towels or use a Salad Spinner like this to dry them. Freshly harvested lettuce will store in fridge for a few days.
While you can also harvest head lettuce by cutting the outside leave first, we generally grow it for the entire head. To harvest the whole head at one time, use a sharp knife to cut it off above the dirt. Head lettuce requires a little more space than leaf lettuce which means you can’t grow as much at one time in a container. It also takes longer to harvest.
Not much space for growing lettuce indoors? You can grow lettuce in a Solo cup! Watch the video below to see how.
Timing Your Succession Planting
As you gain experience, you will figure out the perfect schedule for growing a continuous supply of lettuce for you and your family. In the video above, he seems to be growing lettuce for one person so one container will be sufficient to harvest at one time. However, if you want to try growing lettuce in Solo cups and you have a family of four, grow more cups at one time. Then plant the next set two weeks later and so forth and so on to give your family a never ending supply of healthy salad greens.
The key to always having a supply of fresh home grown, organic lettuce is succession planting and year round planting. Set your containers outside in the Spring and Fall and bring them inside by a sunny window during the heat of the summer.