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Salad Bowl Gardening Made Easy

Salad bowl gardening is another fabulous way to grow your own food without needing a big plot of land to do it. Let’s jump right into the nitty-gritty of this hot gardening topic.

Lettuce growing in a plastic container in a sunny windowsill

Lettuce plants do not have deep roots making them perfect for container gardening. They also don’t require a whole lot of soil to retain moisture which means you can use a shallow bowl for growing a lettuce garden.

Is it just me or does it seem like bagged salad at the grocery store gets recalled every year due to being grown in nasty conditions that produce e-coli? That is my number one reason for growing my own lettuce.

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Table of Contents

Who can grow a salad garden?

Salad bowls are a small and compact way to give gardening a try. It’s a great way to teach the kids about growing their own food too. Little do they know, in the end they will want to eat some of those leafy greens they helped to grow. Isn’t that a nice reward for a gardening project.

Because it takes such small space, city people can grow their own salad garden too. That means me! We loved our first salad bowl garden! It was so cool to just walk out to the back porch, cut enough leafy greens for the two of us and walk back into the kitchen to make fresh salads for dinner.

lettuce growing in a pot

Containers & Supplies For Your First Salad Bowl Garden

You need precious little to grow your own leaf lettuce. The financial investment is so small, you will save big bucks by growing your own fresh lettuce.

  • A Container
  • Soil
  • Seed packet of your choice
  • Seedlings, young plants from your local garden center
  • Water

Preparing Your Container

You probably already have a container in mind you can find around the house like an old flower pot you couldn’t part with. The size depends on how much lettuce you want to grow. Drainage holes are essential so if your container doesn’t have them, drill some into it.

lettuce sprouts in a plastic container
Lettuce sprouts in a plastic container

Ideally your container would be about 4 to 6 inches deep but you can certainly sow your seeds into a small container as shown above and then transplant them into their permanent container.

I love the see-through plastic container for allowing the kids to watch the seeds sprout and see what is happening in the soil.

Add Dirt

You have your container and you have made drainage holes. Now add good dirt free of debris, rocks or sticks. How much dirt you need depends on how deep your container is. If your container is deep, fill the bottom one third with a filler, like this so you don’t need as much dirt. Here is how I used that filler trick for a large container.

romaine lettuce growing in a small pot

Planting Your Lettuce

How you plant will depend on if you bought seedlings or you plan to sow seeds.

Planting Seedlings

If you are going with seedlings, simply transplant them into your container from the one they came in at the garden center. You can plant lettuce fairly close together and it’s okay to mix types of lettuce in the same container.

Sowing Seeds

Sprinkle seeds on top of the dirt and gently cover them with more dirt. They do not need to be planted deep, only cover them with a light layer of soil and then pat them down gently. Read the seed packet for the type of lettuce seeds you bought.

How To Have A Continuous Crop of Lettuce

Succession planting will allow you to have a continuous supply of lettuce. Plant more lettuce about every two weeks to have a continuous crop.

When To Plant Lettuce

We are discussing growing lettuce in small crops in containers which you can sit in a sunny window or on your porch or deck. Although lettuce is a cool weather crop, you can grow lettuce year round in a controlled environment like a sunny indoor windowsill. But for the sake of conversation, let’s say you have garden beds in the ground. In that case plant in early spring or early fall outdoors. Lettuce isn’t a crop for hot temperatures so it will not grow outdoors during the summer months.

a person watering container garden lettuce

Caring For Your Lettuce Crop

Sun and Shade

Remember, morning sun and afternoon shade if your containers are outside.


Water deeply about about once per week and then when the top one inch of soil is dry. This means you get to play in the dirt. I literally stick my finger in the dirt to check if it’s dry. Lettuce is mostly water. Over-watering will cause your lettuce to wilt.

harvesting lettuce

Harvesting Your Lettuce Leaves

Harvest the outer leaves which will allow the center bud to grow new leaves. Feeling brave and got more lettuce bowls planted? Cut the entire plant off near the base and it will regrow.

You can harvest baby greens for a delicious salad and enjoy the fact that it didn’t come from the grocery store. You don’t have to wait on the plant to mature before harvesting.

Once you harvest a plant, it will be ready again in a couple of weeks which is why successive sowings will yield a continuous crop for you.

I think you can agree now that Salad Bowl Gardening is super easy and requires precious little time, money and effort. It is totally worth growing your own lettuce.

More Salad Gardening Tips in this series:

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lettuce growing in containers

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