Grow Your Own Salad Garden
Are you tired of paying high prices for salad greens? Well you should be. Salad greens are one of the easiest vegetables to grow in the garden, and can be grown in containers for those that don’t have a lot of space.
Those salad greens you eat? They were probably shipped over 15OO miles to get to your table, since Arizona and California provide almost all of the United States salad greens. And, how many times have you seen those greens pulled from the shelf due to contamination in the field? Salad greens grown for our local grocery store were grown from seeds that were developed to withstand long travel and to be able to stay on the grocery store shelves, not for taste. Nothing taste as good as homegrown. So, have I convinced you to grow your own salad garden? Good….let’s get started. I’ll show you what vegetables can be grown in the cool season, where to grow them in your garden and when the best time is to grow them.
What is the Cool Season and How Do You Know When It Is In Your Area?
Most of us start January in the cold season. While it is too cold to grow anything in our garden unless we are growing in a greenhouse or cold frame, it is the time to start planning what you want to grow as we will soon be entering the cool season.
The cool season is when the average daytime temperatures range from 35-65 and the chance of frost is still likely. Cool season crops thrive in this weather. If you aren’t sure what your average temperatures are in your area you can google “average monthly temperatures” and insert your city. Write those down. For some of us, this starts around March. If you live in a very northern climate, it may be a month later. If you live in southern warm weather climates this may be in the winter months for you.
Other important dates to know is your first and last frost date. Those can be easily found by an internet search. Write those down. We will use those to help determine when to sow seeds or place transplants in the garden.
What Vegetables Can You Grow in the Cool Season?
Cool Season Vegetables include:
The Brassicas: Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, collard greens and kale.
Lettuce, spinach, radish, peas including snow and sugar snap, carrots, swiss chard kohlrabi,potatoes,turnips, and beets.
Should I Grow by Seed or Transplants?
Plant these directly in the garden:
Some vegetables do not like to have their roots disturbed and do best when planted by seeds directly in the garden.
These plants include:
Leaf lettuce, peas, carrots, radish, arugula, and spinach.
Larger cool season vegetables do best when you purchase transplants, or if you are a more experienced gardener you can start by seed indoors and have them ready to go into the garden.
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts. You can also buy transplants of kale, beets and collard greens, and head lettuce as well as potatoes from the nursery. I plant the small kale variety directly by seed in the garden.
Where should I plant my salad garden?
Cool season vegetables are not fruiting vegetables and do not require as many hours of daylight. Your garden should be south facing and receive at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. Visit your garden site throughout the day to be sure trees, fences or buildings are not blocking the sun preventing the area to receive at least 4 hours. If you do not have a south facing location, west facing that will receive afternoon sun is your second choice. Place your garden near a water source, and a place you will visit frequently.
Many cool season vegetables are easy to grow in containers. Visit your local nursery and look at the tags on plants and seed packets. Look for the “container variety” and the size container you should use. Also note that sugar snap peas, garden peas, and snow peas will need a trellis or garden arch to grow over. There are some varieties that will only grow to 3 feet, so those may be a better if you only have a small trellis or obelisk.
When should I plant my cool season salad garden?
This is where your last frost date comes in. After you determine your last frost date grab a calendar and count back 4-6 weeks.
These vegetables can be transplanted into the garden 4-6 weeks before your last spring frost:
Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and collard greens. If you are starting them from seeds indoors, you need to start 8-12 weeks before your last spring frost.
Potatoes 2-3 weeks before your last spring frost.
Direct seed lettuce, spinach carrots, radishes 4-6 weeks before your last frost.
You will need to watch the weather. If an unseasonal freeze is headed your way, you will need to cover with row cover to protect. Most of these vegetables can withstand a light frost. If colder, cover with row cover.
If you are lucky enough to live in an area that has another cool season in the fall, you can start the process all over, just plant around your last frost date.
Are you ready to finally grow your own fresh vegetables? Have you hesitated because you thought you didn’t have the time, space, or knowledge? Well, I am here to tell you you can. Join me in my garden this gardening season and let’s grow together. When you enroll in the “No Fuss Garden Course” you will not only receive the fundamentals of growing a successful garden, I will be growing right alongside you, and we will be planting and tending our gardens each month through a video delivered right to your inbox. It’s important for you to be successful, and having a coach with you will ensure your success. The enrollment is now open and classes start March 1st. Click on the picture below to enroll.